Students at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center are working on a very special project. Juniors and seniors in the auto shop classes will be working on a piece of local history.
Jim Amey, owner of The Idora Park Experience museum in Canfield, has been trying to get his hands on a 1960s Ford Touring car for a long time.
“Tried like crazy for probably ten years and he just wouldn’t part with it,” Amey said. “Recently, he called me up and he says, ‘OK, it’s time to let go of it.’ And now it’s ours.”
The Hooterville Highway car once carried kids around a track at Idora Park.
Amey has built a massive collection of memorabilia and park features at his Canfield home. This little car will join that collection but it looks every bit of its 50-year age.
“It needs a lot of work,” Amey said.
So he brought the little car to the auto shop at MCCTC. The students will restore it while learning along the way.
“We take it in and tear it apart, and they’re learning how to do all the nuts, and bolts, and screws and how to put it all back together. It’s a real-life project,” said MCCTC instructor Joe Sander.
The project cars take a while for students to complete but after all, it’s a learning experience that prepares them for real-life problems they’ll face in their careers.
“When they have a screw or a bolt out that strips the head out, they get to learn how to take that off,” Sander said. “I promise you, we’re going to run into some problems where that happens.”
This is the third project Amey has brought to the students. In the past, students at MCCTC fixed up the Idora Park Turtle and a car from Kiddieland.
“Eventually, these cars will be put into the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, and I want my kids to go there when they’re older with their children and grandchildren and say, ‘You know what, I remember working on these products when we were in class at the Mahoning County Career Center.’ So I look forward to that happening one day,” Sander said.
Senior Josh Gionest worked on last year’s project — a rail car.
“Had to sand, paint, bodywork. I had to do a little bit of everything we do in our class just for the one project so that’s how it helps me, as a student, and in the other way, it’s just history so it was cool,” Gionest said.
Amey said he can’t wait to see what the kids do with his new little car.
“They’re going to get cracking on this fairly soon. I can’t wait. Hopefully, it’s going to be ready for our next opening, which will be in the summer this year.”
If you want to see the Hooterville car for yourself, the Idora Park Experience is looking to reopen the museum to the public for one weekend sometime between late June and mid-July.
The Idora Park Experience is located at 4450 S. Turner Road in Canfield. For more information on the museum and its hours, visit its website.