Over a dozen shimmering classic cars of various makes and eras lined the glossy lot of Thorson Motor Center of Pasadena on Saturday, May 17, to help the PCC Foundation raise funds for The Dreamkeepers Scholarship Program.
Put together by the GMC Buick dealership, the second annual event included food, music, and the volunteer efforts of classic car owners, PCC students, and the PCC Foundation staff with the support of GM’s community outreach program.
Merlin Froyd, sales manager of Thorson Motor Center and an event organizer, chose the PCC Foundation as a fundraising beneficiary for this year’s event through his connections with church friends and fellow members of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.
Several members of the Great Autos of Yesteryear service their cars at Thorson and the event grew out of conversations Froyd had with their owners. Event planning began early in the year, where Great Autos became a sponsor, along with GM’s community outreach. He felt that the dealership was well positioned for such an event and the time was right.
“I think by being on Colorado Boulevard, which was Route 66, it’s good to reconnect for the love of cars,” he said. “I think that there is fear that cars are not as cool or as important as they used to be and it’s good to see people, that are college age, come out to get excited about the classic car culture and just really embrace the Art Deco that went into a lot of these vehicles.”
PCC alumni and first-time car show participant Veronika Sorrow proudly showed her 1965 Ford Thunderbird Landau, which is her second vintage T-Bird, and is a much beloved, attention-getting acquisition which she parks in front of her Pasadena store Meow Meow’s.
Norman T. Booth Jr., 93, a car show participant and owner of a 1937 V8 Ford Deluxe Touring sedan that boasts only 42,000 miles on its odometer, gained the car through a Ford V8 Club a few years ago. It’s one of several “survivor cars”— factory vehicles in their original and unaltered state—that he owns. According to Booth, survivor cars are few and far between, as often they are “street-rodded” or altered for street racing or the look. He prefers them because “all you have to do is maintain it” and because “it doesn’t decrease in value and it doesn’t deteriorate.” Booth’s V8 Ford Deluxe sports its original gun metal grey paint with a mirror-shine polish and a complementing fine orange pin-striping.
A multi-sponsored event, refreshments and food were provided through a Pasadena Chamber connection with Stonefire Grill and GM picked up the food tab for the event. PCC music majors Francesco Canas, Bryan Dedlow, Alex Heflin and Daniel Massey, of the jazz quartet Strings Attached provided a blend of “post WWII be-bop and contemporary jazz” live music appropriate to the mood and era represented at the event.
PCC Foundation Director of Operation Kris McPeak and Bobbi Abram, executive director at the Foundation, represented and volunteered for the event, providing assistance and information as to the use of the proceeds and who and how the scholarship benefits.
“The Dreamkeepers Fund is a division of Scholarship America that is a fund created to help students with immediate emergencies stay in school, “ McPeak said. “So rather than having to drop out of college to pay for their sick child, or their automobile or their really high gas bill, the Dreamkeepers Fund can help them with a grant [up to $500] and allow them to stay in school.”
In total, the day’s event raised $2,806, which will benefit the fund.
Student volunteers Christopher Jones, film, and Holly James, industrial engineering, were on hand for the event as well. Jones, a recipient of the Westerbeck Scholarship, said he used his funds to purchase books and came to volunteer to the event for fun and as an appreciative recipient.
“This is our first year doing this together [with Thorson], and we are looking forward to doing it in a more spectacular way next year,” said Abram. “This year it fell during that time when students are just graduated and the summer term had not started yet. Next year were hoping to get date when school is still in progress, an auto tech students can get involved, and things like that. We’re looking forward to growing it.”
For Thorson, the event comes at a time when publicity for GM is bad due to recent recall because of injuries and deaths related to the manufacturers’ Saturn Ion vehicles.
“We are excited to continue this cooperation [with General Motors Group] to do more things with the community and fight the stigma of dealerships being bad.”