Building of second car on track to raise funds for vocations

Deacon Kevin Soenneker, Michael Tougas, Father Aaron Kuhn, and Steve Tougas work on assembling parts. The kit comes in 30 boxes of parts that need to be assembled on the car frame. (Photos submitted)

Four years ago, Father Aaron Kuhn helped raise $84,300 for vocations in the Diocese of St. Cloud by raffling off a car that he built with help from families, parishioners and friends. After putting the project on hold for a couple of years during the pandemic, he’s back in the midst of another build.

“Building the first car was such a positive learning experience for the kids of our parishes, that I thought it would be good to do a second car,” said Father Kuhn, pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church Area Catholic Community, which includes parishes in Bertha, Bluegrass, Bluffton, Menahga, Motley, Staples, Verndale and Wadena. “Families are looking for healthy learning and bonding moments and the car build provides that in a safe and challenging environment.”

This year’s car is a Type 65 Coupe from Factory Five Racing, being built from a kit in what is known as Father’s Garage, the garage behind the rectory at St. Ann Church in Wadena. The completed car will have a Ford 427 fuel-injected, 485 horsepower engine and a 5-speed manual transmission.

The process of building the car has been relatively the same as last time, Father Kuhn said, though the pandemic got in the way of progress for about two years.

“The second car was two months ahead of schedule compared to the nine-month process of the first car, but the pandemic affected our progress at a critical juncture,” he said. “Now, we have caught up, but with a lot of lost time.”

Jacob Duncan helps his dad, Jean Claude Duncan.

Volunteers help Father Kuhn with every aspect of the process, which includes ordering the car kit and engine from separate companies, taking inventory of the parts when they arrive, building the vehicle from the frame up by adding parts to each section, shaping and sanding the fiberglass body, hood and doors, and getting it painted, licensed and road worthy.

The car is periodically checked by professional mechanics to make sure it will be safe to drive when it’s done.

Building a car is not something most kids would ever experience and they benefit from it, Father Kuhn said.

“Most parents don’t have the resources to do this at their homes, so I am happy to offer my garage as neutral ground for all,” Father Kuhn said. “The car will be raffled for someone else to enjoy, so the kids learn how to build something that benefits others. They invest themselves in making the world a better place.”

Proceeds from the raffle will then be given away to other young people who are considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.

The Ford 7.0L 427 Racing Engine and Tremec 5-speed transmission provide about 500 horsepower and 500 pounds of torque.

“Over 40 percent of those who enter seminary or a convent to discern priesthood or consecrated life have some personal debt holding them back from entering,” Father Kuhn said. “I was intentional about wanting a high profile and extraordinary project that would raise lots of money for vocations and
this project provides that.”

“We all have a responsibility to contribute to the call of vocations in our families,” Father Kuhn added. “To remind young people that God loves them, has a plan for them that will fulfill their desires and dreams and that serving God and others is what we are all called to do, whether married, consecrated, single or ordained.”


The finished car will be raffled off on May 20, 2024 in honor of the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, the patroness of the Area Catholic Community. For details and tickets visit

This Type 65 Coupe by Factory Five Racing takes a minimum of 300 hours of labor to assemble. The red gel coat will be painted dark blue with white racing stripes, as voted by the youth who worked on it.

Author: Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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