For the past 15 years, Clover Park Technical College students have had the opportunity to help restore a 1927 Model-T. Being a project for so long, the car has become a mainstay in the restoration program's garage. An oddity in a garage full of newer cars, the antique served as a side project for over 100 students throughout the years, until today.
With help from the Tacoma Model-T Club, the project that has been 15 years in the making should be completed within the week.
The car was donated by Harold Feaster, who graduated from the Clover Park College in 1947, where many of the skills he learned in the vocational program came in handy during his time in the National Guard. In repayment for these valuable skills, Feaster donated the car to the school in the name of Dr. Fred Miner, the person responsible for the creation of the Clover Park Technical College and one of Feaster's instructors while going through the program.
Model-Ts hold a particular soft spot in Feaster's heart, having fond memories from riding in the car with his uncle in Missouri as a child.
“I just wanted to give Clover Park some experience in Model-Ts,” Feaster said.
Purchased for around $350, the car arrived in boxes to the school, where current instructors Wayne Bridges and Greg Richards quickly got to work on it with the intention of one day teaching Feaster how to drive the car.
With delays, hiccups and finances getting in the way, the car has slowly come together over the past 15 years, with more than 100 students putting thousands of hours of work into the car.
The instructors thought they were ready to start it last May, but learned some unfortunate news from a member of the local Model-T club, Marty Pendress, who revealed the car wasn’t quite as ready as they had hoped.
“We could not have gotten it done without Marty's help,” Bridges said “We would have started it and it would have destroyed itself.”
Luckily, Pendress was more than willing to offer assistance, and since then has helped restore the car to near completion. The Model-T Club has also chipped in with donations, paying for all the glass on the vehicle and the exhaust manifold. With the manifold recently replaced, Feaster may be given a chance to drive the Model-T very soon, provided Bridges can teach him how to drive the car.
“This car does not drive like a normal car,” Bridges said. “The first Model-T that I drove I actually crashed it into my garage door.”
With the completion of the project, the staff of Clover Park hopes Feaster will be able to drive the car in several local parades, showing off the hard work and history of the program.
Bridges and Richards are both Clover Park alumni, making the project one that hits close to home for the school including that the car was even purchased from one of Bridges' old instructors.
Once completed, the car will remain with the college as a showcase for the its restoration program.
“A lot of history here, just in Clover Park’s educational program,” Feaster said.