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AR Alumni Newsletter – June 2019

Morgan Joins Staff

Abigayle Morgan ’19, an auto restoration major and communications minor, has been hired as the coordinator of automotive restoration events. Some of her responsibilities include organizing and hosting numerous campus and off-campus events and activities. In this role she will partner to work on promotion and communications for the program, and some fundraising, especially related to the Denise McCluggage Scholarship for women. As a student, Abigayle interned at LeMay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma and at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She was an active member of the C.A.R.S. Club and managed show registration.


Car Show Recap

America’s love of the automobile is alive and well, and was on full display at McPherson College when it hosted the 20th Annual C.A.R.S. Motoring Festival on May 4. Read the full story here.
Here’s what others had to say about this year’s car show: AutoWeek and Hemmings Daily.

What Are Alumni Saying?

AR alumni are using podcasts to share their passion about cars with the world. John Viviani ’00 and Will Posey ’00 host No Driving Gloves, and Brett Hatfield ’05 hosts The Driven. Both shows recently featured the annual car show at McPherson College. Check out what they had to say:

College, Cars, and Castles

McPherson College faculty, students, and alumni will travel to The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and Switzerland exploring castles and car collections in January 2020. Although this travel opportunity is already full, watch for another European tour already in the the planning stages for 2022.

MotorWeek TV features AR Progam

McPherson College was featured recently in a segment on MotorWeek TV. MotorWeek airs on most PBS stations across the country and on the Velocity channel.

Share Your News with Us

We are always glad to hear from AR alumni, whether you need to update contact information or share interesting news about yourself or a classmate. Follow this link to share your information through our web-form.
We look forward to staying in touch!

AR Alumni Newsletter – April 2019

Don’t Miss 20th Annual CARS Motoring Festival

This student-run event gets better and better each year. You won’t want to miss all that is in store for this year’s show on May 3-4. It begins on Friday when Donald Osborne will be the guest speaker at An Evening with AR. A cruise-in Friday night, appearance by the Barn Find Hunter Saturday at the car show, along with hundreds of great cars (like this 1952 Ferrari), will round out the weekend. Watch the MC website for details or check out some of the student videos at #ProjectSheds to see behind the scenes preparations for this years C.A.R.S. Club Motoring Festival.


AR Professors Earn Promotions

Congratulations to McPherson College Auto Restoration faculty on their recent promotions. Garrick Green was promoted to professor of technology and Luke Chennell was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor of technology.

Inaugural Scholarship Announced at Amelia Island

A new scholarship honoring Denise McCluggage was announced at Amelia Island. The launch of the scholarship was the senior project for Abigayle Morgan and Emma Critiz (pictured here) was its first recipient. Learn how you can support the new scholarship and read more about it in AutoWeek!



Student Experiences…

HVA Convention – McPherson College students presented at the recent automotive history convention in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Matthew Tyler Delano Miller-Wells presented “Going for Gold: The History of Automobiles and Video Games” and Philip Reinhardt (pictured here) presented “A New Sort of Service Manual: Creating a Bugatti Type 57 User Manual.” In addition, Professor Luke Chennell presented “The Gospel of Grease: Service Manuals and Automotive Knowledge.” You can read more about the conference in Hemmings Daily.



Copperstate 1000 – Jacob Scruggs, Daniel Journey and Tyler Perkins served as apprentice mechanics on the recent Copperstate 1000 Road Rally, March 30-April 3. Pictured here, the students work on replacing the head gasket on a 1951 Stanguellini 1100S.




Share Your News with Us

We are always glad to hear from AR alumni, whether you need to update contact information or share interesting news about yourself or a classmate. Follow this link to share your information through our web-form.
We look forward to staying in touch!

AR Alumni Newsletter-Feb. 2019

Barn Find Hunter partners with MC

Alumni Austin Hiebert ’17 and Dalton Whitfield ’18 recently spent a week in Midland, Texas working with Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter rebuilding a 1962 Ford Country Sedan. The goal is to take it from junk yard to show field when Cotter drives it from Texas to McPherson for this year’s C.A.R.S. car show in May. Cotter serves on the National Advisory Board for the AR program. The project was a collaborative effort with support from Hagerty and the West Texas Cruisers. You can learn more about the Barn Finds story on the AR Facebook page: @MCautorestoration or check out this video from Hagerty.



Students publish Bugatti Manual

A manual researched and written by Professor Luke Chennell and students Carlos Espinel ’18 and Phillip Reinhart, senior, highlighting the Bugatti Type 57, 57S, and 57SC was published in January. The project, funded by the Bugatti Club of America, gave students the opportunity to interview Bugatti experts and work with alumni Ryan Noble ’08 and Ross Barton ’06 to prepare the manual. It provides basic information, diagnostics, and helps owners prepare for rally events. Current students Nick Chapetta, junior, and Reinhart were selected to help write a second manual that will focus on the Type 35 Grand Prix.



Dates set for internship, career fair

Do you remember making a great contact for a future job or internship at the annual AR career fair? Now is your chance to offer those kind of opportunities to current students. The 2019 Internship & Career Fair will be held at McPherson College on February 20-21. This annual event allows industry partners and employers a chance to tour the workshop facilities, interact directly with restoration faculty and students, and interview candidates for summer internships or employment upon graduation. Please RSVP to [email protected] if you are interested in attending.



