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Friday, December 14, 2018

Dream Machine is a Hit at Dream Cruise

  • WCC students work on their "Dream Machine," which will be raffled off for charity on Oct. 4. Photos of WCC at the 2009 Woodward Dream Cruise are available on WCC's Flickr stream.
  • WCC's "Dream Machine" at the 2009 Woodward Dream Cruise. More photos of WCC at the event are available on WCC's Flickr stream.

WCC’s Dream Machine, a “clone” of the 1967 Mustang GT nicknamed Eleanor from the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds,” was one of the most popular cars at the recent Woodward Dream Cruise. Students in the Custom Cars & Concepts (CCC) program are building the car for Detroit radio station WCSX as part of the Dream Machine charity raffle.

The tribute to a Hollywood icon made its first appearance looking like a real car, with paint, wheels, glass, and engine. A steady stream of people bought raffle tickets and marveled that students were building this incredible car.

The Woodward Dream Cruise is the largest event of its kind in the country. It featured over a million spectators and thousands of hot rods, classic cars, and suped up clunkers, along with a few whacked out hearses, Hummers, and buses. If you can imagine it, it was there.

Dream Cruisers crowded around the Dream Machine to ask WCC students and instructors lots of questions about how they’re building it. “This is a totally controlled, predesigned, pre-engineered vehicle,” said Gary Sobbry, chair of WCC’s Automotive Body Repair department. “The car will be checked and rechecked for safety.”

The Mustang has a 450 horsepower Ford Racing engine under its hood, which is impressive enough. But the addition of thrust from the nitrous oxide tanks will give the car another 200 horsepower. The speedometer will top out at 150 miles per hour, but the car won’t.    

“What these CCC students get out of these high-end builds is the experience of doing a project for a real customer, working within a budget, with a real-world deadline,” Sobbry said. “And they get to work on a kind of car that 99 percent of the world couldn’t afford. What makes this particular project special is it’s our first kit car, which makes it like a high-end puzzle.”

The students have spent countless hours polishing, painting, buffing, and priming, and the fun is just beginning. They have yet to do any wiring, interior work, or engine and transmission work.

“There is a tight group of about 10 students who gave up their summer to work on the car and help raise money for local charities,” Sobbry said. “These are extremely talented students who are getting the kind of experience no other program in the country could provide.”

Bobby Feldkamp has been a CCC student for over a year, and has worked on a couple of high-end car builds. As he sat in the WCC trailer at the Dream Cruise watching a string of DeLoreans parade by, their doors raised open like bird wings, he thought about what his experience building the Mustang means to him.

“I am honored to be building an American icon that will help out two great charities,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about working with a budget and about the importance of teamwork when you have a short deadline. We depend on each other to pull our own weight. I’ve also made some good business contacts in the industry, which will help me find a job when I finish the program.”

With only $40,000 from the two charities, The Salvation Army’s Staples Family Center and the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, the students and faculty have been busy looking for donations. They’ve received gifts from many local and national companies, such as Varsity Ford, Mustangs to Fear, BASF Paint, and Goodyear Tires.  

Over 4,000 raffle tickets have been sold, and the drawing for the Dream Machine will be held Oct. 4 at the WCC Car and Motorcycle Show. For information about the show, call 734-973-3443 or email . Raffle tickets can be purchased at the WCC Cashier’s Office, which is located on the second floor of the Student Center building.

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