Friday, May 24, 2013

KCKCC-TEC Auto Collison students refurbish clown car


The skills of students in the Auto Collision Repair program at the Technical Education Center of Kansas City Kansas Community College are about to be seen throughout the greater Kansas City area and more.

“If there’s a parade, this car will probably be in it,” says Richard Gravelle, an Auto Collision Repair at the new TEC at 65th and State Avenue.

The car is the Abdullah Shrine Clown Car. Owned by the Overland Park Shriners, it has been given a complete refurbishing and refinishing by Gravelle’s students.

“The car had been painted several times and the paint was cracking and had a lot of surface rust and just looked bad,” said Gravelle. “Our students stripped the dead paint and repaired the rust areas along with some body repair.”

Once the body work was completed, the car was painted white and a former student in the Collision Repair program, Jason Ewing, was contracted to replace all the graphics.

An instructor in the KCKCC Continuing Education Night Air Brush Class, Ewing spent about 40 hours in re-doing the many graphics. 

Once the graphics were completed, the car got a coat of clear to maintain its glistening look.
Gravelle said the project was a win-win project.

“The Shriners do a lot of good things for people and it provided out students experience in body and rust repair and paint refinishing.”

Materials needed to get the car ready for painting were donated by the KCKCC-TEC; Keystone Automotive and PPG Industries donated the paint.

A 1957 four-door Chevrolet Bel-Air with a hard top, Gravelle said the car has only 34,000 miles on the odometer. Ironically, the car had been sold new to someone in Hays by the father-in-law of Mike Wichtendahl, the instructor in the TEC’s High School Auto Technology program.

“Not too long after it had been purchased, the car was in an accident and rolled over, at which point someone decided to cut the top off and create a convertible,” said Gravelle. 

Acquired by Shriners in Salina, the car was made into a clown care and in 1964, was purchased by the Overland Park Shriners for $250.

“D.L. MacRae, whose grandson was a former TEC student, contacted me about the job and I said I thought we could do it.”   


PHOTO: Thanks to body and rust repair and repainting of the car and graphics by students of Richard Gravelle in the Auto Collision Repair program at the KCKCC Technical Education Center, a clown car owned by the Abdullah Shrine Club of Overland Park will be showcased  in parades throughout the metro area. (KCKCC Photos by Alan Hoskins)