Jerry Toews, of Goessel, has spent the last few months restoring vehicles for the Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale and Auction, which will be Friday and Saturday at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.
A 1929 Ford Model A was donated by Irvin and Evelyn Harms, of Moundridge. A 1945 John Deere Model H tractor was donated by Ethel Abrahams, of North Newton and formerly of Hillsboro. And a 1961 Mercury Comet — with only 50,000 miles and all original parts — was donated by an anonymous woman in Hillsboro, Toews said.
Toews is a retired instrumental music teacher, and he has always enjoyed doing mechanical restorations.
He has spent the past two months working on the Comet, which he described as “amazingly original and complete.”
“It is very rare that one finds a 50-year-old vehicle in this condition with all its original equipment,” he said.
The problem is that it sat in a garage in Hillsboro, unused, for about 15 years.
“Many things were stuck and needed to be freed up and cleaned so it could run again,” Toews said.
Businesses in Goessel, Inman, Galva, and Moundridge donated parts and work for the restoration. With their help, Toews was able to get it working again. The farthest they had to search for a part was Alberta, Canada, for a carburetor kit.
“The old Comet purrs like a kitten and runs down the road very nice,” he said. “This is the satisfaction I get from working on something that does not work.”
Ethel Abrahams donated the John Deere. She bought it for her husband, Norman, in 1991 at the Oklahoma MCC sale. It was a surprise retirement gift.
Norman went to the sale to buy the tractor, but Ethel paid a friend to outbid Norman. The friend kept the tractor until Norman’s retirement party a month later.
After Norman’s death, Ethel thought it would be appropriate to donate it to the Kansas MCC sale.
All money raised by the auction will be used in MCC’s humanitarian work. MCC focuses on teaching people how to improve their agricultural production. The sale begins 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday.