Local teacher to showcase classic car for charity event

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More than 180 of the finest cars, boats and motorcycles from around the United States will be showcased at the 2017 10,000 Lakes Concours d'Elegance on Saturday, July 30, in Excelsior, Minn. Hastings resident Kurt Zabel will be there with his 1964.5 Ford Mustang coupe.

It is the fifth annual 10,000 Lakes Cours d'Elegance, which will benefit the nonprofit organization Bridging. Bridging serves the greater Twin Cities area by providing quality furniture and household goods to those transitioning out of homelessness and poverty.

The show will feature retail, food vendors, live music, a kid zone, presentations, live entertainment and of course, the classic cars on display.

A car selection committee uses certain criteria to choose the best classic automobiles, watercraft and motorcycles that are displayed at the event. Zabel said that he was a little surprised to see that his car was selected, but pretty happy too.

"I guess the fact that it's the first year ever produced and the fact that it was still all original must have been what made them choose to accept it," Zabel said.

Back in the day, this particular Mustang model was all the rage. The first Mustang was advertised as an early 1965 model, but Ford made some changes to the later 1965 model to differentiate. It is now known as the 1965.5 model.

It was the first Mustang model produced and has features that set it apart from the 1965 model. It has a 260-CID V8 engine, which was only offered on the 1964.5 model and it uses a generator instead of an alternator.

Zabel's 1965.5 model is unmodified and still has its drum brakes with a single master cylinder and original AM radio. The engine and interior have been restored but the body and paint are completely original.

Zabel said that having the original paint on the car is pretty unique. There was never any rust or repaints. The good condition might have something to do with it being stored away in a barn for much of its life. The car was originally bought in California; it still has the original plates. It was driven on the West Coast for a little bit, but then it sat in a barn in South Dakota for about 30 years until Zabel restored it.

Zabel is a chemistry teacher at Hastings High School for 22 years. He said that ever since he was a little kid he remembers playing with cars and building toy car models. He would work on bicycles, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and cars. However, it wasn't until about 10 years ago that it turned into a full-blown hobby. After a long day at work, he sometimes goes into the garage to work on cars to forget about any stresses from the day and to decompress.

The 10,000 Lakes Concours d'Elegance will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 30, at Excelsior Commons in Excelsior. Tickets are $25 for adults. Kids ages 12 and under, as well people with an active military ID are free. For more information, visit 10000lakesconcours.com.