October 10, 2022

Recipient Spotlight: Julian Karlic

Name: Julian Karlic

School: McPherson College

Location: McPherson, Kansas

Areas of interest :
Body & Paint,  Engine and Mechanical, Electrical, Fabrication & Metal Shaping, Frame & Suspension, Historic Vehicle Preservation, Original (Stock) Restoration, Performance Mods / Tuning, Imports

Era of interest:
Julian likes cars from the 1970s,  1980s, 1990s and 2000s

What sparked your interest in collector vehicles?
I’ve always been interested in cars since I was born. My first word was even car. Before I could even read, I could identify and name cars by their badges. My grandfather started getting me Hemmings Motor News when I was 3 or 4, which really was the root of my interest in classic vehicles. At some point in 3rd grade, I decided my dream car was an El Camino, so I became obsessed with them for years. It took until 7th grade when my dad bought a red 1973, El Camino. That was my first ever collector vehicle.

What motivates you to pursue a career in vehicle restoration/preservation?
A big motivation for me is being able to save vehicles from sitting neglected, rusting away, or getting scrapped. Many of the cars I have owned were like that. Another motivating factor is that I can have a career doing something I love and have a passion for instead of hating my job. It seems like my brain is hardwired for cars.

Favorite vehicle-related experience
My favorite vehicle-related experience was when my roommate bought this 1953 International grain truck off a farm in Wichita. Putting it on a trailer was out of the question since it was so big, so we got it running and drove it over 50 miles back to school. It took 7 hours driving on dirt roads because it wasn’t registered or insured. Almost everything that could have gone wrong did, but I had never felt more accomplished when we finally made it.

Do you have a vehicle you’re working on / have worked on? What is it and what kind of work are you doing? 
I have a few vehicles that I am working on. My biggest project is my 1981 Ford Courier, which I am doing a 80s/90s style custom minitruck build. I am swapping in an OHC Lima out of Ford Ranger. I need to fix the floors, inner rockers, and a few other rust areas. After that, I plan to give it a full respray and lowering it on a set of vintage ARE wheels. I also have a 1992 Daihatsu Hijet Kei truck which I am rebuilding the engine. The original engine smoked badly, but I found another one in a Baltimore junkyard. That engine has a bad crank but is better in every other way. I will swap the crank from the original engine along with new bearings and seals. It’s a 550cc 3-cylinder engine that sits under the front seats. The truck is fully street-legal.

What are your short-term/long-term career goals?
For now, my short-term goal is to complete the two years I have left at Mcpherson College and graduate with my degree. Long-term, I think I would want to go into business with my friends finding, fixing, and restoring the cars that we are into. I would also be happy to work for someone else at a specialty restoration shop or collection.

How has the RPM Foundation impacted your education/career path?
The money given to me by the RPM Foundation allowed me to accept an internship in Florida. The internship was a fantastic learning experience, but it came with a lot of expenses. With my gap funding, I was able to rent a house and live comfortably for two months while I worked at Palm Beach Classics.

Recipient Spotlight