Visitors to the McPherson Museum & Art Foundation will have an opportunity to see several unique cars this winter in a temporary exhibition open now through March. The museum is hosting Classic Cars of McPherson College, featuring the Pebble Beach award-winning 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet.
“The college has helped the museum coordinate a car exhibit over the winter for the past several years,” said Tyler Glidden, executive director of the museum. “Last year’s exhibit brought many out-of-town visitors to the museum, and we anticipate this exhibit will draw a large crowd to see the Mercedes.”
The exhibition’s centerpiece is the recently completed restoration of the Mercedes-Benz 300 S that was invited to participate at the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August. It received a remarkable second-in-class finish in the Post-War Luxury class. The restoration took seven years to complete and thousands of hours of research and work, all done by students in the Automotive Restoration program at the college.
The exhibit includes other cars from faculty and the college’s collection dating back to 1907. A rare 1910 Auburn Baby Tonneau, on loan to the museum from Chris Paulsen, professor in the automotive restoration program, is one of only four known to exist. The car’s restoration was completed by the Paulsen family in 2022. It was invited to compete at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2022, where it was the oldest car to complete the 70-mile Tour d’Elegance held before the Concours.
One of the earliest examples of the automobile, a 1907 Holsman, is also on display. The vehicle was originally purchased by the grandfather of a former college biology professor, Gilford Ikenberry, and has been in the family its entire lifetime. It was restored by McPherson College students in the auto restoration program. A 1929 Lincoln Model L “Town Car” from the college’s collection is another of the cars on display. This is one of 72 “Town Cars,” a body style characterized by an open driver’s compartment and sumptuously appointed rear enclosed passenger compartment.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our community and visitors from the surrounding area to see the Mercedes and appreciate what the automotive restoration program has accomplished with this car,” Glidden said. “We are grateful for the relationship we have with the college. Our student workers come from the college, its employees serve on our board, and the college has shared resources and helped with other exhibits. It’s an important partnership for us.”
The McPherson Museum is open from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and admission is free. It is located at 1111 East Kansas Ave.