As the key turns in the ignition with a click, the engine instantly rumbles to life, the exhaust emitting a satisfying roar, the sound of a well-tuned dream machine, and all elements of a true classic. Pulling out of the parking lot, the engine grumbles as your hand rests on the stick shift, preparing to unleash the engine’s incredible horsepower. As you glide down the street and zip onto the on-ramp, you feel the exhilarating kick of the acceleration as you cruise onto the highway, scenery zipping by in a blur and an ecstatic grin plastered on your face. It is finally time to drive.
For car enthusiasts, nothing is more satisfying than getting behind the wheel for the first time in a reconstructed classic. However, for most people, the thought of building a Porsche 911 or a Triumph is merely a dream or a project for the very distant future. Fortunately for Jesuit students, the Jesuit Car Club makes those dreams come true.
Founded by Jesuit president Mr. Mike Earsing, principal Mr. Tom Garrison, and a motivated group of Jesuit students, the club has built and restored a plethora of fantastic cars over the years. “We started when a grandmother of one of our students donated an old [Bentley or Rolls Royce, I can’t remember], which was owned by another Jesuit graduate from the 40’s,” said Mr. Earsing. “We worked on it, got the motor to turn over, and sold it, starting the cede money to begin working on more cars.”
At the time of its founding, “there had always been a push for something like [the car
club],” said Mr. Earsing. As a chemistry teacher with a deep interest in the engineering and science of cars, the club provided for Mr. Earsing the perfect atmosphere to “teach from the point of view of context that [the student] understands.” The club presented a unique opportunity to take knowledge learned from within school and apply it into real world situations. “Guys got really excited about [the club], because it was teaching them what kind of tools to use for different applied applications,” he added. “It is really interesting to teach [students] what kind of tools to use for a particular job to make it work and make it easy.”
Following that framework of both cultivating real-world knowledge and having fun while doing it, the Car Club has prospered and built multiple cars every single year.
Most of the cars and kits used by the club are graciously donated by former students or other benefactors. Once the club finishes with a build, they sell the car and use the profits to donate to clubs within Jesuit and to use for future projects.
For any car fanatic, joining the Car Club will begin a very rewarding journey. In years past, the club has worked on several incredible cars, and this year is no exception. In October, the Car Club started the build of a Factory Five Type 65 Coupe, a replica of the famous Shelby Daytona from the ‘60’s. A generous benefactor donated the kit, which happens to be the highest quality kit available for a Shelby Cobra.
The 65 Coupe may seem like a difficult build, but the Jesuit Car Club has the experience to back up their ambitions. “During my time at Jesuit, we have sold a couple of Triumphs, a BMW, a Porsche 911, and a Mercedes,” said Matthew Duke ’13, the student president of the Car Club.
Despite their experience, this year’s car still provides a unique challenge to the group. “None of us have done a project like this so there is a learning curve,” said Duke, “However; all of the parts are the best parts out there so it is a matter of seeing how it goes on and then installing them.”
In spite of the challenge, the club has made solid headway on the project since October. “We have finished the front suspension, installed the brake lines for the front breaks, placed most of the rear suspension, and installed the steering rack and brake master cylinders,” said Duke.
, Duke and the other club members are working on the most difficult part of the build, “placing the sheet metal and getting it to fit perfectly,” a very challenging feat. Once that step is completed, the club will be well on their way to completing a fantastic replica. “When we are finished, the car will be fully functional and a blast to drive,” added Duke. All of their hard work will pay off to the fullest.
Fellow car enthusiast, Matt Case ’14 commented, “Nothing is more satisfying and rewarding that being able to drive a car that you put hard work and dedication into reconstructing. It’s awesome to start the engine for the first time and see your vision become a reality.”
For any car aficionado, the Car Club is the place to be. “We are always looking for new members to help us out. It is a lot of fun and doesn’t require any knowledge of cars or how to turn a wrench,” commented Duke. “We can teach all of the specific skills thanks to Mr. Tom Kennedy, an alumnus who took on the task of helping out the club since Mr. Earsing and Mr. Garrison are very busy.”
The club is a perfect opportunity for anyone “who has an interest in how things work and a native curiosity about cars,” added Mr. Earsing. “It’s a cool idea, when you think about it, that little controlled explosions move your car along. For me, it is interesting because you can look at a car and say I can do ‘this’ with a car or do ‘that’ with a car, make it faster or stop better, which is always the fun of it.”
The Car Club provides an excellent opportunity for any students interested in cars or mechanical engineering. Anyone interested is strongly encouraged to join. After all, how many people can say that they built a replica of a Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe in high school?