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Gilmore Garage Works weekly hands-on auto tech and restoration classes set to begin Tuesday, September 21st

New Garage Works Manager John Chapman of Gilmore Garage Works to educate, encourage, and inspire teens starting September 21st.

Hickory Corners, Mich. - Gilmore Garage Works is an innovative automotive education program at the Gilmore Car Museum that matches adult mentors with high school students who have an interest in classic cars, performance cars, motorcycles, and engines, but may not have access to tech or trade skills education curriculums offered within their schools.

Garage Works welding

Gilmore Garage Works weekly Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are FREE for enrolled students thanks to generous support from the Baum Family Foundation, and are set to begin for the Fall/Winter session on Tuesday, September 21st. The program will be led this year by new Gilmore Garage Works Program Manager John Chapman, a mechanical engineer, automotive industry professional, and lifelong car enthusiast.

This educational program not only nurtures a passion for history and all things mechanical, but introduces these students to a unique environment that gives them guided, hands-on experiences in a fully-equipped shop setting, and introduces them to tools, techniques, and safety standards across subjects like restoration, repair, maintenance, engine building, welding, fabrication, electrical wiring, and paint & body. The experiences may motivate students to pursue further education, training, and a career in the skilled trades, or might provide a newfound confidence that ignites a lifelong passion as a DIYer in the collector car hobby.

Just as important are the life skills these students learn from the work and from their mentors, such as communication, collaboration, pride and self-confidence. These skills will endure as the longer lasting benefits of this program.

Gilmore Car Museum

For parents and teens interested in learning more about the Fall/Winter 2021 Gilmore Garage Works program, an informational Open House event has been scheduled for:

Gilmore Garage Works Informational Open House
When: Thursday, September 16
Time: 5:30pm – 6:30pm ET
Where: Gilmore Car Museum - Gilmore Garage Works Shop (red barn to your left, after driving into museum main entrance)
6865 Hickory Rd., Hickory Corners, MI 49060

John Chapman has been a longtime mentor in the Gilmore Garage Works program, and following his recent retirement from Eaton Corporation, has taken over responsibility as Gilmore Garage Works Program Manager. John and the program’s dedicated crew of volunteer mentors are committed to providing positive, inspiring, and fun learning experiences for students.

About Gilmore Garage Works Program Manager John Chapman

John Chapman

John Chapman

John Chapman was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in nearby South Haven, Michigan. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1986, and recently retired from Eaton Corporation - Vehicle Group after 35 years of service. While at Eaton, John worked primarily in automotive valve train system development, and his responsibilities included designing, validating, and launching valve train components for major Original Equipment Manafacturer (OEM) customers. Products included intake/exhaust valves, hydraulic and mechanical lifters, diesel EGR valves, and gasoline direct injection pump actuators. John provided extensive valve train system and component training to Eaton new hires, and to Automotive Aftermarket & OEM customers. 

For general questions or more information, visit, call (269) 671-5089 or email

The Gilmore Garage Works program is an ideal platform to reach the next generation of automotive technicians, skilled tradespeople, and enthusiasts. If you’d like to volunteer as a guest instructor, or get your company, brand, tools or equipment involved in Gilmore Garage Works educational programming, please contact Gilmore Car Museum Executive Director Josh Russell at or (269) 953-9036.

Gilmore Car Museum

About Gilmore Car Museum

The world-renowned Gilmore Car Museum – North America’s largest auto museum with more than 400 vehicles on display -- is located midway between Chicago and Detroit, just 20 minutes north of Kalamazoo, or 45 minutes south of Grand Rapids. The museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to tell the history of America through the automobile. Learn more at

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