Nashoba Tech Advanced Manufacturing instructor Brian Fillion, far left, students, instructors and members of the Minuteman Model A Ford Club gather around a 1929 Model A Ford engine that seniors in the program are restoring, with help from club members.
Members of the Minuteman Model A Ford Club present students in Nashoba Tech’s Advanced Manufacturing program with parts they donated to the senior project of restoring a 1929 Model A Ford engine. From left are Michael Dawson (senior, Townsend), club members Doug Linden and Len Michalek, Ryan King (senior, Shirley) and club member Dick Stitt.
WESTFORD — Brian Fillion hopes the seniors in his Advanced Manufacturing program learn enough from the 1929 Model A Ford engine he recently picked up to help them graduate and secure jobs in the ever-expanding manufacturing sector.
Doug Linden and other members of the Minuteman Model A Club hope those same seniors take up a hobby that is rapidly being overrun by seniors of another stripe. “One of the things we’ve noticed is that the hobby is graying,” Linden said of classic-car collecting. “The challenge is to get younger kids involved.
Fillion’s idea to get his Nashoba Tech seniors working on the same page has sparked an unlikely partnership with Linden — who is not only a member of the Sudbury-based Minuteman Model A Ford Club but is also national director of the Model A Ford Club of America — and his fellow club members, Len Michalek and Dick Stitt.
To graduate, seniors at Nashoba Tech must submit a heavily researched senior project in the area in which they specialize. But when Fillion found the 1929 Model A engine under a barn (“It had probably been sitting there for 60 or 70 years,” he said), he had an idea: What if all the seniors in Advanced Manufacturing worked as a team on the same project — getting the engine to run again using the state-of-the-art equipment a state grant bought last year for Nashoba Tech's Advanced Manufacturing program.
Superintendent Denise Pigeon signed off on the project, and now the engine is nearing completion. “When we present it, we’re gonna start it,” Fillion said. “Well, we hope.” When Fillion needed some advice on the engine, he called in the experts, and that’s how Linden and Co. got involved. Since then, the Minuteman club has donated several parts, including a starter, a generator, sparks plugs and a carburetor.
The club members figure if even one kid comes out of the project with an interest in classic cars, it's worth club members’ time. “The big thing is getting them when they’re young and hopefully spark an interest,” Linden said. “The Model A Ford is one of the easiest cars to work on. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to get into the hobby.
“We’re very impressed with Brian’s activities here,” Linden added, looking around the Advanced Manufacturing area. “Its a great way to get kids involved, and it falls right in line with his program.”