Clay Fees is organizing a muscle car club. Call it a school of thought for people whose passion is performance under the hood.
Fees, 49, of Sapulpa, hopes to foster conversation about the golden age of American automotive engineering – the 1960s and 70s. Some of the most iconic production cars rolled off the assembly lines at Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and the former American Motors Corporation.
“Age of the American Muscle Car” is a new 16-hour class available this fall at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s El Reno Campus. It is not a “car” class per se, said Fees, who is also a published author and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard. Fees himself completed a book publishing course at CV Tech a few years ago. That class is still offered.
“This (muscle car) class is not for mechanics or engineers,” he said. “There won’t be much discussion about timing curves or compression ratios. This is a history class.”
Fees comes by his fervor naturally. For nearly three decades, he has owned a classic 1966 Pontiac GTO. Also in his garage is a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner. Fees said the prior year ’68 Road Runner sits figuratively atop his personal Mt. Rushmore of classic American muscle cars.
Most of his immediate family own muscle cars too. Admittedly, motor oil runs in the bloodlines. So why not teach car history within a class on how to find, fix up and flaunt a muscle car?
The answer rolls off Fees’ tongue quicker than you can say Gran Turismo Omologato – the Italian origin of the famous GTO acronym – which loosely translated means approved for competition.
Class time is geared toward developing an appreciation of these cars and an understanding of their importance in automotive history – which loosely translated means passion precedes the pursuit.
“It is incumbent on a younger generation, like myself or even more importantly the generation behind me, to carry on with the interest in these great cars,” Fees said.
He draws on decades of associations with the “primary sources” of the muscle car era, all of whom are well into retirement years – most either approaching or into their 80s.
“Age of the American Muscle Car” is offered twice in the fall semester at CV Tech on Wednesdays, from 6 to 9 p.m. The class is available from Aug. 17 through Oct. 5 and again from Oct. 12 through Dec. 7. Cost is $63.
Tuition is free to all U.S. military personnel and veterans and seniors 65 and older. Anybody under age 24 who lives in the district and has a diploma (or equivalent) also qualifies for free tuition (books and fees are extra).
For car nuts who need to tinker, another short-term course is offered twice this semester. “High Performance Engine Build” is focused on engine building, precision measurement tools and tricks to build an engine for a street rod or muscle car. For a complete list of all short-term course options for adults, visit cvtech.edu, or call (405) 422-2201 to enroll.