Marshall County friends restore Indy 500 gems

Each year we travel down to the Indy 500, and each year we find some of Michiana’s own enjoying racing’s biggest event.

“We grew up coming down here to the time trials, my dad used to bring us down,” Mark Klingerman, a resident of Bourbon (in Marshall County), said. “So, every year in May, we come down, watch the time trials, from about 1970 on.”

But this year, Klingerman and his friends are doing more than watching.

 “We bought the cars from Indy car collectors,” Klingerman said.

Klingerman and his brother-in-law purchased two vintage Indy cars with hopes of restoring them.

“It just needs to be said about the small town of Bourbon,” Lonny Berkey, a childhood friend of Klingerman’s and fellow Bourbon resident, said, “we probably had 10 to 15 guys that, every night, both days of the weekends, to one o’clock in the morning, that were all committed as friends to help make this moment possible.”

“When we was kids we was here during the qualifications of ’69 and ’70, in that area,” Berkey said. “Ironically enough, Mark and I were here when this car probably qualified as kids,” he said, referencing one of the two cars.

Thursday, the lifelong friends returned the vintage cars home, refurbishing them in Michiana, and reuniting them with the track they once drove on.

 “It’s all about being young again,” Klingerman said.

And for the Michiana friends, it’s also about enjoying the moment after months of hard work.

“We’re just a bunch of northern Indiana boys just trying to have a little fun and do what we all really enjoy doing,” Berkey said.

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