Ryan Lawrence, a senior at Boyertown/Berks Career and Technology (BCTC) Auto Collision Repair Technology program, knows the value of a vintage car. He has been restoring and fixing cars with his father since he was 10 years old. “I’ve learned a lot about engines from my dad, but I wanted to train in a different area. I chose to attend BCTC’s Auto Collision program so I could continue repairing cars while learning how to restore them,” Ryan explains.
Ryan’s passion started with a 1932 Coupe he and his father restored together as a hobby. “I always looked forward to helping him on nights and every weekend,” Ryan stated. The Coupe is a beloved vehicle of car enthusiasts and was made famous by the Beach Boys’ 1963 hit “Little Deuce Coupe”. The 1932 Coupe and other cars they have restored can be seen at local car shows.
While searching Facebook Marketplace for additional vintage cars to purchase and repair, Ryan came across a 1972 tow truck for sale in New York. After some research, Ryan discovered the tow truck was custom designed for a Chrysler dealership in Carlisle, PA to be used as a maintenance vehicle. The tow truck included a snowplow and painted in powder blue and white, Chrysler’s corporate colors in 1972. The tow truck was eventually sold and had several owners. Over the years, it was used a tow truck and snowplow and even used in a wedding ceremony. Eventually, the plow was removed and sold but repairs were made to keep it running, including having the floorboards replaced. Last year Ryan made the drive to New York to purchase the tow truck with the goal of restoring it to its 1972 fresh off the factory floor look.
In the fall of 2021, Ryan drove the tow truck into BCTC’s Automotive Collision and Repair Technology program to begin the work. “I am happy all the students were able to help in this project. It is a great opportunity for them to restore a vintage vehicle.” Ryan added, “the wrecker or back of the tow truck with the hoists, was the biggest challenge to the project. There were a lot of parts that had to be disassembled, cleaned, painted, and reassembled. The parts were laid out all over the Auto Collision shop.” The restoration of the tow truck was completed in January 2022. Ryan plans on entering the truck at local car shows this year and putting the truck to use by offering towing services. Additional goals set by Ryan include working at his family’s business, Lawrence Site Contractors, and opening his own body shop.