Meet Phil Hill Scholar: Dylan Riley
December 1, 2020
Dylan Riley can’t remember a time when he wasn’t interested in cars. He considers himself a hands-on learner with a real fascination about the history of cars.
“I’m not only interested in learning how to properly restore antique automobiles, but I also want to know the history of where these cars come from and the stories behind them,” he says.
Dylan’s interest in cars has developed over time. It started in his father’s garage, working on cars from the 1970s.
“Where I grew up the big car shows were full of Camaros, Mustangs, and Chevelles, so that was all I really knew,” says Dylan, who hails from Lake Ozark, Missouri. “At McPherson College and through internships, I have been exposed to the more elegant and stylish classic automobiles and have really developed a love of Brass Era cars and early European sports cars. I look forward to learning even more about them.”
While learning about these cars and growing to appreciate them, Dylan was surprised by the number of makes and models of cars he had never heard of before.
“I was blown away,” he says. “It was crazy to me to see how in the early 1900s everyone was throwing an engine onto something with wheels and calling it a car. Now there are only a handful of large companies that control the entire automobile industry.”
At McPherson College, Dylan, a Senior, takes his academics seriously; he has been included on the honor role. He is also active in the student car club and is a member of the Model T build team.
Dylan understands that cars serve as a tangible record of the past and wants to be part of maintaining and preserving them. His focus for now is on engines.
“I am good with numbers and measurements, which is crucial for finding tolerances during a build,” he says. “Plus, once the build is finished, the feeling I get after putting in all that hard work to finally hear that engine fire up for the first time is like no other. It’s one of the coolest things.”
He also loves driving different cars: “I love being able to feel how a car works and learn how each one may be different from the others. I love going fast — but cruising around in a prewar car can be just as exciting and sometimes feel just as dangerous.”
As for his dream car? Dylan goes back to his roots — a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T.