2021 LCHS Auto Fest | Community

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Mike Van Note, right, of Sugar Land, talks to a visitor about the 1966 Ford Galaxy he and his wife have restored to perfection in a showroom. The resto-mod vehicle (restored but modified) was one of two dozen vehicles entered in the annual Lamar Consolidated High School auto festival this Saturday. Admission is free to see the beauties up close. Registration fees for automobile owners go to the school’s auto mechanics department. Mike said he bought the vehicle in 2011 and started restoring and modifying it in 2015 to include modern dashboard components, keyless entry, new leather interior and a restored FE 390 engine. He and his wife Terri did much of the work themselves. Unlike many car enthusiasts, the Van Notes don’t park this beauty in the garage between shows. “We completed the restoration project about a year ago and have been driving it ever since,” he said. “She’s not a trailer queen. We want to enjoy it every day. I didn’t spend all that money to have this car parked in a garage. No way.” The restoration project included the “shaving” of the car, which means that its door handles and all foreign components are removed. For example, there are no visible bolts holding the bumper to the frame as was the case with the original vehicle. Because its door handles have been removed, filled in and painted, a key ring is required to open the door. One click and the door opens about an inch or two, just enough to put your fingers in to open the door.

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


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