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AR Alumni Newsletter – April 2018

An Evening With AR – featuring Craig Jackson

Jackson1Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, will be the special guest at an “Evening with Auto Restoration” on Friday, May 4 at 6 p.m. in Mingenback Theatre at McPherson College. Each year the Automotive Restoration program of McPherson College brings to campus industry leaders for an evening that raises support for student scholarships.

Born and raised in the automotive world, Jackson’s passion and devotion to the automobile market was instilled in him by his older brother Brian and father Russ, who with Tom Barrett, founded the company in 1971. Taking over the reins after the untimely death of his brother, Jackson has grown the company’s events and brand into one of the most recognized names in the collector car industry.

An Evening with Auto Restoration will feature a dinner and presentation by Jackson. The event also kicks-off the annual car show weekend at McPherson College. A Cruise-in on Main in downtown McPherson will take place Friday evening after the event and on Saturday the 19th Annual C.A.R.S. Club Car & Motorcycle Show will begin at 8 a.m. on the college campus.




Dennis Gage on campus for Car Show

The 19th Annual C.A.R.S. Club Car & Motorcycle Show at McPherson College will take place Saturday, May 5 starting at 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The student-run car show annually attracts rare automobiles from across the country. Last year, more than 300 cars entered the show. This year’s event will also feature special guest, Dennis Gage from “My Classic Car.”

Gage, host of “My Classic Car,” will be on campus during the car show shooting an episode for his show. “My Classic Car,” first appeared on TNN in 1998 and hasn’t been off the air since. In production of its 23rd season, the show is seen by more than 100 million households on several cable networks.

This annual event is created and run entirely by the students of the McPherson College C.A.R.S. Club, which is the student-led organization of the Automotive Restoration program open to all students interested in antique and collector cars. Events begin Friday evening with a Cruise-in on Main in downtown McPherson beginning at 6 p.m. There is no registration required for this event and all car enthusiasts are invited to participate. On Saturday, the car show will feature the Model T build team, shop tours, and awards ceremony at the end of the day.

Among the many cars on display and activities throughout the day, the event also showcases feature cars that represent unique and rare vehicles.

One of the featured cars at this year’s show will be the Shelby Cobra CSX2409. The history of this car is impressive, it is known as the lowest mileage Cobra in existence. It was built to USRRC specifications by Shelby American primarily for SCCA racing. It’s original paint scheme, orange with yellow strips, remains intact and is the only factory-built orange Cobra. The Cobra Experience, a non-profit museum committed to the promotion, conservation, education, and preservation of the cars produced by Shelby America, is bringing the car to campus. The museum, located in Martinez, California showcases original Cobras, Shelby Mustangs, a Daytona Coupe, a GT40, King Cobra, Sunbeam Tigers and a Lotus.

For those interested in showing a car or motorcycle, pre-registration is open until April 15 and registration deadline for judging is April 30. Details about entering a vehicle for the show can be found at Admission to the show is free.

Mercedes-Benz Update

Benz leather

The McPherson College Automotive Restoration program recently received a donation that enables it to take another important step forward toward its goal to compete to win at Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance with a car restored in its program.

The donation consists of nine leather hides that will be used for the interior of the 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S. The hides were provided by the Dallas company, Aeristo, the leading supplier of high-end leathers for companies around the world. It specializes in sourcing leather that is produced as it was years ago for restoration projects. Aeristo works with the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, which serves as an advisor on this project and introduced the company to the college.

“Industry leaders like Aeristo recognize the need to support a new generation of craftsmen,” said Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of Automotive Restoration. “Our project could not progress without generous donations like this and we are honored to count them among our partners in this effort.”

Students are currently building a rack system to store the hides and will begin a portion of the interior during the fall semester. The interior work will take place throughout the entire restoration process with much of the work done ahead, but then finishing up after the car is reassembled and painted.

“We were able to work with experts at Paul Russell Restoration to find the original sample books for the interior and then with the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center to source the correct leather,” said Michael Dudley, assistant professor of technology. “Working with this quality of leather and as close to original as you can get is a special experience for our students.”

Aeristo founder and CEO Christian Schmidt is excited about being part of the restoration project. “In our industry, we feel there is a void in the market for talented restorers. Handcrafted leather skills are becoming a lost art and we want to support any organization or school that is helping to teach these skills to the next generation. It is tremendously important for our industry.”

Referred to as its “Moon Shot” project, the Mercedes-Benz Pebble Beach project car was acquired in 2016 and since then student teams have been at work on it. When completed, the restoration will highlight both the technical and liberal arts components of the program’s degree. Not only will students work on every aspect of the car in the shop like metal work, paint, chassis, drive train, engine, wood, and trim, but they will also gain valuable experience in historical research, assessment and documentation, project management, communication and presentation skills, and professionalism and accountability.

AR group gathers at Amelia Island Concours

McPherson-at-AmeliaIsland2018(1)Stroll the field of most any major concours and you are bound to run into a McPherson College AR alumni. That was certainly the case at the recent Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance on March 10. This group of current students, alumni, AR staff and members of the National Advisory Board gathered around a 1923 Detroit Electric restored at Coastal Classics, owned by Ryan ’04 and Saraphin ’05 Mahoney.






Alumni giving back

As students, Kyle Smith ’13, Jake O’Gorman ’16, and Matt Goist ’17 were involved in a number of campus activities – student government, campus clubs, and athletics. So it’s not surprising they have continued their involvement after graduating by giving back to McPherson College.

“When we were students, we all benefitted from gifts that others gave to the program – whether it was supporting scholarships, student experiences, or tools and equipment for the shop,” Smith said.

The Red Wrench Club, used solely to purchase tools and equipment, is what Goist chooses to support. “I like that my gift gives students access to what they need to develop their skills and expand what they know.”

From engine rebuilding to trim, from chassis to metal shaping, each student is impacted by the gifts made to the Red Wrench Club. “With 150 students moving in and out of the labs, those tools get a lot of use,” O’Gorman said.

After graduating, these three AR alumni went on to careers in various aspects of the automotive industry. Smith works at Hagerty, O’Gorman is car specialist for RM Auctions, and Goist works with a private collection.

The Red Wrench Club was originally launched by a group of alumni and encourages giving to provide a variety of tools and equipment for the AR shops.

Shed Finds

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Alumni Update

KacySmithNAME: Kacy Smith


RESIDENCE: Traverse City, Michigan

WORK: Kacy has worked for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance for eight years.

LATEST PROJECT: She was recently awarded the 2018 Hagerty Good and Visible Citizen award.