VIP Sponsors


Wisconsin High School Students Have SEMA Dreams


Words: John Gunnell

A group of high school students from Freedom, Wis., and members of the Freedom High School Auto Club, have been working hard all summer to convert a Chevy Advance-Design pickup from the early ‘50s into a SEMA show truck.

On Sept. 12, Hotrod Hotline visited the school from to see the truck, which seemed far from completion. But those involved in the project know what they’re doing. Last year, they converted a Toyota 4Runner into a “rock crusher” that was displayed in the Sherwin-Williams booth at the automotive trade show.

Freedom High School auto shop instructor Jay Abitz organized the 2017 build, but the idea and the 4Runner came from Rick Paulick, the owner of the NEW Motorama, an indoor event held in Green Bay, Wis., each spring. Both men are also involved with the 2018 build.

“The Freedom High School students and other members of the Freedom High School Auto Club help out at my show,” said Paulick. Abitz created the Freedom High School Auto Club. It has over 40 members, some students and others who are alumni, community members, professionals or car enthusiasts.

“We’ve done frame-off projects and body-off projects and all types of restorations in previous years,” Abitz pointed out. “Some take a year and some take longer. This one is not a restoration, it’s a build... it’s a little different.”

The build started as a once-a-week project on Wednesday afternoons, but now the volunteer workers spend up to four days per week on the build, and they have roughly five weeks to complete the project. With the school year factored in, the transformation of the truck is targeted for “Octoberish” completion.

“We’ve committed to a SEMA project and we’re going to get it done,” Abitz promised. He’s hoping that the large number of people working on the pickup will help them meet their goal. “We know from past experience these jobs take lots of time,” he said. “I’m hoping to trim down the time with lots of workers.”