Four year-project to restore classic car involved more than 300 students, thousands of parts, more than a dozen sponsors, countless hours and one unbelievably dedicated teacher. May Madness is Saturday, May 31 from 12pm-6pm on Fourth Street in downtown San Rafael.

Tam High automotive technology teacher Lisa Miller is about as passionate and energetic about teaching kids about cars and the skills needed to maintain, repair and even restore them.

But right now, on the heels of a four-year project in which she led more than 300 students through an entire restoration of a 1965 Mustang, Miller could use a breather.

Miller and her legions of students who participated in the restoration will get a chance to see the fruits of their labor on display at the 27th annual May Madness Rock & Rollin’ Car Show and Parade on Saturday, May 31, from 12-6pm on Fourth Street in downtown San Rafael. This year’s event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Mustang.

“It’s going to be great,” Miller said. “This project was a lot of extra time for me. I’m exhausted, quite honestly – but it’s been amazing at the same time.”

Miller runs the Tam High Auto Shop, a full-scale auto repair facility that dates back to 1914. Junior and seniors take automotive technology as an elective, with Miller taking them way beyond car basics and deep into the world of auto systems, technology and infrastructure. Miller and her students do all sorts of real-life work on cars belonging to teachers, parents and fellow students, and bring 30-50 modern cars through the shop every week for maintenance, repair and service.

The shop is always a hive of activity, but since the spring of 2011, when Miller and her students bought a 1965 Mustang in the fall of 2010 for $10,500 at a car show at the Alameda County fairgrounds with the help of a $12,000 grant from the Tam High Foundation, it’s been home to the massive restoration project, with “literally thousands of pieces” coming off the car and going back on.

The project has had plenty of help, including a grant from the State of California and donations of parts from automotive companies throughout the North Bay, including Malugani Tires on Mill Ave., which donated all four tires for the Mustang.

Even though Miller could use the respite of simply focusing on teaching her students by using modern cars for a while, she’s already itching for another big project: her own 1955 Chevy, which she restored nearly 20 years ago and served as the inspiration for the Mustang restoration. Miller thinks now might be the time to restore it again, this time using green technology that didn’t exist when she restored the car the first time.

“These are skills that will last a lifetime for these kids – even if they never touch a car again,” Miller says.

The 411: The 27th Annual May Madness Rock & Rollin’ Car Show and Parade is Saturday, May 31 12pm to 6pm, with a parade of cars at 5pm on Fourth Street in downtown San Rafael between Lincoln and “C” streets. The event is free.

Here’s the event’s live music lineup:

  • 12pm: Winner of the “Heads Up” Battle of the Bands
  • 1:45 Fenix House Band– Blues, Rock n Funk from the Fenix Night Club
  • 3:30 Reckless In Vegas “Modern Rock meets classic ‘60’s Lounge Music”

The Mixbook below is a photo journal of the entire Mustang restoration project:

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Start your own Photo Books | Create custom Christmas Cards

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