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RCTC's used car auction draws a crowd

The cars are repaired by students in the automotive technician program.

rctc car auction
A man inspects the engine of the 2004 Toyota Camry that's up for auction at Rochester Community and Technical College on Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Abby Sharpe / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The annual auto auction at Rochester Community and Technical College showed off 11 cars on Saturday, April 16, 2022. Students repaired and fixed up the cars through the automotive technician program at RCTC.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of the community were invited to inspect and bid on the cars. The highest bidder for each car will be contacted to purchase the car.

Mike Harding, the program leader and instructor, said the cars are donated by community members. He and Jonathan Kettner, the other instructor, determine if the work is something the students will be able to repair and resell. If the car is accepted, students spend the two-year program making repairs to cars as they learn about them in class.

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“Each semester we study a different part of the car, so sometimes it takes two years to get to everything,” Harding said. “If it's a car that only needs the brakes, we'd only need one semester to go through the brakes. So every car has a little bit of a different story behind it.”

A constant flow of people came through the doors of the auto shop. Harding pointed out that the used car market is crazy right now, with “cars that are one year old selling for more than they sold brand new,” he said.

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“I wish we had 50 more cars right now,” Harding said, laughing.

The used car market is what brought many potential bidders to the auction.

Onur Eryilmaz is in the market for a car, and possibly another to flip for profit.

“I don't have a car, so we're just trying to see what's good for me to drive,” he said. “And if there's a possibility of us selling a car also to make money. I think that's mostly why some people are here.”

rctc car auction
Some of the cars that are up for auction at Rochester Community and Technical College.
Contributed / RCTC

Duncan Stewart and his wife, Jessica, also are looking for a car but for a slightly different reason: They need one that can comfortably fit their infant son and his car seat.

“We were just scouting to see what was out here,” Stewart said. “(Jessica) is sitting in the back right now because the front seat has to slide all the way up to fit the car seat.”

The proceeds from the auction go to support the automotive technician program. Cars cannot be viewed after Saturday, but bidders can submit bids until noon Monday, April 18, 2022.

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or asharpe@postbulletin.com.
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