Students participate in car show in Elizabethton

A day after taking their ACTs, many Elizabethton High School students were exhausted, tired or even a little stressed about how well they did. Luckily for them, the school had just the thing to take their mind off things: a car show full of fancy cars and even motorcycles to marvel at.

Students gathered at EHS Wednesday morning to see a display of retro and modified cars, made by both hobbyists, professionals and students alike.

“I have been doing this annually,” automotive instructor Paul Linberg said. “These are all local guys.”

Several people brought a variety of different cars, from a vehicle right off the derby track to motorcycles.

One particular vehicle, a 1975 Chevrolet Vega, came from one of these students themselves: senior Daniel (Keith) Younce.

Younce said it was his dad who first inspired his passion for cars.

“I have been doing it for about five or six years,” he said. “We built it from the ground up.”

He said the Vega sports a standard 350 V8 engine, but additional modifications over the years add up to about $12,000 to $13,000 he has put into the vehicle, since he said they basically built it from the ground up.

“I just find it fun to do,” he said. “I love to see cars getting restored.”

Linberg said he enjoys introducing students to an activity they might not have thought of before.

“That is one of my goals,” Linberg said. “There are other things to get interested in. It keeps them busy.”

For Younce, this is an apt comparison.

“It is better to put your money in this than to put your money in drugs,” he said. “This is the most expensive drug.”

This kind of drug, however, is more than just a way to pass the time. As Younce revved up the engine to test it, a smile crept up his face as the engine roared to life and he leaned back in the driver’s seat. This was not just a car. It was his car, passion transformed into practical use.

The energy and passion Younce has put into his vehicle is evident in its name: the Freebird.

“When I drive it, I feel free as a bird,” he said.

Younce said he already has an internship in Johnson City, and he hopes to continue his passion for cars as a career.

For Linberg, this is one of the best outcomes of what he does.

“For some kids, this is the first time they are seeing anything like this,” Linberg said.

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