Auto Restoration Summer InstituteLearn auto restoration skills in convenient workshops at the Automotive Restoration Institute. The same expert instructors and top-notch facility that have made McPherson College’s Auto Restoration Program famous are available to hobbyists and professionals.

Each workshop concentrates on a specific skill area and is 5 days in length. You learn restoration by doing restoration with hands-on experience.

Enrollment in each workshop is limited (classes are limited to 9 students per instructor) so all participants benefit from personal attention by our expert instructors with ample time on equipment. With this one-on-one approach, no matter what level of skill you have, you will increase your restoration expertise.

Workshops include valuable information on locating tools, materials, and parts. In many cases, you can bring parts from your current restoration project to work on.

June 5-9, 2017 session:

  • Automotive Machining – Mill and Lathe
  • Automotive Paint
  • Drivetrain Rebuilding: Manual
  • Engine Rebuilding FULL – Wait List requests only
  • Sheetmetal Restoration FULL – Wait List requests only
  • Small Parts Reproduction
  • Upholstery and Trim

June 12-16, 2017 session:

  • Automotive Electrical Systems
  • Automotive Paint
  • Automatic Transmission Rebuilding
  • Automotive Woodworking
  • Engine Tune-Up & Diagnostic FULL – Wait List requests only
  • Brightwork and Finishing Touches
  • Sheet Metal Restoration FULL – Wait List requests only
  • Upholstery and Trim FULL – Wait List requests only

June 19-23, 2017 session:

  • Advanced Paint
  • Advanced Sheetmetal: Shaping and Fabrication FULL – Wait List requests only
  • Advanced Upholstery and Trim
  • Engine Rebuilding FULL – Wait List requests only
  • Fine Woodworking

Register Online

Actual class dates and offering may change due to demand.

See class descriptions in next tab.

Classes offered for Summer 2017:

These classes are designed for hobbyist and beginners of all ages and interests. Everyone comes with different skill levels and knowledge so they will build from the basics. Classes will start with brief histories and fundamentals of the knowledge needed but the goal is to get students in to the labs as soon as possible and start doing.

  • Automatic Transmission Rebuilding: Luke Chennell
    Focusing on rebuilding of popular automatic transmissions. Theories and techniques pertaining to all automatic transmissions will be taught. Class demos will include GM Turbo-350s and Ford C-4 and C-6 transmissions.
  • Automotive Electrical Systems: Sam Babb
    Diagnostics and repair of starters, generators, alternators, turn signals, wipers, horns, and wiring. Hands on repair of these components. Also hands on soldering, crimping and meter usage. Necessary theory of current voltage and Ohm’s law to diagnosis and repair these components.
  • Automotive Machining – Mill and Lathe: Garrick Green
    This class will focus on two main topics of machining; using Bridgeport type mills and South Bend lathes. Learn percussion measuring to the.0001 of an inch and how to read technical drawings. Materials and tools will be provided.
  • Automotive Paint: Chris Clark
    The theory and practice necessary to successfully use and apply modern paint materials. Process from clean bare metal to a color sanded and polished product. Students will complete two test panels, one a solid single stage paint and the other a base clear. Students will be required to have a 3M 07163 respirator. May be purchased online or on campus.
  • Automotive Woodworking: Garrick Green
    Most 1930s and earlier car bodies are wooden framed and have rot issues. This class will focus on many facets of wooden frame construction and some coach building. Students will learn to tooling and joint making techniques necessary for repairing or replacing wood components in vehicles. Prior woodworking experience will be beneficial but not required.
  • Brightwork and Finishing Touches: Chris Paulsen
    This class will teach many of the skills needed to finish up or take a restored car to the next level. Learn to straighten and polish brass, nickel, aluminum and stainless trim. How to do your own copper, nickel and cad plating. Wood graining and pinstriping techniques will also be taught.
  • Drivetrain Rebuilding: Luke Chennell
    Students will learn theory of operation and restoration of manual transmissions and drive axels from different eras, including Model T, A, and vehicles through the 1970s. Techniques for setting up backlash and gear patterns will also be taught.
  • Engine Rebuilding: Curt Goodwin
    This Course will cover engine rebuilding including, disassembly, inspection, choosing correct machine shop operations and re-assembly. Initial run in procedures will also be covered.
  • Engine Tune-Up & Diagnostic
    Learn how to make your classic run the way it should. This class covers trouble shooting and repair of ignition, fuel systems along with internal component diagnostics. Includes points, coils and timing along with carburetor tuning.
  • Fine Woodworking: Garrick Green
    Learn the skills necessary to do fine and decorative wood work. Special attention will be given to glue-less joints such as dovetails and Mortise & Tendon. Students will use these skills to construct an ornamental jewelry box.
  • Sheetmetal Restoration: Ed Barr
    Includes – TIG, MIG and Oxy-acetylene welding. Patch panel fabrication by use of the English wheel, hammer & dolly work and shot bags. The application of lead body solder, dent repair and metal finishing will also be taught.
  • Small Parts Reproduction:
    Explore and practice the reproducing small and hard to find parts. Reproduction of parts made in solid and cast metal, plastic and rubber will be explored. Methods in casting different materials with different types of original and new patterns will be taught. A tutorial on plating will also be given. Please bring a few small parts to try and reproduce.
  • Upholstery and Trim
    Learn the fundamentals of automotive upholstery restoration and replacement. Participants will use industrial sewing machines to learn the basics of constructing inter components such as seat, door panels and carpet binding. In addition to lab time, time will also be spent in the classroom going over the history and processes of interior restoration.

Advanced classes:

All classes require that students have previously taken the introductory class. These classes are deigned to allow students more time in the lab and to build on already established skills.

  • Advanced Sheetmetal – Shaping and Fabrication: Ed Barr
    This class is for the serious hobbyist. Includes advanced metal shaping, copying shapes, advanced TIG welding skills, welding of multi-piece panels , beading louvering and buck building. Must have taken Sheetmetal Restoration from Ed Barr.
  • Advanced Paint: Chris Clark
    This class builds on fundamentals from the intro class. Learn techniques used to apply metallic and two tone paint schemes. This class is also about getting more time in the lab and gun time in the booth.
  • Advanced Upholstery and Trim: Mike Dudley
    This class is for students who want to spend their time exclusively in the trim lab building their skills. Instruction will catered to student requests and personal projects. It is encouraged that students bring their own trim projects for this week but is not required.


Dorms are situated across the parking lot from the restoration building. They will contain a twin bed, desk and closet. They do not have TVs or refrigerators in the rooms, but there is a common living area with a TV, kitchen and laundry facility. Bathrooms are communal, but do have individual stalls and showers. Women and couples will be in a wing of the dorms with women only restrooms. Participants will be assigned a single dorm room to themselves unless they request to share a room. Shared rooms are intended for spouses, family and friends. We ask if you are sharing a room to indicate who you will be sharing with so we can get you matched up.

Lunches are now included as part of the class tuition. A breakfast and dinner plan can be added for an additional $100. Individual meals may not be pay as you go any longer. The breakfast and dinner plan may be added at a later date, but the sooner you can let us know, the better the food service staff can plan. These changes are to help streamline the process and to keep meal prices as reasonable as possible.

Due to the popularity of some of the classes and number of people on wait lists we have instituted a cancelation policy. If you need to cancel please let Brian Martin know as soon as possible. Cancelations before April 24 will have a check issued for your payment minus a $35 administrative charge. Cancelations after April 24th 2017 will be charged a $250 fee.