PICO RIVERA (CBSLA.com) — A classic 1969 Chevy Nova, the pride of auto-shop students at Norwalk High School, was stolen Monday from a teacher’s home.

Over 400 Norwalk students spent the past seven years restoring the vehicle, which teacher Ken Cook originally bought as junk for $600, eventually turning it into a hot rod.

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“The young man that built the engine, he’s now a master technician,” Cook said. “That was the first engine that he had ever built.”

Students at Norwalk say they looked at the car as much more than just a vehicle; they saw it as a learning experience.

“Since the age of 7, I was raised at an (auto) shop,” student Jesus Chavez said. “So, it just stuck on to me, and that’s my passion.”

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The students who built the engine, completed the car’s body work and prepped it for paint had recently removed the hood from the vehicle, due to an overheating issue.

Now, the hood is all that they have from the Nova.

Cook said he parked the car, reportedly worth $25,000 to $30,000, directly in front of his house and that it was stolen about 3 a.m.

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“One of my neighbors came down to my house and informed me that he saw a tow truck, black in color, in repo-style, drive off with it,” Cook said.