When Salem Middle School teachers were asked to think of activities they could do with students during the activity period at the end of the school day, Don Burton had the perfect idea: a model car club.
He said the idea came about when a student had brought in a car they had created and showed it to him. “I tried it out myself and started to enjoy it and thought, maybe there are some kids that might enjoy this!”
Burton said he normally has anywhere from 5-10 students in the club. The group uses plastic model car kits and they make the cars by putting them together, painting them and assembling the parts into classic model cars.
“All of the kids are doing amazing work and continue to find ways to customize their builds,” he said. “There are some great model car builds in the display case by the cafe. There are cars, trucks and even a couple tanks.”
Burton said he was able to get some sponsors who helped offset the cost to purchase the car kits. The kits come in a box from a hobby store or Walmart. They paint the individual parts and then put the parts together piece by piece and create a 1/24th scale model of the car for year they made it. It resembles a real car and even has a motor in it that will look like the real one.
“They are used to show as a display, they are not actual race cars or anything that would run down a track somewhere,” he said. “They are used like a trophy, more for display.”
Burton said one of the biggest challenges the group faces is the amount of time they have to work on the cars. “We get the parts out and get going and before you know it, it’s 3:10,” he said. “It goes by really fast!”
He said the group utilizes the time the best they can and the students have learned how to manage their time. He said normally it takes about three to four weeks during the AAA time depending on the difficulty and customization of the car to complete a project. The kit comes with detailed directions and options for a stock version or some additional customizations.
“Some of the kids have no model car building experience,” said Burton, adding that Carter Achelpohl, Carson Shields and Devin Gray are the 7th graders in the club who are doing some amazing work.
Eighth grader Hunter Hasick said he had done some car model work with a friend outside of school and really enjoyed it. He said he joined the group to learn more about car model building and to do something fun.
Burton said they can always use sponsors to help purchase the car kits. He said model car kits range from $18 - $30 at Wal-Mart, depending on the level of model car difficulty.
“You will help a student learn about cars and trucks from start to finish including buying, financing through a bank, insuring with agents, repairs, and maintenance,” he said. “Your name and/or company name and logo will be placed on the completed car display sheet and put in the local paper as well during the competition to see who wins the build contest voted on by the kids.”
Burton said tax deductible receipts are available. Sponsorship levels are: Match Box Car: $5; Tonka Truck: $10; Red Flyer Pedal Car : $15; Go-Kart: $20; Sprint Car: $25; Nascar Car: $30; Indy Car $40; Top Fuel Dragster $50 or more. Donations may be sent to Salem Middle School c/o Model Car Building Club, 1001 N. Harrison St. Salem, IN 47167. For more information, email Burton at: firstname.lastname@example.org .