Amazing Teen Girl Builds Big Engineering Dreams While Rebuilding a Pontiac Fiero from Scratch

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of, a resource for easily locating cheap auto insurance. Incentive was provided to me, and opinions are my own.

Kathryn DiMaria

A teenager’s 16th birthday is special; sweet even. A big reason why this particular birthday is so important to a young person is because it is at 16 years old when most teens will (legally) sit behind the wheel of a car. Some will even have a vehicle to call their own. Kathryn DiMaria will be one of those teens, but not because her parents decided to purchase her a car for her 16th birthday. They have no such plans. Instead, she not only purchased a car using her own money, but has been rebuilding it from the ground up since she was 12.

Now 14 years old, Kathryn DiMaria has been hard at work completely rebuilding the 1986 Pontiac Fiero she bought two years ago for $450 that she saved up from babysitting after propositioning her parents with the idea, along with a list of arguments as to why they should agree to let her embark on this journey. Her arguments included the choice of the Pontiac Fiero, a car that she first saw at a show and instantly knew was the car for her, and it doesn’t hurt that it gets good gas mileage or that it only has two seats so she couldn’t get in much trouble or have too much of a distraction with just one friend along for the ride with her.

In a time when most parents find themselves scouring car insurance quotes in the months leading up to their child’s 16th birthday hoping to find cheap car insurance that will accept their newly-licensed teen, Kathryn’s parents have had a bit more time to plan–4 years in total, as Kathryn has learned advanced mechanical skills like welding, grinding, sandblasting, and upholstering. She has also learned how to rebuild engines and tend to everything else involved in taking a car clearly on its last legs and transforming it into a cool historic sports car.

In two years, Kathryn estimates that she has put about $2,000 into the car of her dreams — money that she has earned herself by babysitting and selling her welding art on Etsy — and she has some really great pieces she created over there, like a spider made from a spark plug. Seriously awesome!

Working on the epic project of rebuilding a Pontiac Fiero from scratch has only intensified Kathryn DiMaria’s passion for engineering. She was invited to the Detroit Auto Show by General Motors where she was able to meet two female engineers who helped design the original Fiero. She also has plans to attend Women in Engineering, a week-long summer cap, and investigation of engineering careers at Michigan Technological University.

While women continue to make huge strides in the engineering world, the number of women who hold prominent positions in the field are still few and far between. This is most often because of the hostile and misogynist work environment that many female engineers are faced with that cause them to walk away from the career structure they had worked so hard to get into. I, for one, truly hope that Kathryn DiMaria continues to learn, grow, and shatter gender stereotypes as she continues into whichever branch of the engineering field that calls out to her. She already has a great deal of support all around the world as news of her Pontiac Fiero rebuilding project continues to spread, and she undoubtedly has already inspired countless people to shake off the self-doubt that so often comes with the idea of following your dreams and just go for it.

2 thoughts on “Amazing Teen Girl Builds Big Engineering Dreams While Rebuilding a Pontiac Fiero from Scratch”

  1. Wow, this girl is amazing! I wish I’d had that kind of ambition when I was her age. I’ll be sharing this story with my teen daughter, it’s so inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

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