Newly-restored, ‘snazzy’ Bummobile to make its parade debut Saturday

Ellen Nelson

Ellen Nelson

A school icon and essential part of Hobo Day tradition, the Bummobile has been completely refurbished after a near 2,000-mile trip to the West Coast.

The 1912 Model T. Ford was hauled by SDSU alumnus Harold C. Hohbach to Palo Alto, Calif., where it was restored from the inside out.

On Oct. 4, 2008, Hohbach, a 1943 electrical engineering graduate, hauled the Bummobile to his own workshop, where the restoration took place. The car’s nearly year-long rest time on the West Coast has been deemed worthwhile by several people who have viewed the vehicle.

“I was in awe, absolute awe of how beautiful it was,” said V.J. Smith, former Alumni Association director.

While in California, the vehicle underwent many changes, including a restoration of its original dark blue exterior, a completely rebuilt engine, new wheels and tires, an original brass kerosene side lamp, rear lamps and a brass horn, Hohbach said in a recent article featured in STATE Magazine.

After reports of a small accident, restoration from the inside out was deemed necessary for the Bummobile to be safe for its users. According to an article in The Collegian in 2008, the Bummobile ran into Waneta Hall because of issues with the brakes.

This year’s Grand Pooba, Megan Schiferl, has already made an appearance in the restored Bummobile at the Convocation Ceremony earlier this fall.

“It is such a symbol of the school, and the fact that it’s completely redone and we get to showcase this year, is just epic,” said Schiferl.

In addition to escorting royalty in the Hobo Day parade on Oct. 24, Schiferl said the Model T. Ford will be on permanent display in The Union once construction and remodeling of the current Union expansion is completed.

Oct. 24 marks the first parade appearance of the refurbished Bummobile, and people will have the chance to see for themselves what all the talk is about.

“It’s nice to have something that we can be really proud of this year,” said pre-med major Katherine Huber.

Total costs of the renovation process were projected to be around $60,000, according to Jennifer Novotny, director of The Union, in a 2008 Collegian article.

Hohback said in the magazine article that his $20,000 estimate was thrown out the window as the refurbishing process continued. Exact costs and expenditures of the renovation process have yet to be verified.

“I think it was very much so worth the money,” said Huber. “It looks so much more snazzy now.”