Restoring Life By Rebuilding Cars


Hanna Al-Aloosi, Staff Writer

Ever watch those shows where people exchange their houses to have others “flip” them?

Well, a student at Elkhart High School is doing almost the exact same thing…but with cars! 

Sean Wood, a senior at EHS, dedicates his time to finding cars and “flipping” them. Wood notes, “It is something I enjoy doing; I have been doing this since I was 15, and ever since then, it’s been fun.” Wood’s mission is to take old cars and find replacement parts to create fully functional and wonderful-looking vehicles…phenomenal thinking!

His most recent project, however, is even more phenomenal. It is a 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX. “This car holds a lot of significance to me, and it’s not something I am planning on getting rid of, then forgetting about,” he states emphatically. “I usually get cars, use the parts, and make cars functional to earn a profit at the end of it all. This car isn’t like that,” he continues. “I am handling the car with care and putting a lot of effort into it.” 

So, what makes this car so much more significant than any other project he has ever work on?  It is the history of and reverence for the previous owner. The car had a tragic experience involving its previous owner that left the car in ruins. The car’s last drive was a memorable one–one that had two passengers inside, but only one who survived. On Dec. 6, 2020, this fatal car accident took the life Olivia Toorman: demolishing her car, devastating her family, and extinguing her dreams. She was just 18. Born and raised in Boyne City, Michigan, Toorman had so much life in front of her–expecting to graduate from high school in a few short months and begin a new chapter in her life.

In memory of Olivia Toorman, Wood has created a design of a cherry blossom tree with song notes flying in the wind. He intends to have this painted on the underside of the hood, so that when it is opened for display, this tribute to Toorman will be revealed. “I didn’t know her personally,” Wood emphasizes, “but I wanted to do something at least for her. So, I combined her love of music with the Japanese origin of the car, creating a beautiful scene of a flowering cherry blossom tree with music notes floating with the pedals in the wind.”

His compassionate efforts are much appreciated by Toorman’s grieving parents. Taking his time to put each piece of this mangled mess back together, Wood hopes it will also help mend the broken hearts Olivia Toorman has left behind. Clearly, Sean Wood doesn’t just flip cars; he restores life.