America’s love of the automobile is alive and well, and was on full display this weekend at McPherson College as it hosted the 20th Annual C.A.R.S. Motoring Festival. Perhaps the best example of the enthusiasm and passion for the automobile was found in the college’s special guest for the event, Donald Osborne.
Osborne, a regular contributor on Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC and What’s My Car Worth for MotorTrend TV, is a historian, appraiser, consultant, and writer. He spoke on Friday night at the Evening with AR dinner about his varied career, which includes performing with the Metropolitan Opera, and his life-long love of cars.
“I have been hearing about McPherson College over the years and knew there was obviously something important going on,” Osborne said. “There is the deepest of enthusiasm and talent here. It’s a response to people looking to follow their dreams and live their passion. The college is giving students an opportunity to pursue their concept of success, which is really a byproduct of doing something you love really well.”
Nearly 400 cars filled the campus grounds on Saturday, May 4 for the student-run show. Feature cars were prominently displayed in the center of campus and included a 1914 Peugeot L45 Grand Prix, a 1946 Kurtis Novi Indy race car, a 1952 Ferrari 212 Vignale, and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda. Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of the automotive restoration program, announced that the original 1968 Bullitt Mustang would be featured at next year’s show.
Traditionally the show is host to a wide variety of rare and unique cars from works in progress, on display in the student section, to concours-quality vehicles like a 1955 Mercury Monteclair that was on the field this year. This year’s Best of Show went to a 1930s Franklin Pirate. Cars, motorcycles, scooters, and tractors from 16 states across the country were on display, according to show chair Nick Navarro, a junior in the Automotive Restoration program from Paramus, New Jersey.
“Our car show is one of the most colorful car shows that I have ever seen,” he said. “There are cars here that I will probably never see again in my life because they are so rare.”
Osborne, who is also a classically trained opera singer, kicked off this year’s show by performing the National Anthem. Other performances included the college and the high school jazz bands, and a demonstration by the college’s Model T build team that tied its build record by clocking in at just over six minutes.
“This is one of my favorite kinds of shows,” Osborne said. “You can see everything from European sports cars, hot rods, custom built cars, brass era cars to contemporary. It represents what McPherson College is all about -it’s inclusive, broad-ranging and passionate. You get to see how people love cars and live for cars at a show like this. Especially in the student section where it’s all about sharing their car with friends and with the greater community.”