Conestoga news

November 1, 2001 1:06 PM

Apprentice-Built Race Car Promotes Program, College


Apprentices and faculty in the Automotive Service Technician program at the Guelph campus of Conestoga
College have had a unique opportunity to test their practical skills. And fans on the southern Ontario drag-
racing circuit can see the results in action.

What is it they will see? It’s a 1988 Mustang with a 5.8-litre engine, which has been rebuilt over the past 14 months. The Conestoga vehicle made its first appearances this summer and fall on the circuit.

More than 30 apprentices have pitched in on the project, which corresponds to and incorporates a number of skills that are a part of their apprenticeship studies at Conestoga.

“It’s like a laboratory on wheels,” says faculty member Jim Palmer. He adds that the car’s systems are constantly being improved through diagnostics performed by the students. Palmer and faculty colleague Stu Hood share the driving duties, and the best time recorded so far is 13.68 seconds at 102 mph for a quarter mile.

Palmer originally purchased the vehicle, which was in pieces as scrap. Many of the parts used in the rebuilding have been donated. Recently, with the help of first-year students in Conestoga’s Graphic Design program and a business sponsor, the car has been adorned with the College logo, Web site address and the words “ISO 9001 Registered” to designate the College’s achievement of international quality management standards.

Now idle for the winter, the Conestoga racer will return to the circuit next spring and summer.

“It provides wonderful, ongoing practical experience for the students,” Palmer says. “They work to extremely high standards, because drag racing has very strict safety standards, so much so that there is less risk in racing an approved vehicle than in driving your car to get to the track.”

CONTACT: Jim Palmer, 519-824-9390, ext. 162