"I'd come home from school and call him and ask him what I need to do, what all could I do and he'd just tell me to do whatever and I worked until I felt like quitting, which normally was like 2:30 a.m.," said Paternoster.
"I worked basically about every night for 11 hours and then of course sometimes I didn't work at all because of break and sickness and everything. But other than that, I worked all the time."
The late and long hours didn't affect his school work, though.
"Coke made Vault and that's what I lived on," he said.
Paternoster watched Miller build two other rat rods to get ideas for the current one.
"And then he let me basically run this one. If I needed help, I'd go in the house and ask him what I need to do and he'd tell me and I'd go out there and do it," he said.
Through the project, Paternoster found a niche in wiring. He completely wired the rat rod. After school he hopes to continue to do fabrication, custom truck work and auto body work.
The rat rod consists of many parts. It features a 1933 International cab, '48 Buick headlights, a '35 Chevrolet grill, the rear end out of a '73 Chevelle and the motor out of a van.
The project began with the purchase of two old cabs in Buckeye that were literally ready to fall apart.
"Actually, this truck here fell apart when we was loading it on the trailer. Doors fell off of it; we had to strap it back together. Had to stop twice and strap parts on," Miller said.
A highlight of the rat rod is the gear shift. Like many parts on the vehicles they build, the gear shift was a gift from a friend. The unique shifter is a spindle wrench that was used to take the front wheels off a Model A.
The car also features a '39 Hudson Hornet hood ornament, a Pepsi can as the coil, and a horn from a '36 Ford school bus.
Paternoster noted the truck is as clean on the bottom as it is on the top. There is no visible bare metal or rust. Everything has been painted.
The way the duo builds cars requires very little monetary investment, Miller said. With all the gifts from friends and pieces bought from junk yards and flea markets, they spent less than $3,500 to build the rat rod. A friend recently offered $16,000 for it.
"We don't sell them for profit or build them for profit. We build them just for people to look at and say 'Hey, ya'll did a real good job,'" Miller said.
People are noticing their work. Street Rod Magazine is scheduled to feature the car in the coming months.
Miller and Paternoster plan to hold on to the car for a while to see what it can bring. But they're already making plans for their next car.
"We've got plans for another one that will really make this truck look pitiful," Miller said. "We'll see where it ends up at. They're eventually going to die out. They died out in the '60s. It took from the '60s to the 2000s to get them to come back."
Until they do die out, you'll find the father-son team tinkering around on rat rods.