Over the course of its history, Estabrook Hall has played host to a number of programs, from mechanic arts to architecture, from civil engineering to computer laboratories.
One of the constants for most of that time was a chassis of a 1920s Dodge Brothers automobile, long since stripped down for use as a model of engineering.
In much the same way that elements of Estabrook will survive to be incorporated into the new building, the Dodge has also found an extended life.
The Gilmore Car Museum of Hickory Corners, Michigan, found out about the car and has taken it to be restored to its former glory.
“A lot of our engineering alumni, and alumni across UT are familiar with the car,” said Tickle College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis, who took classes at Estabrook as a student in the early 1970s.
“Having it restored, and having them do it through a learning project is a fitting result.”
Gilmore’s plan is to have high school students from their Gilmore Garage Works restore the car as part of their work-study program.
Founded in 2009, Gilmore Garage Works is an after-school program that pairs students with mentors, helping them learn all about automotive technology, repair, and restoration.
The goal is to prepare students for careers in the automotive industry, while at the same time educating them about automotive history through the classic vehicles that they restore.
The museum and program both highlight what is often considered the golden age of automobiles, from the 1930s through the 1960s.
The exact year of the chassis from Estabrook isn’t known, but Davis pointed out that Dodge Brothers was sold to Chrysler in 1928 and became simply known as Dodge, so the model was from 1927 at the latest.
A team from Gilmore came to UT in mid-January to take possession of the car, with facilities services helping carefully remove it from the building and roll it into the museum’s trailer.
While there is major work to be done to completely restore the car, it still had a lot of its original parts, including steel rims, wooden spokes, platforms for running boards, and a still functioning axle and wheels.
David Goddard (865-974-0683, firstname.lastname@example.org)