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A recent Akron Beacon Journal article showed us how automotive restoration projects can be a bridge to a more productive life for troubled youngsters.
In some ways, the 1948 Packard Victoria Convertible is a metaphor for the kids who will be restoring it: a treasure hiding beneath the visible dings and dents of a hard life.
But as with all the various “therapies” used with at-risk teens at the Packard Institute near Akron, turning the hunter green auto that’s currently missing its ragtop into a shimmering silver head-turner will teach them about the power of second chances.
Packard Institute, a Highland Square-based nonprofit that works mostly with young people struggling with substance abuse, took possession of the car with the intention of making it the “flagship” of the organization. The institute’s founder, Raynard Packard, is a distant cousin to James and William Packard, who founded Packard Automobiles in Warren, Ohio in 1899, “so it’s only fitting,” he said.
“About three years ago, we started getting these antique automobiles,” Packard said. “It’s a lot of fun, and the kids learn a skill set, but it’s really about building relationships. The car is a fun by-product of the relationships.”
Among the volunteers who have worked with the youngsters is Greg Delagrange, a Barberton, Ohio car restorer and Packard auto expert. “Greg has given $50,000 worth of hours with these kids,” Packard said.
“Some of these kids come from homes, let’s just say they aren’t the Cleavers,” Delagrange said, referencing the "Leave It to Beaver" sitcom from the ’50s and ’60s. “Sometimes I think they’re like this car: They get dumped and abandoned.” Others have attentive parents, but end up turning to drugs for a variety of reasons.
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But as a car enthusiast, you already knew that.
The Antique Automobile Club of America's Eastern Division has their Fall Meet each October, and the town of Hershey has hosted the event each year since 1955. It's considered one of the largest antique automobile shows and flea markets in the United States, with about 1,500 cars on display.
But there's more than just beautiful antique cars on display. There are quite a few uniquely unusual automobiles on display, and the associated flea market has antique and not-so-antique items for sale that would be appropriate decor for your garage or shop.
Where else could you get a 1926 Rickenbacker hood ornament, a 1927 Clear Vision gas pump, or an Omaha taxi meter?
In case you didn't make it to Hershey for this year's show, Jil McIntosh, writer for the Sympatico.ca Autos blog, was there, camera in hand. I think you'll enjoy the nostalgic trip through the flea market and show. The slide show starts when you click here.Click Here To Read Full Post...