Haywood Community College’s Foundation recently received a unique donation from county residents Wilfred and Cynthia Gaier. The couple donated a 1957 Chevy Bel Air to be used in the college’s Automotive and Collision Programs. The car originally belonged to Cynthia’s father and holds a special place in the family’s history.

“We wanted someone to have the car that can restore it and appreciate it,” Wilfred explains. “The college is a wonderful place for it. We have been lucky in our lives and this is a way to give back to the community.”

Cynthia recalls a very early memory as a small child at Easter. “Wearing my Easter dress, I played with my dad on the car and my mom made a fuss over getting my dress dirty.”

Later in life, Cynthia said the car still meant a lot to her dad. “When we would take him for a ride in it, he would come alive. It made his golden years.”

Darrell Honeycutt, HCC Automotive Program Manager, says this car will enable students to see the differences and advancements to vehicles made over the past few decades. “This car will allow us to have a running car for the students to work and learn on. They will be able to receive hands-on experience in repairing steering, suspension, engine performance, electrical, and drivetrain systems on an older vehicle. Everyone in the automotive and collision programs are very excited about this donation and look for to working on it and displaying it to the public.”  

Not only for use of currently enrolled students, the Bel Air will be used as a recruiting tool to gain future students. Once repairs have been completed, the car will be entered into local car shows.

“For years, the car sat silent,” Cynthia says. “Now it has a forever home.”

For more information about HCC’s Automotive programs, please call 627-4582. For more information about HCC’s Foundation, please contact Pam Hardin at 627-4544 or pahardin@haywood.edu.

Photo by Jack Snyder. HCC’s Foundation recently received a unique donation from county residents Wilfred and Cynthia Gaier. The couple donated a 1957 Chevy Bel Air to be used in the college’s Automotive and Collision Programs. Pictured left to right in front of the car is Darrell Honeycutt, HCC Program Manager; Pam Hardin, HCC Director of Institutional Advancement; Nelly Ramirez, mother of Cynthia Gaier; Cynthia Gaier; and Wilfred Gaier.