Dylan Svitak went to the Herington Car Show wanting to show off his most prized possession: his 2002 Mustang GT.
“When you have a car like this people look at you like your something special,” the 19-year-old Marion resident said. “People don’t expect a young person to have a fancy car. It’s not normal.”
Svitak was one of more than 50 exhibitors at this year’s car show. While he said he enjoyed looking at other people’s cars, he said he more enjoyed talking to people about his car.
Many automobile enthusiasts, he said, would mutter “nice car” and other comments that made Svitak proud to be owner of the hot rod.
“It makes you feel good when people like what you have,” he said.
Svitak said he originally purchased the car a couple years ago from a scrap metal dealer in Salina. Since then, he has saved and poured every extra penny into the car. He wanted to personalize it, and make it “truly his.”
“The whole point of having a car like this is because it’s different than what other people have,” he said. “I didn’t want it to look like every other vehicle on the market, but I didn’t want it to look too different either.”
Svitak said he kept the original paint color — fire engine red — but did some work on the leather interior seats.
“They were in pretty bad shape when I got the car,” he said. “It was torn up a bit.”
Now, no one would know that the car had seen once ounce of damage. Svitak said he spends every moment he can working on the car, so that it’s always ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“I didn’t have to do anything to it this morning except bring it to the car wash,” he said. “There was quite a bit of dirt on it and I didn’t want to show it in that condition.”
Svitak said he lives near Pilsen, and travels the Pilsen road often, which he admits isn’t ideal for an expensive car.
“You’ve got to be real careful when you’re driving that road,” he said. “I have to go slow — about 20 or 25 mph — in order to not to have any rocks pop up and crack my windshield.”
Svitak said there are many crazy drivers along that road, and he usually has to pull over to the side and let people pass him in order to protect his car.
“I got a lot of damage to my front bumper this winter,” he said as he wiped a raindrop that had fallen on the car’s pristine finish. “I just got it fixed; took $700 to replace.”
Svitak said that as long as he is cautious – and doesn’t do anything stupid – it doesn’t take much to maintain the car.
“I just do the basics, like check the oil once every two weeks,” he said.
He said part of being a responsible owner is knowing what will damage the car, and doing everything possible in order to avoid it. Svitak said he does everything he can, but said sometimes it’s just not possible.
“I can’t make the drivers more considerate,” he said.
Svitak is a senior at Centre High School. He said he is looking forward to graduation, but not to what comes after: saying goodbye to his hot rod.
“I’m going to be going into the Air Force,” he said. “I can’t bring it with me but I know my dad will take good care of it while I’m gone.”