Misty weather did not deter more than 275 gearheads from rolling out their classic cars at the annual Terra Nova Tech Car Show in Pacifica on Saturday. Stretching across the baseball field at Terra Nova High School were several rows of automotive eye candy, with ever-popular Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Chevelles lined up alongside less common rides like a Mercury Cyclone, an Armstrong Siddeley and a Willys Jeep.
San Francisco native Paul Bell circled around his 1967 Chevrolet Impala, wiping the rain off the car’s shiny black exterior with a microfiber towel. His customized license plate read: “AWWZSOM.”
“People coming out to the car shows always say, ‘Oh, man! That car’s awesome!’” said Bell, who participated in the Terra Nova Tech Car Show for the second time this year. “I was filling out the DMV form for the license plate and thinking how people usually say ‘awesome.’ So, I got ‘AWWZSOM.’”
Bell bought his first Chevrolet Impala, a 1968 model, when he was 16 years old. His first feat under the hood of a car dates back even further.
“The guys in the neighborhood were five years older than myself and they had hot rods,” said Bell. “I’d go in there as a kid and they’d sit there and teach me. I built my first motor when I was 14½ (years old) with one of the guys that was there.” For his ’67 Impala, Bell redid the interior and replaced the electrical wiring. He also installed a 402-cubic-inch engine motor with a Turbo 400 transmission.
JJ Montoya, of Pacifica, went to Saturday’s car show seeking inspiration. Crouching down to snap a few photos of the American Racing wheels mounted on a car, Montoya explained that he is fixing up a 1964 Dodge Dart. Until now, he has always been a visitor at the event.
“I have never been in the show,” said Montoya. “Maybe next year.”
Every spring, the Terra Nova Tech Car Show raises money for the Terra Nova Industrial Tech Program, which is a dual enrollment program sponsored by Skyline College in San Bruno. Auto technology teacher Kalon Behravesh, who is also an adjunct professor in the Automotive Technologies Department at Skyline College, said the fundraiser allows the Industrial Tech Program at Terra Nova to purchase much needed supplies.
“When you take cars apart and put them back together more times than they were ever designed for, things will start to wear out,” said Behravesh. “We replace everything that we can, and we try to keep our cars looking nice.”
Behravesh added that he would like to put proceeds from this year’s event toward buying a vehicle lift that is suitable for small cars.
“When this shop was originally set up, the main rack they put in was really for trucks,” said Behravesh, explaining that vehicle lifts are used to raise cars off the ground while being serviced. “It’s really hard to get a small car on the rack we have now.”
On Saturday, students from the Terra Nova Industrial Tech Program had two cars on display: a Jeep Liberty and a Ford Mustang GT. When the latter car originally arrived at the shop, said Behravesh, it was in bad shape.
“A screwdriver was driven through the car battery and so battery acid poured all over the Mustang’s front end,” said Behravesh. “Now we just use the Mustang for a lot of test demos because it’s a very easy car for everyone to kind of get around and see whatever we’re doing.”
Behravesh said enrollment in the two periods he teaches at Terra Nova High School is consistently high. “The class always fills up. It’s very popular,” said Behravesh. And he said he is committed to helping students stay on top of current technologies.
“I’m real big on electrical,” he said. “It’s really hard to
understand today’s cars if you don’t have electrical skills and know how to work with computer controls. You
literally can’t do anything with a car.”
Former students in the Terra Nova Industrial Tech Program, said Behravesh, often go on to have careers in the automotive and construction industries. Other graduates become electricians, join the military or study at four-year universities. Organizer Spencer Yoes, who co-founded the show with his father, Pete Yoes, in 2007, said the Terra Nova Industrial Tech Program helps students develop important skills — both for their future careers and in life.
“It’s important to give people the ability to know that they can work with their hands,” said Yoes, a Terra Nova graduate who took auto shop. To this day, cars continue to be one of Yoes’ passions.
“I have a bunch of old cars and I take care of them all myself,” he said. On Saturday, he had two gems from his personal fleet in tow: a 1969 Ford Bronco and a 1950 Studebaker. What’s in the works for next year?
“I have a ’66 Dodge Dart that I’m working on now,” said Yoes.
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