The 2017 Mid-Plains Community College raffle car, a 1965 Chevrolet Impala, will be on display in Trenton on Friday. It will be part of the 11th annual Dam Car Show at the Good Life Marina. The show begins at 5 p.m. The Impala is the 13th vehicle restored and modified by students in MPCC’s Classic Car Restoration (CCR), Automotive Technology and Auto Body Technology programs. Every year, the students disassemble, modify and reassemble a classic car. They begin by reducing the vehicle to a shell then sandblasting the body and frame down to bare metal. From there, they embark on the long and challenging process of transforming the vehicle into a work of art. The project requires them to study and merge both traditional and modern engineering and technology. “They learn about everything from chassis, electrical systems, drivetrains, engines and the replacement and refinishing of sheet metal to plastic, fiberglass and upholstery,” said Don Wilson, Auto Body instructor and supervisor of the CCR Program. “When you have to merge analog systems with digital technology, it can get complicated. There isn’t a book or instructions when merging them, and our students must know both before they can make the various systems work properly and look amazing.”
This year’s raffle car is a true SS-meaning a Super Sport model. The drivetrain consists of a stock 8.1 liter late model fuel injected GM engine. It uses the latest in computerized technology and incorporates a modified computer chip. The power plant is coupled to a 700R4 automatic transmission and a stock GM rear end. “One of our goals is to build a car that the general public can drive,” said Bryan Herrick, the Automotive Technology instructor connected to the CCR program. His students were responsible for the drivetrain on the Impala. The Auto Body students were in charge of stripping the body, fixing rust and any sheet metal damage, powder coating the frame and adding a tilt wheel, new American Wheels and GT tires. The car’s finish, “Golden Globe,” has an added gold flake effect and was chosen from the 2014 General Motors Cadillac base coat/clear coat paint system. Other features include a vintage air conditioning system, a tubular front suspension and front wheel power disc brakes. The Impala received a boost from a number of local businesses who either donated cash, parts or discounts toward its restoration. Those include Dave Smith Signs, JM Parts & Equipment, E.J.’s Outdoor Sports, Cohagen Battery and LKQ Corporation-Keystone Automotive.
The car will tour the state over the summer, making appearances at car shows, parades and cruise night events. A total of 10,000 raffle tickets are up for grabs at a price of $10 each. Proceeds will be used for scholarships for students in the Automotive Technology and Auto Body Technology programs and to help offset the cost of producing another raffle car next year. Tickets will be sold everywhere the vehicle is displayed. A schedule is posted on the college’s website, mpcc.edu. Tickets can also be purchased at the welcome centers at any of MPCC’s campuses in North Platte, McCook, Broken Bow, Imperial, Ogallala and Valentine. Additionally, a number of businesses, organizations and individuals will sell tickets. In North Platte, those include: North Platte Buick GMC, Cohagen Battery Store, Grandma’s Memories Antiques and Collectibles, Isabelle’s Auction House, A.J. Janas, Pat Smith, Jody’s Auto Sales, Larry’s Barber Shop, Modern Tire Pros, Twin River Body Shop, Keystone Automotive and E.J.’s Outdoor Sports. Tickets may also be purchased at Rex’s Refrigeration in Ogallala and at the Curtis Collision Center in Curtis. The drawing for the Impala will be at 3 p.m. during the Colonel Cody’s Cruise Show and Shine in downtown North Platte on Sept. 9.