With marker in hand, Ed Welburn, retired Vice President of Global Design for General Motors, sketched a simple silhouette. Almost 30 teens comprised his audience. Yet, in spite of that, you could hear Welburn’s marker trail across the paper. And when he lifted his marker off the page, his young students immediately began imitating his sketch. Welburn then walked the class offering suggestions and helping the beginners.
In July, he joined Hagerty in Allentown, Pa., as part of the Buick Club of America’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. The workshop provided kids and young adults, ages 12 through 18, with hands-on experiences and exposure to a variety of skills and career opportunities. Automotive design, pin striping and documentary photography were demonstrated, further cultivating the next generation of classic car enthusiasts through the first-ever Hagerty Test Garage – the newest addition to Hagerty’s Youth Program suite.
“Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of joining GM’s design team,” said Welburn. “It was the only job I ever wanted, and after 44 years with the company, I never lost sight of that childhood dream. Car-obsessed kids can have such a profound impact on the future of the automotive industry. Being an automobile designer is important work, but it’s also a lot of fun, which is why programs like the Hagerty Test Garage are so important in helping today’s youth learn more about the industry and realize their dreams.”
In addition to Welburn, Casey Maxon, Historian of the Historic Vehicle Association and Miles Birch, a McPherson College Automotive Restoration program graduate, also helped lead learning stations. Workshop participants were able to take their finished projects home, including a pinstriped notebook, photograph of the 1938 Buick ‘Y’ Job (the first-ever GM prototype) and design sketches.
"My experience was awesome,” said Hagerty Test Garage youth participant, Jacob Smith. “I learned so much about the importance of the historic automobile industry. I enjoy working on motors and fixing things. This program has opened my eyes to the many various career opportunities that exist in the historic automotive industry."
As part of Hagerty's Youth Advocacy Program, Test Garage was developed to help ensure the future of the classic car hobby by providing young people with unique access to classic car-related experiences. In addition to Test Garage, existing youth programs include Hagerty Youth Judging and The Hagerty Driving Experience which teaches young drivers how to operate manual transmission classic cars. To learn more, please visit www.hagerty.com/youthprograms.