Foundation series

The Coventry Foundation provides financial aid and student projects – PCToday

Described by its president as a “little fish in a big pond”, the Coventry Foundation has nonetheless provided vast opportunities for students at the Pennsylvania College of Technology through an endowed scholarship and the provision of practical automotive work.

“We were small then, but we really wanted to support the next generation of automotive people, preferably in restoration,” said Gary Kincel, who heads the foundation’s board, recalling the genesis of its partnership with the college about five years ago. “Gary Hagopian, one of our board members, brought the school to our attention and spearheaded efforts to establish a scholarship fund.”

This fund — which reached its total endowment goal of $25,000 last year, ahead of schedule — offers annual awards to full-time students enrolled in the two-year collision repair major or certificate program. automotive restoration. Preference is given to students with an expressed interest in restoration, particularly relating to British cars.

Coventry Foundation officers and Pennsylvania College of Technology students – some of whom have since graduated – met on campus during the spring semester when partial restoration work was completed on a series Jaguar E from 1973 on loan. Left to right, Amos Kunkle Jr. of Coventry, Treasurer, and Gary Kincel, Chairman of the Board; and students Logan M. Haga, of Chambersburg; Jason M. Wollermann, of Egg Harbor Township, NJ; Maxwell T. Empson, of Franklin; Nathan A. Persing, of Shamokin; and Anthony M. Maguschak of Weatherly. Haga is enrolled in collision repair technology; Wollermann holds an associate’s degree in collision repair technology and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied management; Persing holds an associate’s degree in collision repair technology and is registered in automotive restoration; Empson earned associate degrees in Collision Repair Technology and Automotive Restoration Technology; and Maguschak holds an associate’s degree in automotive technology and a certificate in automotive restoration. (Photo provided)

The Coventry Foundation has bolstered this important investment in the autumn semester of 2019 with the delivery of a 1973 E-Series Jaguar, an extended loan designed to allow students to experience a classic British automobile. The 12-cylinder vehicle, owned by one family, was to be given to the most committed and dedicated students of the program for a partial restoration.

“He was in good shape, but mechanically tired, and we thought it would be a great project for them,” Kincel explained. “The hood (bonnet) had to be untwisted, and attention had to be paid to various components – the cooling system, the hydraulics, the brakes.”

The foundation found reliable partners in body repair instructor Roy H. Klinger and in SNG Barratt, a supplier who donated parts for the restoration effort.

A handful of students have had the pleasure of working on the Jaguar in the years since, including Jim A. McCormick, formerly enrolled in Automotive Technology and Automotive Restoration, who is continuing his studies in Metal Fabrication Technology this fall; and Anthony M. Maguschak, a Coventry Foundation scholarship recipient who graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Automotive Technology with High Honors in May 2021 and a Certificate in Automotive Restoration with Honors in August.

You don’t have to speak with either student for long before you realize the extent of their automotive knowledge, both what they had before enrolling and what they acquired at university.

“Well, I was actually looking for an automotive restoration school and I did a Google search,” McCormick said. “I looked into the options and Penn College was definitely the best I found. It was also the closest to my parents’ house, so I chose Penn College. And I love my experience so far.

McCormick, originally from Australia and most recently residing in Pittsburgh – with stops in Japan and Ireland – acquired a love of automobiles from his widely traveled father, whose restoration jobs include a 1924 Holden-bodied Chevrolet and a 1932 J2. -MG model purchased in the UK.

“I just started working on the Jaguar in my spare time during my metal shaping course,” he said. “From there I worked on it when I could, sorting out the brakes and carburetors, and it just picked up speed.”

McCormick (who documented his work in a PowerPoint presentation) tackled a long list of tasks that included a substantial overhaul of the fuel and cooling system: he removed and replaced the fuel pump, cleaned the entire fuel system, replaced all rubber fuel lines. , cleaned the fuel filter and its housing, and overhauled the carburettors.

