2021 LCHS Auto Fest

Mike Van Note, right, of Boling, talks to a visitor about the 1966 Ford Galaxie he and his wife had restored to showroom perfection. The resto-mod (restored but modified) vehicle was among two dozen vehicles entered in the Lamar Consolidated High School’s annual Auto Fest this Saturday. Admission is free to see the beauties up close. Entry fees for automobile owners go to the school’s auto mechanics department. Mike said he purchased the vehicle in 2011 and began restoring it and modifying it in 2015 to include modern dashboard components, keyless entry, new leather interior and restored FE 390 engine. He and wife Terri did a lot of the work themselves. Unlike many car enthusiasts, the Van Notes don’t park this beauty in the garage between shows. “We finished the restoration project about a year ago and have been driving it ever since,” he said. “This is not a trailer queen. We want to enjoy her every day. I didn’t spend all this money to have this car sit in a garage. No way.” The restoration project included “shaving” the car, which means its door handles and any extraneous components are removed. For instance, there are no visible bolts holding the bumper to the frame as was with the original vehicle. Because its door handles were removed and filled in and painted, a key fob is required to open the door. A simple click and the door opens about an inch or two, just enough to get fingers in there to pull the door open.

By the way, Mike is Director of Operations at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land. Still, he and his wife tackled this restoration project on their own — much of it through trial and error. He said it took him several attempts to get the dashboard the way he liked it. “I’m a hands-on guy,” he explained. “I’m pretty good with my hands. I always remember what my grandfather told me: ‘It’s already broke, try fixing it.’ “ He said the “one-off” restoration project was designed to make the vintage automobile look like a ‘66 but with a modern interior and conveniences.”

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