Proposal for the Mariposa Airport Historical Association, Restoration and Teaching Museum


We propose that the unused Mariposa Airport WPA hangars be used to build, repair and restore vintage and classic vehicles such as aircraft, automobiles, motorcycles and airport support vehicles. In return for the use of the facilities, the restorers teach others in the community the basics of their crafts.

There are several aircraft, auto and motorcycle clubs, for example, whose members might benefit from short-term use of such facilities for particular projects, for which they would use their own tools and shop equipment loaned by others to repair or restore classic vehicles.

In turn, the restorers would teach their fabrication and reconstruction techniques to others, providing on-the-job training, mutually benefiting the projects and the trainees. During the process, tourists and community members would be welcomed to watch the activities in progress.

Local media and news agencies in surrounding communities would publicize all such projects, leading to open houses and other events that would support the Mariposa community and spotlight the efforts of the participants.

It is our hope that such rotating projects would teach a diversity of skills to those who want to learn and would eventually lead to fabrication certification to individuals who develop such new skill sets.

1993 – This is the storage building donated by the City of Torrance to be set up into the workshop for remanufacturing the Pearl Harbor P-40B for Project Tomahawk.
The condition of the storage building when we moved Project Tomahawk into it. Included is the full-scale wooden mockup of the fuselage, along with the engine and a trailer full of rebuildable wreckage.
The Project Tomahawk workshop under construction.
One of the annual project open houses for the general public to observe our progress. The tooling, assembly fixture and fuselage parts were all manufac-tured in this shop.
Rich Pranin was one of our young supporters and trainees. Shown here with Kent Lentz, holding a casting to be installed in the newly manufac-tured engine cowling for the aircraft.
Alex Prosser, one of our master fabricators, next to the aircraft in its final stages of construction at Torrance Airport. Patterns for aircraft test parts and patterns, and promotional t-shirts displayed on the wall above.
The 1937 WPA Mariposa Airport hangar 1, as it is today. The goal of this project is to restore these hangars and use them to build, restore and repair classic vehicles.
Inside the Mariposa Airport hangar 1, facing the wall between hangars 1 and 2. The hangar needs a concrete floor and structural improvements that preserve the original building materials in order to maintain its historical authenticity.

The following photos were of my workshop in Southern California.

Mixture of historical cars and aircraft parts in a working museum shop at Zamperini Field, Torrance Municipal Airport.
Working on a classical Southern California hotrod.
Early 1930s Ford Roadster behind a replica of an early 1930s Navy fighter plane, a Boeing F4B-4.
The early 1930s Ford Roadster with a 1965 state of the art quarter-mile dragster and the replica of the early 1930s Boeing F4B-4. In the background is a WW II Allison engine.
Three Allison engines in the background, behind a roadster chassis.
The early ‘30s Ford Roadster beside the Boeing F4B-4, along with a dragster and a ‘32 roadster.
Alex Prosser fabricating the hood and side panels for the roadster. The F4B-4 (built by Alex) is in the background. Alex is a master metalsmith.
The shop filled with a complement of motorcycles, racecars, hotrods and airplane parts.
A 500 Triumph desert sled in front of the newly finished street roadster. Airplane parts in the background, fabricated from scratch.
A ’41 Mercury in the foreground, a roadster undergoing repair, and a P-40B airplane fuselage skin on the back wall.
A Cessna O-2A Vietnam veteran, in the shop with assorted other vehicles. This O-2A aircraft has 34 bullet hole patches in it.
Building a hotrod’s rolling chassis behind the Cessna O-2A.
The hotrod with its body mounted and with the ability to roll on its own wheels. An Allison engine is in the background, along with P-51 wing skins on the wall.
The Allison engine pictured here is the only operable Flying Tiger (AVG) engine extant (a wrecked Flying Tiger engine is currently in Thailand).