History Channel’s ‘American Restoration’ features Harper Woods mayor

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published September 11, 2014

 Ken Poynter, left, poses with his 1932 Hudson model car and the cast of “American Restoration,” a show on the History Channel.

Ken Poynter, left, poses with his 1932 Hudson model car and the cast of “American Restoration,” a show on the History Channel.

Photo provided by Ken Poynter

History Channel’s ‘American Restoration’ features Harper Woods mayor

Mayor Ken Poynter held on to a special piece of American automobile history for 25 years, waiting for a day he could get it restored to its original, early 1930s condition.

That day came with the help of the experts on the History Channel’s “American Restoration” television show. The show featured a transformation of Poynter’s rare 1932 Hudson quarter-scale model of the original version.

Poynter collects all things from the Hudson Motor Car Company, where his father was an employee for decades, and even has his own classic 1940s Hudson. Poynter continues to be active in the local Hudson antique car club that he’s been a member of for many years.

The model car restored on the show is a one-of-a-kind. While 12 were produced, each was a different model from the Hudson line. Of the 12 made, there are only seven known in existence today.

“It was first shown at the 1932 New York auto show,” Poynter said, adding that he’s hoping the show’s exposure will help him find a photo of the car in that show.

Poynter has had the car since he purchased it and had it transported to Michigan from the Southwest many years ago.

“It took several months for me to complete the deal and get it up here to Detroit,” he said.

Poynter is glad Rick Dale and his crew at Rick’s Restorations in Las Vegas took the job.

“Everybody else was afraid to tackle it,” Poynter said. “There were a number of things that had to be remade on that car. They really put a lot of time and effort into it.”

For instance, the hood ornament was missing from the vehicle so they had to craft it by hand.

“It’s simply amazing that somebody could do that by hand, like he did, and make it the right size,” Poynter said.

“It took me 25 years to get it done,” he said of the restoration. “I (wanted) to get this done while I’m still young.”

On the episode that aired for the first time earlier this month, Dale and his crew spent a lot of time transforming the model into pristine condition, changing it from a black antique that was missing some parts to a shiny hunter green and black car with white-walled tires that shows a tremendous attention to even the smallest details.

“I’ve heard of these but I’ve never actually seen one. I mean, this thing is the Holy Grail of model car collectors,” Dale said during the show.

Poynter has loaned the renovated model car to the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, where a large portion of his collection is on display. It’s the site of the last Hudson dealership and will soon be named the National Hudson Museum.

He wanted people to be able to see it.

“It’s nice to have a private collection, but it’s even nicer to have it at a place that many people will come and see that.”

This was Poynter’s second appearance on the show. The crew restored a wagon from Poynter’s childhood a couple of years ago.

“That was a Christmas present given to me when I was 4 years old,” he said, adding that he forgot about the wagon until years later. “My parents were using it to haul things around. That wagon was made on Eight Mile Road.”

He said he has experienced the wide reach of the show. He’s had people he knows in

England and New Zealand tell him that they have seen him on TV.