MY RIDE- Joe Thomas: 1993 Honda Civic

Joe Thomas

When Joe Thomas and his brother Michael found a Honda Civic hatchback in a field in Waynesboro two years ago, they knew they had their work cut out for them.

"It was totalled," Thomas says. "The right rear of the car was torn up by a tree, the back tailgate was smashed in by a wooden post," he recalls. Still, Honda Civic frames are well made and in demand, he says, and he and Michael had big plans for the car. They shelled out $400 to haul it home. Since then, Thomas says, they've sunk about $10,000 into it, rebuilding it from scratch and adding high-tech details.

"You can hook a laptop up to it to make it run different," he says, citing "setting fuel curve and adjusting timing" as computer controlled. The little car also features a touch-screen TV and DVD.

Thomas says he's taken the car to race in NOPI races– televised events that pit various autos against each other in track and drag races. Thomas' Civic "rides like a Cadillac," he says. But it hasn't won yet. "There are hundreds of cars there," he explains.

Though the basic frame and engine work is done, Thomas says he still wants to improve the interior by adding little details such as window tinting. There's one thing he won't ever do: sell it.

"When you put your heart and soul and your sweat and tears into it," he says, "it tends to be worth more to you."