A friend, Paul Baresel of Buxton, is concerned about his antique automobile collection. He’s had a series of Model T’s, and he’s also the proud owner of a 1929 Studebaker President.

Baresel explains that the real heart of a collection is passion and an appreciation of the history behind the collection. He describes the Studebaker as a “money pit,” so it’s obvious that this hobby requires more than a practical frame of mind.

Baresel’s fear is that the passion and appreciation for antique cars is not being passed down to younger technicians. Along with that, the skills and knowledge to perform work on antique technology is disappearing.

The technicians who rebuild parts for Baresel’s vehicles are all retirement-age. To get components rebuilt he has to send them out of state for months. What will happen to antique automobiles if no one knows how to service them?

Baresel taught himself how to work on antique vehicles. When he was 12, his imagination was sparked when he was given one of Floyd Clymer’s automotive books. He went to the dump and came back with all sorts of broken engines.

His father joined in the fun and was happy to save money fixing up lawnmowers, chain saws, and tractors. His mother was tolerant of the pastime since their home was hidden so far in the woods, no one could see the projects.

She planted flowers around their mistakes, such as a 1920s Fordson tractor. Baresel was so excited about getting it running, he never considered how its weight would sink it into the spring mud. It never emerged.

A 1915 Model T Ford truck was Baresel’s first antique automobile. It was a thrill to learn how to drive, as well as repair. He also had a 1914 Model T speedster which was a fast car in its day, going up to 60 mph.

Difficulty steering and braking kept Baresel at a more reasonable speed. He acquired a “barn-fresh” 1924 Model T that was all original, although it took some work to clean up the bird and mouse smells. He owned a 1921 Model T 1½ ton truck with a C cab body. Many early truck drivers thought the exhaust and oil smell was unhealthy, so it was designed without doors.

Now Baresel is working on a 1925 Model T closed cab truck that was used on a farm Downeast. He says it’s fun to amaze family and friends, who tend to exclaim “You got this piece of junk running? Now you want me to be a passenger?”

Baresel has learned a great deal from organizations that are keeping automotive history alive. The Antique Automobile Club of America is a good resource of information at www.aaca.org. The Model T Ford Club of America has a website, www.mtfca.com. For his Studebaker he turns to the Antique Studebaker Club at www.antiquestudebakerclub.com.To learn more about early engines and machinery, The Maine Antique Power Association (www.maineantiquepower.org) can help.

To pass on his legacy of antique automotive knowledge, Baresel is running a car club for college students at SMCC. This fall they are restoring a make-and-break engine that would have been used to run a pump, saw, or generator. They will also take a trip to the Owls Head Transportation Museum.

Baresel believes young technicians aren’t interested in antique automobiles because they’re not exposed to them. He’s generously taking time to share his wisdom, hoping to spark their interest. With Baresel’s seasoned experience to guide them, the Antique Auto Club won’t need to collaborate with the student garden club.

Ruth Morrison is an Automotive Technology Instructor and Department Chair at Southern Maine Community College. She holds certification as an ASE Master Technician and Advanced Level Specialist and was a former Ford Senior Master Technician.