Camosun automotive program showcases classic cars
Since 2010, Jones has taught in Camosun’s Automotive Service Technician Apprentice and Foundation Program and currently serves as Program Leader. Previously, he worked as a shop foreman for local car dealerships and as a technician with nearly a quarter century of in-depth career experience around town. In 2014, he completed his Master’s of Education in post-secondary curriculum and instruction from Simon Fraser University. With deep roots in Victoria’s automotive community, he is ideally positioned to combine theory and practice by bringing real-world learning to his students.
While teaching the automotive foundation program this summer, he started thinking about how he could educate his students about the evolution of vehicles throughout the decades. “I had this idea about getting a bunch of my car buddies around here together with their vintage cars, so I talked to some people who were really interested and then I talked to more people and then more people around town at car shows. A lot of people wanted to participate.”
The result? On August 22, Jones hosted the first ever vintage car show in the automotive shop space in the Interurban trades centre. “We had 28 great vehicles there,” he says. “There was everything from a 1931 Cadillac V12 Roadster to some really cool European sports cars like the 356C Coupe Porsche and Lamborghini Miura, and some really great American muscle cars like the ’69 Camaro ZL1 and Ranchero with a 428 Cobra jet it in, as well as some of the latest and greatest supercars such as the McLaren 570S.”
Students and staff check out the classic cars.
One of the highlights was a beautifully restored 1922 Wills Sainte-Claire, an ultra rare vehicle with a unique local pedigree and special connection to the college’s Camosun Innovates team. “That car has been in Victoria since 1933 when the dad of the current owner bought it, “says Jones. “The restoration was completed last year. I helped with the restoration and so did the college through the innovation group—they did 3D printing to make some dyes to press aluminum mouldings needed for the floor boards of that car.”
Now beautifully restored with a keen attention to detail, the car still has the original fuel ration decals on the front windshield from the Second World War and last year beat out stiff competition to win first prize in class and best in show at a prestigious car show in Vancouver.
Jones figures that nearly a century of automotive history was on display at the Camosun show, representing a rich and varied history of manufacturing, design and technology from around the world. He believes that giving students the opportunity to view the classic cars, understand the evolution of automotive technology and interact with owners will enhance their educational experience.
“My high school metal working teacher who I’m still friends with brought his Ranchero,” says Jones. “The students had the chance to talk to the owners and learn the stories behind their vehicles and in many cases how they restored them.”
The show featured vehicles old and new, sometimes decades apart in design and technology. “When the students get the historical context of how we got to where we’re at helps them to build a more complete understanding of why we’re here,” he says citing examples of some noisy, growling and belching vehicles like American muscle cars from an era before technology and regulations reduced emissions. “And now at the show we’ve got cars like the 2017 Acura NSX that rolled in here absolutely silent with no odour at all. It’s just on battery power and when you push the throttle on that the engine comes alive. It opens students’ eyes to the evolution of the industry.”
Jones believes that Victoria is the perfect place for both automotive students and car collectors. “There are thousands of automotive enthusiasts in this town representing probably well over 10,000 collector cars and you often see them out on the road,” he says. “We’re really fortunate because of the climate we’ve got here that allows for almost year round enjoyment of our cars, and we don’t have a lot of salt on the roads that keeps them from rusting.”
Jones wants his students to understand that the car industry is truly global and that there are many opportunities around the world for them to develop their careers.
“When they leave this program, the skills that we are teaching them here are totally transferable and they could be working on regular sedans that everyone is driving, or they could find their way into a restoration shop, or a service facility that specialises in older vehicles – there’s a big demand for that and not only in Victoria.”
Camosun’s automotive program moved into modern and spacious new quarters in the college’s Centre for Trades Education and Innovation in February 2016. Jones believes that the innovative new facility sends a strong signal about the importance of trades training. “It’s a lot brighter and cleaner and we’ve got a lot more space to be able to do things,” he says. “Our classrooms are wonderful and the technology we’ve got in our classrooms is really excellent. It’s really brought the trades out of the basement and up a notch.”
The response from students has been very positive. “Everyone wants to be in automotive now,” he says. “I think that students come in here and they are blown away by the facility and say to themselves—this is an automotive shop? This is where I get to go to school? It’s an incredible space to work and to learn.”
Communications & Marketing Strategist, Camosun College
Last updated: September 20, 2017 9:44 am