Penn College students restore 1970 Chevy; win big at auto show

A 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport restored by Pennsylvania College of Technology students for the Antique Automotive Club of America won a First Senior Award – the first for the college – during the club-sponsored Charlotte AutoFair in North Carolina.

“The award is a great recognition of the efforts of our students and faculty,” said Brett A. Reasner, dean of transportation and natural resources technologies. “Their dedication, work ethic and craftsmanship have resulted in a unique learning experience. We are very proud of their success on such a large stage.”

It was the latest accomplishment by students in the automotive restoration technology major, members of the Penn College Classic Cruisers Club, who won a First Junior Award with the car at an Eastern Regional Fall Meet at Hershey in October. And the glow of achievement wasn’t lost on those who lavished such painstaking attention on the muscle-car makeover.

“Going to Charlotte was one of the best experiences I’ve had at Penn College,” said club treasurer Vanessa Mathurin, of Philadelphia. “Being part of a team that was able to win a First Junior and First Senior in my time at school is amazing. It was great to meet and connect with people that were genuinely impressed and grateful that their hobby will not fade away with younger generations.”

“The event at Charlotte was remarkable,” collision repair instructor Roy H. Klinger said. “The students not only had first-hand experience of being on a well-known NASCAR racetrack, they were able to make great contacts with potential employers.”

From a camp-style breakfast in the morning to a cookout at night, the students also had to coordinate meals during the April 11 meet – in addition to working on the Chevelle.

“The entire event was a great learning experience: from gaining knowledge of how other shows are conducted to visiting a professional coach-building shop to learning how to work as a team on the car and make meals for the entire group,” Klinger added.

The Junior Award was the second won by Penn College students (following the 2011 success of a 1965 Ford Mustang, also owned by the AACA Museum in Hershey); the first-ever Senior Award was even sweeter due to the venue.

“During the show, we were allowed to display the car on the starting line of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, thanks to the hospitality of the AACA Hornets Nest Region, which was second to none,” said Sean M. Hunter, president of the student organization. The Livingston, New Jersey, resident noted that students built and sold Bugatti mailboxes to fund their trip – in addition to working “long nights and early mornings” to prepare the car for the show.

“Charlotte was a great experience for me,” added Joseph M. Kretz, the club’s vice president from Plymouth, New Hampshire. “I was able to meet many passionate car enthusiasts who loved our project and commended us for our hard work. Also, I would like to give a special thanks to the Hornets Nest Region, Roy Klinger and Earl Mowrey.”

(Mowrey, a representative of the AACA’s Susquehannock Region, has been a student benefactor and mentor since before the college’s restoration major was initiated.)

“Charlotte was an amazing experience. We worked hard to prepare the Chevelle for the show, and the results speak for themselves,” said Robert J. Hiller, of Hawley, who was project manager for the restoration work. “All in all, it was a great time, and I would do it again.”

The next and final level after a Senior Award is a Grand National. Penn College is hosting a national AACA meet on campus in June 2016; ideally, the Chevelle could win the highest honor at that event.

For more information about automotive restoration technology or other majors in the college’s School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies, visit www.pct.edu/tnrt or call 570-327-4516.

For more about Penn College, visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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Last Updated April 20, 2015