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Meet the Concours Couple Making an Impact for Future Nurses at Endicott

Norm and Molly Shanklin
Norm and Molly Shanklin, longtime participants in Endicott鈥檚 Misselwood Concours d鈥橢legance, have launched the Shanklin Family Scholarship to support nursing students at the Cummings School of Nursing & Health Sciences.
5/29/2024
By: Sarah Sweeney

As soon as the annual Misselwood Concours d’Elegance concludes, Norm Shanklin walks through his garage alongside his wife, Molly, and considers which vehicle he’ll display at next year’s Concours.

It’s both a rite of passage and a ride of passage, bringing one of the Shanklins’ vast collection of antique cars from their New Hampshire home to 户外直播, their second home of sorts.

Each summer, both Concours participants and attendees seek out the Shanklins in a scenic spot coined “Norm’s Knoll” for conversation and colorful tales from the previous day’s Tour d’Concours journey.

A lifelong car collector, Norm has restored, maintained, and actively driven his vehicles. For more than a decade, the Shanklins have shown much of their collection at Misselwood; but it was the 2013 Concours they won’t soon forget.

“At most tours, if your car can’t drive onto the show field on the Sunday show day on its own power, it’s not welcome,” said Norm.

Those are the somewhat unofficial rules followed by many show organizers. Collectors compete annually at global Concours d’Elegance competitions, which are renowned for their emphasis on originality and car condition, so vehicles must naturally be in working order.

But during the 2013 Misselwood Concours, a 100-year-old linkage rod on the 1908 Stanley failed during the Saturday tour along the North Shore. They pulled over in Newbury, Mass., to the bemusement of spectators and neighbors. But instead of a weekend ruined, the Shanklins got another chance, thanks to Dennis Mamchur—another Misselwood participant—who pulled over and offered assistance.

1911 seven-passenger Stanley

“And this is the true test of the kind of culture and chemistry you have with the Endicott philosophy,” said Norm. “He abandoned the tour and brought us back to the trailer so that we could rescue the car.”

Back in Beverly, the couple set up for Sunday’s Concours and the Shanklins haven’t missed a “Misseltoe”—Norm’s nickname—since.

Accelerating relationships

That side-of-the-road rescue was just the beginning of the Shanklins’ love affair with Endicott.

In the fall of 2022, the couple established the Shanklin Family Scholarship to defray tuition costs for nursing students at what would later become the Cummings School of Nursing & Health Sciences.

But to get to Endicott, the Shanklins first had to find each other. And to do that, they first had to live, which meant “first” marriages, children, careers, and busy lives.

For decades, Norm worked as an engineer. Molly held different hospitality management jobs but found her way into the development office at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass., where Norm graduated in 1976 and became a trustee. There, the two met and became friends. After many years of working together, and after their earlier marriages each dissolved over time, their friendship eventually evolved into something more. 

But their romance came with baggage—several tons of baggage—in the form of Norm’s beautifully restored antique vehicles.

“I had an appreciation for different cars … but to the extent that we do today? Oh, no—I had no idea what it was all about!” said Molly.

Norm grew up tinkering on Wurlitzer theatre organs and old cars with his engineer father. They joined forces at Shanklin Corporation, a former shrink packaging machinery company, in Ayer, Mass.

“I’ve always been amazed by what our forefathers were able to do with the materials, tooling, and technology of their day to create some works of art that perform an incredible function and have stood the test of time,” said Norm.

(If the name Shanklin also rings a bell, the family is the namesake behind recreating the largest Wurlitzer theatre organ in New England, the Shanklin Wurlitzer, at the Shanklin Music Hall in Groton.)

Norm learned the inner workings of cars alongside his father, amassing a collection of Stanleys that today warrants several large garages, featuring other notable beauties like a 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

Before discovering the Misselwood Concours, Norm was a regular at Concours events around the country and made a name for himself as a trustee of Maine’s Owls Head Transportation Museum.

Molly, however, got to know him as a driver.

“He was so passionate when he talked about cars, and I was quickly drawn in, too,” she said.

While dating, the two embarked on a three-week tour of the Colorado Red Rocks in a Stanley, which Molly describes as a “very tall car, a very fast car, but it has a lot of maintenance that has to happen in the first part of the day before it can get up and start running. Then there is more to do at the end of the day when you are through driving.”

A Stanley is colloquially known as a Stanley Steamer because it runs on water, which produces steam, and, for a car of its time, is quite fast, often reaching up to 100 miles per hour.

The catch? You must stop and refuel it, frequently, and often at the homes of gobsmacked strangers.

“And so here I am going on this tour, having no idea, knowing no one but Norm,” said Molly. “But the things we saw were so beautiful, these lakes and mountains and backroads. You see it all.”

Norm and Molly Shanklin

After almost 30 years together, the couple still regularly makes time for new adventures. They just returned from an Alpine tour of Austria, Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia in a 1913 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, where they careened down mountain switchback cliffs, the wind in their faces as they veered through villages, turning every single head along the way.

A drive to make a difference

As much as Norm and Molly love telling stories, it’s a new chapter they’re helping to write at Endicott.

A story about paving the way for future generations of nurses in the wake of a pandemic that overwhelmed the healthcare field and educated the American public on the pricelessness of nurses.

“Everybody who we talk with at Endicott, they get the mission of the campus and they’re all putting their shoulder to the same wheel, trying to move it in the right direction. It’s a heartwarming feeling,” said Norm.

That made the Shanklins ask, “What can we do to channel some of our philanthropic involvement and say thank you to an organization that has welcomed us with open arms? Endicott has enriched our lives when we had no prior connection with them until the Misselwood Concours and now we wonder what we’d do without them.”

The Shanklin Family Scholarship arose out of the Shanklins’ fondness for Endicott and as a way to honor the nurses in their own lives, including the nurses who cared for Norm’s parents and Molly’s best friend, Susan McKenna, who’d been the school nurse at Lawrence Academy and who “embraced every kid and was such a great nurse for everyone,” recalled Molly.

“Doctors frequently get the limelight,” added Norm, “but these unsung heroes behind the lines make the impact directly with the person in the most critical time of their life.”

Now, as the College prepares to distribute the first round of funding to nursing students in the fall of 2024, the Shanklins are also looking ahead—to the 2024 Misselwood Concours d’Elegance.

Last summer, the couple won with gold leaf trim—the oldest known motorized Fox and one of the world’s most beautifully restored fire engines.

But this summer, the couple plans to showcase “Big Red,” the 1911 seven-passenger Stanley they took on their first tour together.

Norm is also thinking about 2025. For that, he has a departure in mind. He’s still thinking classic, but a different kind of classic—“a rare little 1949 MG-YT,” he said.

“It will be a special 50th-anniversary celebration for my first car restoration done under the guidance of my dad, a consummate craftsman,” he added. “It’s the car that started it all.”