Flyers with drive
A self-described motorhead, Ryan Restrepo found himself in an awkward position. He was attending a motorsports show but didn’t have a car to get him there. So he had to borrow one: his sister’s Toyota RAV4. And he had to return it with a full tank of gas.
He has since moved up in the world, now driving a 2006 BMW 330i 6-speed manual his family bought new in 2005 when he was 8 years old and that he has modified extensively. It’s that car that helped him launch the University of Dayton Motorsports Club.
“I was really yearning for the relationships where I could just talk about cars — what cars are best, what I drive, my experiences,” said Restrepo, who got permission to park his car next to his table at the Up the Orgs student clubs showcase his junior year at UD. From there, the club took off.
Members have hosted car shows on campus, attended track days, participated in autocross competitions and joined Friday cruises through the countryside. This year, the club partnered with Dayton’s British Transportation Museum to revive two MG cars the museum would like to sell as fundraisers.
Club members include both women and men, mostly engineering majors but also students studying business, English and biology. Restrepo, who graduated in May, fell into that last group.
“I feel that your passion and your career should be separate things,” said Restrepo, who plans to be a doctor. After graduation, he’s taking a gap year during which he’ll apply to medical school and work as a certified nursing assistant. He’s also purchased a project car, a white 1992 turbocharged and track-ready Mazda Miata with pop-up headlights.
He has his sights on his dream car of the future, a Mustang Shelby, which he fell in love with thanks to a fellow club member who let him drive a 2017 Shelby GT350.
“I had a smile on my face the entire time,” Restrepo said.
And for Restrepo, pure joy is a deep, throaty purr and being able to make that reverberation possible for generations of Flyer car lovers to come.