The Piston Foundation, whose mission is to bring more young people into the trades of the collector car industry, will receive support from the Cavallino Classic on January 26-29, 2023, for the second straight year as a sponsored charity.
The 32nd edition of the “Concorso d’Eleganza" will celebrate the Ferrari marque, dedicating a class to the 100 years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race that is a significant part of Ferrari’s legendary racing pedigree. It will be held at the famed Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, and will feature a Piston Foundation discussion panel at noon on Saturday, January 28, entitled “The New Wave: Everything You Don’t Know About The Next Generation of Collector Car Technicians.”
Included on the panel, hosted by The Piston Foundation’s Manager of Development Sperry Hutchinson, will be Paul Russell, owner/manager of Paul Russell and Company in Essex, Massachusetts, which offers restoration, preservation and maintenance services; along with Jon Dega, who operates Rare Classics Restorations LLC in Boca Raton, Florida. where he and his team manage and care for four private collections and provide restoration services. https://paulrussell.com, www.americancoachbuilder.com, www.vignalecabriolet.com, www.chryslerboano.com, www.maxradpicturecars.com.
Russell and Dega will be joined on the panel by Jeff Mason, President/COO of The Piston Foundation, and three of the 10 recipients of the inaugural 2022 Piston Foundation Scholarships: Zoe Carmichael, Jacob Koehn and Sean Whetstone. All three are juniors at McPherson College and part of the Automotive Restoration Technology Program.
The Piston Foundation is working to bring more young people into the trades of the collector car industry. (Image courtesy of Chris McNeil Photography and Black Horse Garage.)
The students will also take part in assisting J.R. Amantea and his team from GT Motorcars of Wallingford, Connecticut, in preparing and placing client’s cars on the show field. The cars include an unrestored Ferrari 288 GTO, a Ferrari 512bbl and a low-mileage Ferrari F40. Amantea earned a 2017 and 2022 Sports Car Market “40 Under 40” award. https://www.gtmotorcarsllc.com/.
At Sunday’s Sports & Classic at Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach, the students will walk the car show with car collector volunteers who will share career advice and guidance.
“Across the industry, there is a shortage of skilled workers,” Mason said. “Every shop can tell you about the difficulty of finding qualified technicians to hire. At the same time, young people with the interest, talent, and skill to be collector car technicians are unaware of the rewarding career opportunities the industry offers. The Piston Foundation is working to solve these problems through its scholarship and apprenticeship programs.
“In 2022, the Piston Foundation awarded scholarships to its inaugural class of Piston Scholars – 10 aspiring technicians who are each studying in an automotive technology program with the goal of building a career in vehicle restoration. Three of these impressive young people will join the Foundation at the Cavallino Classic to share their experiences with the collector car community."
Mason added, "During the discussion we’ll talk about generational differences that affect the workforce and unpack the myths about bringing young workers into skilled trade careers. This is the first discussion panel on workforce development in the collector car industry. I think it’s going to start a lot of conversations in the community.”
The 2022 Cavallino Classic "Overall Outstanding Ferrari Competition" winner: the 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO Serial No. 5573, owned by Aaron Hsu. (Image courtesy of Justin Nardella Photography.)
The Piston Foundation is one of several sponsored charities at this year’s Cavallino Classic. Each charity benefits from the support of the Cavallino Foundation created by Canossa Events CEO Luigi Orlandini. “One of the very first tasks I set myself was to increase the charitable contributions of the Cavallino Classic, to continue supporting the organizations we have already helped in previous years, and to also launch some new initiatives,” said Orlandini, Chairman of Canossa and Cavallino. “As the lucky father of three kids, I strongly believe that the younger generation is the most important part of our future, and young people deserve our help to seize their opportunities in life.”
“We appreciate the continued support of the Cavallino Classic,” said Robert P. Minnick, CEO and Founder of The Piston Foundation, “They are an important and valued partner and we are excited to join them at this year’s event.”
Tickets for the Cavallino Classic may be purchased at https://cavallino.com/palm-beach-cavallino-classic/.