Today, many wannabe racers and college kids haven’t the faintest idea how to build a build a high-performance machine, or even drive one for that matter. Too bad they weren’t born in the 1970s; they could have learned to prep and drive a race car all while earning college credits. It’s true.
An old issue of Hot Rod magazine, dug up by Super Chevy, recently dug up one of its archives, which, to our amazement, details the efforts of one instructor and his drive to offer a college course specifically designed for gearheads and racers.
It all starts with a man named Sam Contino, who operated Sam’s Auto Electric in Ontario, Canada and taught bi-weekly seminars on service and vehicle maintenance.
When word about Contino’s masterful courses and coaching acumen spread, soon the dean of vocational instruction at a college in California got word and offered Sam a position as an automotive technology instructor. Contino quickly obtained the proper credentials at UCLA and headed down to Chaffey College in the golden state.
The program soon evolved into a full-on prep program devoted to race engineers and the very first car the students assembled was a 1969 Chevrolet dubbed the “Chaffey Trans-Am Camaro.”
However, it wasn’t meant to last. Contino retired from the college in 1986 and, like the muscle car era itself, enthusiasm for the program began to fade. Sad times indeed.
Take a moment and check out the full story over on Super Chevy.