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McPherson College C.A.R.S. Club Show Attracts More than 250 Vehicles

posted May 09, 2011 in CAMPUS EVENTS

The McPherson College 12th annual C.A.R.S. Club Car Show on May 7, 2011 was a flurry of activity. Rare and classic automobiles, opportunities for youth to become show judges, demonstrations of restoration techniques and watching a Ford Model T being built in less than nine minutes were just a few of the options available to visitors.

The C.A.R.S. Club is open to all McPherson College students interested in collector vehicles and celebrates the automotive restoration program at McPherson – the only college to offer a four-year degree in automotive restoration. The show attracted about 250 cars, motorcycles and tractors – everything from turn-of-the-century right up through modern sports cars – and about 1,000 visitors throughout the day.

Joey Staskowski, sophomore, Waterville, N.Y., started off the day cooking sausages on the manifold of his rattling, steaming 1923 Ford Model T. His favorite part of the show was meeting car people from previous generations.

“I love just meeting all the older people and all the stories they have,” he said.

Staskowski is a member of the college’s Model T Rapid Build team, which builds a Model T from a pile of parts in less than 10 minutes. The team demonstrated twice during the show, nearly beating their record of 8 minutes 32 seconds with a time of 8 minutes 39 seconds. Visitors also had the opportunity to see Ed Barr, assistant professor of technology, give a lively demonstration of metal-shaping techniques used by students in the automotive restoration program.

Among the vehicles on display at the show were a 1904 Thor motorcycle from the Kansas Motorcycle Museum in Marquette and a 1903 Packard Gray Wolf, built from the original Packard blueprints. The original set the 1904 one-mile land speed record at 77 miles per hour. Charles Collier, assistant to the car’s owner, Ted Davis, said they were pleased to be featured in the show.

“We absolutely love this show – what a varied amount of cars and types of cars,” he said. “Anything we can do to help these guys out, we’ll do it.”

Also featured was a Ford Shelby GT 350 racer, owned by Fred and Carol Hilbert of Wichita. They discovered that the car was the first of its model ever sold, but it has still seen time on the vintage racer circuit. Fred Hilbert said he was excited to bring the car to the McPherson College campus.

“I think it’s a great place,” he said. “If I was quite a few years younger, I’d definitely consider attending.”

A few of the judges on the showfield were certainly quite young. More than a dozen youth participated in Hagerty Insurance’s “Operation Ignite”, which allows youth to have the experience of judging classic cars. Michael Hilyard, owner of Asa Customs in Topeka, was the first stop on the judging circuit with a 1956 Corvette that he restored. Hilyard said classic cars were to be enjoyed and he loved helping get the next generation interested in them.

“It’s harder and harder to find young people who are interested in cars,” he said. “And if they want to look at it, I’m more than happy to tell them whatever they want to know.”

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