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FRESNO, Calif. – In today’s fast-paced world, Bruce Barnett is looking for the road less traveled. That’s so he can cruise along at the 35 mph to 40 mph top speed of one of the vintage automobiles he has restored. He has restored some 22 cars since he was first bitten by the car bug in the 1950s. “I’ve always been interested in it,” he said of his car hobby. “I’ve always liked antique cars.” Barnett, president and chief executive officer of Educational Employees Credit Union here, specializes in restoring pre-teen cars. Among his current collection in an extremely rare 1919 Stephens made by the Moline (Ill.) Plow Company. It is the only one of its make and model in existence, Barnett noted. Other cars in his current collection include a 1926 Model T roadster pickup – which he said was the first production pickup to be manufactured by Ford – and a 1913 Studebaker right-hand drive Model 25. Working on the vehicles, Barnett removes every nut and bolt, then rebuilds the cars from the frame up. He also does all the mechanical work. The only thing he no longer handles is painting the vehicles and installing the diamond-pleated and tucked leather upholstery. If there is a downside to the projects, it’s finding a place to safely drive the cars, which simply can’t keep up with today’s speedy modern machines. “The problem with antique cars now is it’s almost becoming unsafe to drive them on modern roads,” Barnett said. Barnett can be found driving his classics in parades and to and from car shows. And he will soon solve the driving dilemma, having begun restoration work on a 1985 Chevy Corvette. Barnett said he has sold many of the cars he’s restored, but that isn’t his driving motivation. “I get more thrill out of restoring them and finding the parts and manufacturing the parts and physically doing the work,” he said. “I like to say that’s my therapy (from work).” And, he added, “It beats golf.” [email protected]

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