The Car that Connects Generations of Southwest Tech Alumni

Madalyn Payne, a quiet 18-year-old stands next to her 1958 Ford Anglia, winning the 2017 Best of Show at the third annual Southwest Tech Motor Show. She recently graduated from the Nursing Assistant program and her dad, Bob Payne, graduated from the Automotive Technician program in 1995. This is not an unusual story as many students have had parents and grandparents attend Southwest Tech over its 50 years. What makes this story unique is that her hobby car is also an “alum” of Southwest Tech.  

Roll back to 1972. Mike Laufenberg was a student in the Auto Mechanical program. He owned a 1966 Mustang that had more power than Mike’s driving record could handle. After getting a ticket for speeding on his way to school one day, Mike walked into the classroom and announced that he was selling the car for $500. One of his classmates jumped at the offer and bought it on the spot. With cash in his pocket, Mike and a couple of classmates traveled to Jones Chevrolet and found a 1958 English Ford Anglia 100E on the lot. After doling out $300, Mike was now the owner of a car that touted a top speed of 68 miles per hour, guaranteeing that he could no longer get in trouble with his driving habits. This daily driver kept its promise by delivering him to classes without incident for the remainder of his education at Southwest Tech. His brother Randy then took over the wheel and drove it to high school in Muscoda, where it was voted the “Coolest Car in School” in 1974.  

Fast forward to 2013. A then 15-year-old Madalyn was looking for a restoration project to do with her dad and found Mike’s old car in a back lot in Muscoda. Even though it was missing wheels, a door, a hood, and front fenders and was home to generations of mice, she fell in love with it and took it home for yes, you guessed it, $300. After three years of research and elbow grease and with the help of both of her parents, the little car sputtered back to life with almost all original parts and is once again on the road, no longer as a daily driver, but an award-winning show car.

Madalyn is currently contemplating her next step towards a career. The patience and dedication she has shown with this project guarantees a bright future no matter where she decides to go. Hopefully, those plans will include an occasional drive in an old car that this campus once knew in 1972. 


Madalyn Payne wins Best of Show at the 2017 Motor Show and Swap Meet held at Southwest Tech.