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Automotive Restoration Program

To be the center of excellence for students serious about automotive restoration.

About the Program

Throughout our liberal arts approach students are encouraged to explore their ideas, to learn through doing and to make a difference in the world.

The Automotive Restoration Technology Program at McPherson College was established in 1976 through the generosity and foresight of local entrepreneur Gaines H. “Smokey” Billue. His gift of over 125 classic and antique cars provided initial funds for the program. Mr. Billue, the Templeton family and others contributed toward the construction of Templeton Hall, which continues to serve as the home to the world-renowned program.

In 1997 this unique automotive restoration program attracted the attention of classic car enthusiast Jay Leno who established the Fred S. Duesenberg Scholarship and the Jay Leno Popular Mechanics scholarship. Both scholarships continue to provide financial assistance to students interested in studying classic automotive restoration. His involvement raised awareness of the program in the car collector community.

Now, with industry connections spanning the country and internship opportunities in a broad range of automotive settings, McPherson College stands alone as the only school to provide a bachelor’s degree in Restoration Technology.

At the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance McPherson College entered a 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S completely restored by students. The decade long project resulted in a historic 2nd in class podium spot.

A bold vision.

Restoring a vehicle to compete to win at Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance was a bold undertaking, especially when the work is done by a group of apprentice restoration students. Yet that is exactly what the Automotive Restoration program set out to do with a 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet.

300 S

Learn more about the concours project vehicle that won 2nd in class at Pebble Beach in 2023.

MB300 S body

About the Program

Whether you’re a student, business owner or an individual with an interest in the car world, McPherson has a way for you to plug into our nationally recognized auto restoration program and benefit from the program’s events and initiatives.

Wheels of Changes webinar

  • "Wheels of Change"

    Webinar Series , with professor Ken Yohn

    “Wheels of Change: How the Car Automobile Shaped Our Lives” is a six-part series focused on the people, innovations, and the art that helped shape the automotive industry and features car-world insiders from around the country.


Phone: (620) 242-0486
Email: [email protected]