“I found out that one of the carbs was actually leaking fuel from the overflow, so I decided to take it apart,” he said. “I ordered four complete rebuild kits for them. I cleaned everything. I made sure everything was fine and I tested the float. I put it in a beaker of water to make sure that it was floating and it did. I rebuilt them all, and they work really well.

McCormick ran out of time before going through his entire wish list. There were the inevitable complications, like a cracked radiator, and the ensuing troubleshooting that took hours in class.

“But I did what I could,” he said. “I was able to run the car, but I couldn’t drive it because obviously you need brakes to drive a car.”

McCormick spent this summer at the Vintage Motorcar Co., a full-service restoration shop in Inwood, West Virginia.

“They have a few E-Types and a few Corvettes,” he said. “They also have three real Shelby Cobras, which is pretty cool.”

The conversation with Maguschak, likewise, reflects more than a passing familiarity with his chosen field. But despite his teenage purchase of a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee — “I pushed it home, actually,” he said — vehicles weren’t his first choice.

“I was convinced that I wanted to do wildlife technology from high school. I got accepted to Penn State, and just before I was about to leave, I was talking with my parents. I said, ‘You know, I really don’t think I could sit in the classroom. So I’m not going to college. And they said, ‘Well, what else would you like to do?’ I said, “Well, I like working on cars,” so we found this school. And I said if I went to Penn College, I would go into the automobile. And while I was here, they sucked me into the restoration program!

While completing his two-year degree, he completed an internship at a Blaise Alexander dealership. And because he was more experienced than some of his peers, who were still doing basic engine work, he inherited McCormick’s Coventry car.

“Mr. Klinger said, ‘Hey, there’s a Jag sitting in the corner; he just needs the brakes bled.

“They said they couldn’t get a pedal,” Maguschak added. “They tried to bleed it for hours, so I went through it all and realized that this car actually had two master cylinders. The secondary was the one they kept checking, but there had a torn cup on the main one so got a replacement and put it on. Now the brakes work!”

He worked closely with Coventry Foundation President George Camp for technical advice and parts sourcing.

Maguschak interned this summer at the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage in Allentown, where Nicola Bulgari, retired vice president of the Italian luxury jewelry brand, amassed a collection of about 180 cars.

Coventry FoundationKincel, who delivered the Jaguar to campus with Hagopian in October 2019, returned last semester — meeting Maguschak, attending the Penn College Motorsports Association’s Spring Car Show and evaluating student work on the vehicle.

“I wasn’t ready for him to be picked up, to be completely honest with you,” Maguschak said. “I would have liked to review the systems; checking on things that weren’t right or things that needed to be finished. I know the rack was still leaking when I left it, but unfortunately I ran out of time.

“There were still a couple things they couldn’t get right,” Kincel acknowledged, “but it starts fabulously, revs, drives – and the brakes work.”

Based in Columbia, South Carolina, the Coventry Foundation aims to continue the legacy of Jaguar automobiles in North America through an archive of printed materials, tools and vintage automobiles; annual scholarships to students; and recognition of accredited restoration programs.

The Jaguar has regained its place in the foundation’s permanent collection, which is housed in several facilities. Coventry has its main library and research center in Columbia; an exhibit at the British Sports Car Hall of Fame in Petersburg, Virginia; and a second library in conjunction with Classic Showcase in Oceanside, California.

Those interested in contributing to the Coventry Foundation Scholarship Fund or establishing a scholarship may send a donation to the Penn College Foundation, One College Avenue, Williamsport, PA 17701; donate online; call college relations toll-free at 866-GIVE-2-PC (866-448-3272); or contribute directly to the Coventry Foundation.

Students interested in one of more than 350 scholarships administered by the Penn College Foundation should complete an application.

To learn more about automotive restoration technology and collision repair technology majors at Penn College’s School of Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4516.

To learn more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education, email the admissions office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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