- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Back to the Bricks committee member Joe Rundell is busy with some restoration projects, but they don’t have much to do with cars.

Rundell is the official statue sculptor for Back to the Bricks. He’s so far made seven statues for Back to the Bricks commemorating the city’s automotive pioneers. He sculpts them in clay, and then sends them off to be cast in bronze. He gets the originals back, but they don’t look the way they did when he sent them off, The Flint Journal (https://bit.ly/1ys2kBD ) reported.

“I haven’t seen this guy in about two years, and boy has he suffered,” Rundell said Friday, Nov. 21, when he saw what was left of his sculpture of William “Billy” Durant. He was sending his latest statue, a likeness of Albert Champion, founder of AC Spark Plugs, off for metal casting, and the foundry had sent Durant back to him.

Well, most of him. Durant’s head wasn’t there, for one, though Rundell said it was around somewhere. The toes of one boot were detached and his hands, among other parts, were down by his feet.

To cast a statue, foundry workers sometimes have to cut clay sculptures into pieces, making casts of them piece by piece. Over time, it takes a toll on the original.

In addition to being cut up, Durant looked like he’d taken a beating. His clay coat and pants were torn, revealing the foam base underneath.

“It’s going to be as hard to restore him as it is to start from scratch,” he said.

But he plans on doing it. One statue, of one-time GM President Charles Nash, has already been restored. He’s standing next to David Buick, whose detached head rests on his shoulders, looking like a beheaded Halloween ornament.

Rundell’s not sure what he wants to do with them, but he wants them on display somewhere. He said he might submit them to the annual Grand Rapids art show and contest, Art Prize.

“Even if we don’t win, it still puts Back to the Bricks in another place,” Rundell said.

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Information from: The Flint Journal, https://www.mlive.com/flint

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