Eighteen-year-old Michelle Perschall discovered her love for automobiles at the age of four when her grandparents bought her a bright yellow racing Corvette Power Wheels.
Perschall’s affection grew even more when she saw the movie Cars, which inspired her to create her own extensive collection of toy vehicles from the film. When Perschall was in eighth grade, her dad came home with a baby blue Challenger, and that sealed the deal.
“[The Challenger] really made me realize the beauty a car can possess in its paint and mechanical makeup,” she said.
Perschall is now in her second year of the collision repair program at Kingwood Park High School in Kingwood, Texas. She said Automotive is her favorite class.
“I really enjoy it because it gives me the freedom to create unique pieces along with the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a repair,” she added.
Perschall said she is the only girl in her collision repair classes.
“Exploring a male-dominated industry can be intimidating, but my instructor, Jeff Wilson, has been extremely supportive by helping me find my talents and exploring possible career opportunities with me,” she explained.
Autobody News reached out to Wilson to learn more about his experience instructing Perschall.
“I have taught Michelle her junior and senior years in the following courses: Automotive Basics, Collision Repair, and Refinishing,” he said. “I have worked closely with her on her major refinishing tasks for high profile projects.”
Wilson said one of Perschall’s top talents is her “eye for detail.”
“Michelle's ability to retain information in the classroom and convert it to a hands-on task in the lab is remarkable,” he said. “Whether it is the breakdown of a spray gun or the actual mixing and application of paints, her tasks are done to perfection.”
Perschall said she loves the car community and frequently participates in it by bringing her very own navy-blue Mustang to meets.
“Experiencing all different types of people and their unique love for each of their cars is really cool,” she said. “I am also enjoying learning to work on my own car and slowly make it into the car of my dreams.”