Man turns trash into treasures
Detroit Lakes, Minn. The first car Scott McConkey brought home to restore was more rust than metal. It was riddled with more than 30 gunshot holes and missing entire pieces. But it was also a 1935 Ford Coupe, a childhood favorite of the Deer Rive...
Detroit Lakes, Minn.
The first car Scott McConkey brought home to restore was more rust than metal.
It was riddled with more than 30 gunshot holes and missing entire pieces.
But it was also a 1935 Ford Coupe, a childhood favorite of the Deer River, Minn., native.
"My dad couldn't believe it," McConkey, 44, said. "He didn't think I would ever get it done."
It took him a year, but McConkey proved his dad wrong, transforming the rust blob into the gem he envisioned when purchasing it.
And he has since worked similar magic on seven other cars.
Classic vehicles have always been McConkey's passion.
He attended college at Bemidji State, earning a master's degree in industrial technology. He then went to a restoration specialty school in McPherson, Kan., before returning to the Detroit Lakes area.
Though McConkey has sold some of his restored cars, he does it mainly as a hobby.
"I enjoy the history part of it more than I want to make money," he said. "It's just really satisfying taking a piece of junk and having a nice looking car when you are done."
When he's not tinkering with cars at home, McConkey's doing it at Mahnomen High School where he teaches automotive repair classes.
Students feed off his passion, said McConkey's wife, Monica.
"Kids other teachers don't want to see in class love him," she said. "He really connects with his students."
McConkey spent his own money to buy a classic car for his students to restore.
When they're done, he'll sell it and use the money to buy another car for the class.
A horse-training facility serves as McConkey's "garage," and is filled with 17 cars in various stages of disrepair.
The most prized possession in his waiting-to-be-restored collection is a 1935 Auburn Roadster, which will have a resale value of about $75,000 once done. He has three Auburns in his collection.
He also has three 1934 Fords he plans to rebuild with the help of his kids, of whom the oldest is now 3.
"That was the car I wanted growing up," he said.
But topping McConkey's list of vehicles he wants restored is a 1937 Packard.
McConkey's parents will have their 50th anniversary next year and his dad has always wanted a Packard.
The car will be an anniversary gift to his parents.
"I already prepped my wife that I'll be spending a lot of time out in the shop this winter," he said.
Rural North Dakota and Minnesota are goldmines for finding classic cars, McConkey said. Most of the cars he buys are just sitting on farmland.
"Anyone can restore a car if you have the patience to do it," he said. "That's all it takes."
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Jeff Baird at (701) 241-5535