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Automotive Enthusiasts Club hosts spring car show

At the Automotive Enthusiasts Club’s spring car show, 38 vehicles filled the Country Kitchen parking lot. AEC members worked on their vehicles throughout the semester in preparation of showcasing their hard work at the event. Members raised $195 total, which will help fund their club.

Sonnee Lozano

At the Automotive Enthusiasts Club’s spring car show, 38 vehicles filled the Country Kitchen parking lot. AEC members worked on their vehicles throughout the semester in preparation of showcasing their hard work at the event. Members raised $195 total, which will help fund their club.

Mathea Durica, Local Features Editor

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The Automotive Enthusiasts Club, an automotive club at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, held its spring car show on May 3 in the Country Kitchen parking lot, welcoming students and surrounding community members.

In 2008, the Automotive Enthusiasts Club was established by five UW-Platteville students who originally aspired to unite students with diverse backgrounds in the automotive field in order to practice common interests: learning more about the automotive field and gaining hands-on experience with personal vehicles.

AEC does not discriminate against students who are willing to join the club; club members are willing to accept students with an extensive knowledge about cars, or even students who know very little about cars.

They are open to men and women, and even students who do not own a car. The only requirement is that future members must have a strong passion to learn more about the automotive field and work on the club car, a 1985 Pontiac Firebird.

AEC hosts car shows, once every semester, at the Platteville Country Kitchen, where the goal is to fill the entire parking lot with participants’ vehicles. The main purpose of these car shows is to bring everyone together, raise money for the club and hold a major event to showcase club members’ hard work throughout the school year, according to President and sophomore mechanical engineering major Joe Porter.

Carl Peterson, Grant Parry and Eric Kulas hold up their hand-made trophies from the Best in Show contest in front of AEC’s 1985 Pontiac Firebird club car.  The trophies were created by AEC members who welded old, broken car parts together at their shop.

Carl Peterson, Grant Parry and Eric Kulas hold up their hand-made trophies from the Best in Show contest in front of AEC’s 1985 Pontiac Firebird club car. The trophies were created by AEC members who welded old, broken car parts together at their shop.

Although SUFAC provides the club with allocated funds, the money is to be used strictly for purchasing specific items, creating certain financial limitations for the club.

“We’re technically funded, but the funds we receive from the school can only go towards safety equipment; they [the funds] can’t go directly towards the car,” Vice President and senior mechanical engineering major Adam Staszak said. “We pretty much do everything on our own, and spare parts are donated. It’s all pretty much what we have in spare parts, what people give us and the few things we can afford to buy.”

For anyone who wanted to participate in the car show and enter the judging contests, AEC charged a $5 entry fee for each vehicle in the contest, which will support partial club funds for the following semester. The event’s judging contests generated $170, while the bake sale provided an additional $25 to the club’s account.

The entry fee allows members to buy important supplies that they will need and cannot purchase with SUFAC funds, according to Staszak.

Attendees were able to walk around the Country Kitchen parking lot, take pictures and meet club members in order to learn more about the club’s involvement at the university. Overall, 38 vehicles filled the parking lot for this semester’s car show, including classics, muscle cars, trucks, motorcycles and dirt bikes.

Along with being able to enjoy the variety of cars at the event, attendees were eligible to become the judges of the car show’s two competitions: Best in Show and Best Exhaust.

“There’s no criteria,” Staszak said. “It’s [contest winners] voted on by the people who attend the car show.”

The first place winner for Best in Show was AEC member and junior mechanical engineering major Grant Parry with his 2008 Mustang GT. The second place trophy was awarded to Platteville native Carl Peterson with his 1971 Ford F-100 truck. Finally, the third place winner was junior agricultural business major Eric Kulas’ 2006 Pontiac GTO; Kulas also won the award for Best Exhaust at the end of the night.

The welding experts of AEC design and create the trophies for each car show in order to hold these contests.

“We [AEC members] weld them together from our broken parts, and each year they get heavier and heavier,” Porter said. “This one’s [first place trophy] roughly 85 pounds.”

AEC members and attendees were impressed with the turnout of their spring car show. Porter stated that most of the attendees were mainly club members and close friends. However, the club still believed that they had an impressive turnout that included university students and members of the Platteville community.

Freshman mechanical engineering major Alex Boehm heard about the event from flyers that AEC members had created and placed throughout the university. Boehm also heard about the car show from a few of his friends.

“For the amount of people who are in the town and enjoy cars, a lot of people showed up,” Boehm said. “It’s going really well, and they’ve got a large variety of people here. It’s very nice to see different cars, too.”

 

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Automotive Enthusiasts Club hosts spring car show