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Car Show at McPherson College Attracts About 250 Vehicles, Hundreds of Visitors

Microcars and modern jazz, pop-tops and pinstripes, historic racers and even a haircut – all a part of the 16th Annual C.A.R.S. Club Car Show on May 2.

About 250 cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors entered the student-run show on the campus of McPherson College, attracting hundreds of visitors and automotive enthusiasts.

Robert Bean of Great Bend, Kan., entered the show for the first time this year with what was probably the smallest car in the show – a 1954 Gebruder Ilhe Schottenring Microcar that doesn’t quite reach the knee.

With a single cylinder motor giving the tiny car a top speed of 25 miles per hour, only five of the microcars are known to remain, and Bean’s was the third manufactured. When Bean discovered the C.A.R.S. Club Car Show in an Internet search, he thought it would be a perfect venue for the Microcar.

“I like the setting,” he said. “It’s not like you’re sitting on Main Street somewhere.”

Evan Clary is a 2014 graduate from the college’s four-year automotive restoration bachelor’s degree program. He entered his daily driver in the show – which happens to be a 1967 Dodge A100 Sportsman with a Travco “pop-top” conversion to turn it into a RV/camping vehicle. With the pop-top up, it towered above any other car on the campus.

While Clary said the van was a good car but “nothing special.” As it won a top award for Student Choice, however, it still captured plenty of attention.

“Everybody loves the van,” Clary said. “I always get looks and comments when I drive it.”

Near the college’s iconic Heaston Gazebo, Jacob San Martin, a freshman from Perris, Calif., demonstrated his steady hand and artistic skill painting pinstripes on glass plates as well as a bright pink pedal car. San Martin said he’s been pinstriping since he was 12.

“I was just fascinated by the art,” he said. “Once the brush goes down, you’re in the zone.”

Nearby were the show’s featured cars, which were selected on a racing theme this year – including the 1991 Chevy Lumina winner of the Daytona 500, driven by Ernie Irvan; and a 1964 Shelby Cobra racer, owned by Tom Cotter – author of “The Cobra in the Barn” – who drove the Cobra to McPherson from North Carolina.

If the cars weren’t enough, many other special events were planned for the day. Hagerty Insurance gave kids the opportunity to race with “Valve Cover Cars” down a special racing ramp. Ed Barr, assistant professor of technology, demonstrated sheet metal shaping techniques just after lunch.

In the afternoon, the McPherson College jazz combo and the McPherson High School jazz band played several standards. Later, a team of restoration students assembled a functioning 1926 Ford Model T touring car from a pile of parts in just 9 minutes and 4 seconds in a competition against the clock that has become a tradition at the show.

Visitors to the show could also support the automotive restoration program by picking up lunch sold by the C.A.R.S. Club or getting a retro-style haircut or “mustache wax” right on the college campus from the Fox & Ash Barbershop in McPherson.

The day ended with students presenting the day’s awards, with top prizes going to a 1967 Corvette Stingray (People’s Choice) 1967 Dodge A100 Sportsman (Student Choice) and a 1951 MG T.D. Series (Best in Show).