A University of South Carolina alumnus left one of his prized possessions-a national show-winning 1940 Ford Deluxe Sedan Delivery-to his alma mater when he passed away.

On Saturday, April 5, during the April 3-6 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Tom Mack Classics will offer the valuable Ford to the highest bidder, with proceeds benefiting the university's Professor Frank B. Herty Scholarship Fund.

Benny T. Bootle, a 1953 graduate of USC's mechanical engineering program, had as much affection for vintage cars as he did his college. He was an active member of the Antique Automobile Club of America, where he served as president in 1995, and the Benny Bootle Scholarship annually distributes $3,000 awards to deserving USC students.

Bootle's pet automotive project was his 1940 Ford, a panel delivery model he decked out in Garnet Maroon with black fenders and a hand-painted sign advertising his favorite school in gold lettering.

Production figures from Ford Motor Co. indicate it is one of only 2,160 Deluxe Sedan Deliveries built for 1940. Riding on a 112-inch wheelbase, it features the stock 221-cubic-inch "flathead" V-8, which pumped out a respectable 85 horsepower, a three-speed manual transmission with column shifter, sealed-beam headlights, hydraulic brakes and whitewall tires. This was state-of-the-art equipment for 1940, and Bootle's truck features an extremely rare leather bench seat for driver and passenger.

With the restoration finished, it only took two years for the maroon beauty to claim every major prize in Antique Automobile Club of America competition, and in three years it achieved six Dearborn Medallion Awards on the Early Ford V-8 National Meet circuit, where it earned a perfect score.

In all, Bootle's truck competed-and was victorious-in 17 states.

Upon Bootle's death in 1996, the Ford was moved to the Swearingen Building of the College of Engineering and Computing at USC, where it was displayed for several years.

On Saturday, April 5, of the four-day Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Tom Mack Classics will sell the show-winning 1940 Ford to the highest bidder, and all proceeds will be given to the college.

The two-day auction will offer hundreds of other collectible automobiles, including a 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda, 1948 Lincoln Continental V-12 coupe, 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL convertible and a 1911 Maxwell Runabout.

The spring edition of Food Lion AutoFair annually attracts more than 160,000 visitors. It features more than 50 car club displays and more than 10,000 vendor spaces that offer a plethora of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway.

Food Lion AutoFair hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults while children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5.

For information, contact the Lowe's Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit online.