COTTONWOOD - It's obvious that restoring classic vehicles is in the Mack family blood, beginning with Wayne Mack's passion, which easily spilled over to his sons Eric and Andrew.
"For me, it's more about the process and the restoration than the end result," Wayne Mack said. "You want a nice end result, but once the build is done, it's like, 'OK, now what are we going to do?'"
Mack said he's always had an interest in automobiles, as far back as his early teen years.
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Father and son Wayne and Andrew Mack show off the cars they will have on display during the Shades of the Past cruise Friday and car show on Saturday.
Wayne Mack stands next to his Shelby Cobra replica.
"I worked on cars and friends' cars in high school, things like that, and I've worked in the auto industry for 40 years, with a dealership out of South Dakota," he said. "It's always kind of been in my blood."
For the men in the family, the restoration process comes naturally. But the challenge, they say, is picking the right color for each project.
"The hardest part of all this is getting my dad to agree on a paint color," Andrew Mack said. "He thinks he wants it one color and I know I'm right, so I want another color."
Wayne Mack jokingly said his son Andrew always got his way but acknowledged that color choice was often a difficult decision in their family.
"He usually wins, even when he's wrong, because he's a spoiled brat," Wayne Mack said. "No. He's right. It's one of the toughest decisions."
Currently, the father-son team have four vehicles in their collection - a Ford Fairlane 500, a '65 Mustang Fastback, a '69 Dodge Polara, and a '66 Shelby Cobra replica.
"I think the Cobra was almost ready for paint and we still hadn't decided on a paint color," Andrew Mack said. "He wanted red and I wanted blue."
Wayne Mack pointed out that blue was a very traditional color for the Shelby Cobra.
"Blue was better," he said.
Besides, Andrew Mack said, there were already two cars in the family that were red.
As fairly new members of Shades of the Past Car Club, the Macks are excited to show off their favorites rides at the 2012 Shades of the Past car show on Saturday in Marshall, though they've taken part in the event before.
"I helped with the show as part of Runnings when they first started out on the Runnings lot and did that for a few years," Wayne Mack said. "A couple years ago, I joined the club. I really enjoy it."
As a club member Wayne Mack said he especially likes meeting people with similar interests.
"It's a good group," he said. "They're fun to be around. It's people who appreciate your work."
Andrew Mack, who, along with wife Dana, recently moved back to the Marshall area, said he and his brother Eric, who lives in Duluth, have often come back for the Shades of the Past celebration.
"Eric has his toys, too," he said. "Eric has a 2007 California Special Mustang. He also had a '55 Ford truck. Hopefully, if we get good weather like last year, it'll be amazing, the number of cars that show up."
1965 Mustang Fastback
While a number of cars have come and gone, a few favorites, including the '65 Mustang, have become a part of the family. Andrew Mack was 3 years old when his mother Carla bought it for Wayne for Father's Day.
"That was 25 years ago, but I still remember the day," Andrew Mack said. "I remember picking it up. I can't tell you what it looked like, but I remember riding in it."
Carla Mack found the car in Bismark, N.D., when the family lived in the area. The motor was blown up and barely made it home, the Macks said. Years later, the Mustang would become Andrew's.
"I just took it," he said. "It had a 6-cylinder when we first got it, but when I turned 16, it wasn't fast enough. I found a V8 and we put that in there. I just claim it now."
The Macks spent the next few years going through the Mustang and now just enjoy it.
"Andrew's always had an interest in it and helped with the motor swap and things," Wayne Mack said. "It's been in the family forever. It's been to high school proms and graduations and been in graduation pictures."
The best part, though, Andrew Mack said, is the vehicle's lines and history.
"It was the first year they made that body style," he said. "And, I've had it for 25 years. It's part of the family."
1966 Shelby Cobra replica
Wayne Mack admits that he's truly lost track of how many cars he's had throughout the course of his life. During that time, the Macks have learned a lot about patience.
"Some go down the road and some we keep," Wayne Mack said. "We enjoy it. My wife always knows were I'm at. It's a real escape for most people. It's an opportunity to think about something else, plan for something else, do something else than what you do on a day-to-day basis."
One dream car in particular, the '66 Shelby Cobra replica, took decades to find.
"It was an interesting day when we bought it," Andrew Mack said. "Eric was in Duluth. We lived in Superior, but I was driving over by Mankato. We had a three-way call going. We bought it pretty much sight unseen. My brother and I have wanted one of these since we were little little."
Wayne Mack explained that the Cobra replica, as an after-market car, came as a kit, in boxes.
"The guy we bought it from had for 10 years and never touched it," he said. "He lost his wife, his business and his health failed all about the same time. We bought the kit as he was being evicted from his home. We kind of still remain friends with the guy to some degree."
The original Shelby AC Cobra was introduced to the United States in the 1960s, combining an English sports car chassis with an American Mustang engine.
"A guy named Carroll Shelby went to England and found these English-built aluminum bodies," Wayne Mack said. "They're real small. He brought them to the United States and put Ford motors in them and raced them in the U.S. and around the world."
A factory-built model, back then, the Macks said, started at about $500,000.
"That was for a real low model," Andrew Mack said. "The big engine ones sell for close to a million dollars. That car held numerous records for a lot of years. It's the only car to ever take first, second and third place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans two years in a row."
Wayne Mack said the rarity of those original cars is what is driving the value.
"They had a super racing reputation and they're very rare," he said. "It made them a real candidate for replicas. At one point, there were 50 companies in the United States building Cobra replicas."
It's the most-replicated car ever made, Andrew Mack added.
"There are far more copies out there than originals," Wayne Mack said. "The main difference is that the replica is made of fiberglass and it's done with modern components. It's a working man's replica of the $500,000-plus version."
Eric Mack still has a brochure of the Cobra replica he picked up when toured the factory at around 8 years old.
"The (Cobra replica) kit was built by Classic Roadsters in Fargo, North Dakota, and I toured that plant with Eric when he was real small," Wayne Mack said. "We were looking at buying one 20 years ago. It's always kind of been a dream car to have."
The Macks' Cobra replica took about two-and-a-half years to complete. With both sons living away from the area, Wayne Mack said he had to save the bigger projects for when they were home. The car was finished right before the Shades celebration last year.
"It came out of the paint booth Thursday and the show was on Saturday," Andrew Mack said. "We worked til 4 o'clock in the morning the night before the show to put the car back together so we could have it at the show. It's a lot of fun."