New Scholarship attracts women to program

A scholarship honoring the legacy of Ellen “Nellie” Jackson encourages young women to pursue careers in the automotive world. Jackson was the matriarch of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company and a trailblazer in the collector car hobby. Born in Pontiac, Michigan, one of her first jobs was in the accounting department at Fisher Body, a division of General Motors. She and her husband, Russ, began collecting cars in the 1950s and by the end of the 1960s they had a collection of more than 30 vehicles and were active in local and national car clubs. At that time, Nellie was named the first female regional director of the Classic Car Club of America. Nellie and Russ started the Barrett-Jackson Auction with Tom Barrett in 1971. She held active roles in auction operations up until her death in 2010 at 90 years old. Throughout her life, Nellie Jackson combined an astute business sense, an open and caring personality, strong personal relationships and an appreciation for collector cars and the hobby to create and ever-growing universe of family, friends, colleagues and associates.

Mark Your Calendar

An Evening with AR, May 3, 2019, featuring Donald Osborne, will kick off a weekend highlighting the AR program at McPherson College. Osborne, in his signature bow tie, is a regular contributor on Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC, and lends his considerable knowledge to organizations such as HVA and RM Sotheby’s. The 20th Annual CARS Club Car & Motorcycle Show is set for Saturday, May 4, 2019. The event will begin on Friday night with a Cruise-In at 6 p.m. on Main Street in McPherson. On Saturday, the car and motorcycle show will get underway at 8 a.m. on McPherson College campus. More details about An Evening with AR and registration for the car and motorcycle show will be on the McPherson College website in March.

AR Alumni Newsletter-December 2018

Consider a Gift to Red Wrench

The Red Wrench Club is an annual giving effort originally launched by a group of alumni to help provide a variety of tools and equipment for the AR shops – from engine rebuilding to trim, from chassis to metal shaping. A gift to the Red Wrench Club is the best way to put necessary tools in the hands of students and help them develop the skills they need to be successful in their future careers. Take a look at this year’s wish list and consider making a year-end gift to the Red Wrench Club.

>Read More &  Make a Gift

Mark Your Calendar:

The 20th Annual CARS Club Car & Motorcycle Show is set for Saturday, May 4, 2019. The event will begin on Friday night with a Cruise-In at 6 p.m. on Main Street in McPherson. On Saturday, the car and motorcycle show will get underway at 8 a.m. on McPherson College campus. An Evening with AR featuring Donald Osborne,  will also take place on Friday night. Osborne, in his signature bowtie, is a regular contributor on Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC, and lends his considerable knowledge to organizations such as HVA and RM Sotheby’s. More details about his appearance and registration for the car and motorcycle show will be on the McPherson College website in March.

Mercedes Update:

In November, Bob Lapane from Paul Russell Company spent time in the lab helping students assemble the rear differential and axle for the college’s 300 S Mercedes-Benz.



Students Wyatt Micelli, Gray Irwin, and Yunce Liang also worked on assembling wheel cylinders for the brake system.




Sheds projects makes cover

Congratulations to Austin Grabowski for making the cover of Hot Rod Deluxe magazine. Austin was featured in the last AR Alumni newsletter. If you missed reading about his car, check out the link to the Hot Rod article. This car was built in the Mustang Sheds across from campus while Austin was a student at McPherson College.


Alumni Update:

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NAME: Stacy Puckett Taylor
RESIDENCE: Detroit, Michigan
WORK: I am the manager at Smith Shop. We produce functional and ornamental metalwork from fine goldsmithing to architectural iron work handmade in Detroit: I also maintain a consulting and research business for automotive restoration projects.
Latest Project: My husband and I are in the process of rehabbing a 25,000 sq. ft. old industrial building in Detroit to be our home and shop. We have also been restoring a two-family house that we live in now. Our car projects are numerous and include a 1962 Austin Healey, a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado mild custom and a 1962 Mark II Jaguar that is destined to be a vintage racer. I have a 1964 Ford F100 that we use as our good weather work truck. There are a few more, but…
If you could test drive any car, what would it be: 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
The vehicle you miss the most: My 1965 Ford Fairlane. Her name was Pearl.
The next vehicle you’ll  add to your collection: A nice everyday driver would be an Audi RS7 and for a classic, I am dying for a funky little Fiat 500.


AR Alumni Newsletter – October 2018

Save the Date: May 3, 2019

Donald Osborne, historian, appraiser, consultant, and writer, will share his expertise at “An Evening with AR” on May 3, 2019 at Mingenback Theatre. Osborne, in his signature bowtie, is a regular contributor on Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC, and lends his considerable knowledge to organizations such as HVA and RM Sotheby’s. More details about his appearance will be on the McPherson College website in March.


Meet New NAB Members

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Casey Maxon ’13, Heritage Specialist, Historic Vehicle Association: “I am thrilled to serve on the National Advisory Board, lending my support to students that will be the next stewards of our automotive heritage and to the faculty and institution that is vital to making it happen.”

Ross Barton ’06Manager, Calkins Collection (where he maintains and manages their collection of Vintage Sport and historic Indy racing cars): “The reason I choose to serve on the advisory board is to give back to a program that has given me so much. Much of the success in my career I owe to McPherson College.”

Dave Kinney, Owner of USAppraisal :”For me, choosing to serve on the advisory board is a combination of passions. Most obviously is the love of the automobile, but also the motor vehicle’s  role in society and the various twists and turns in its history.”

Mercedes Update

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Engine – Students recently met on a Friday night to begin work on the Mercedes-Benz 300 S engine. The engine, which is original to the vehicle, was disassembled and parts were bagged and properly identified. After a complete list is created, parts will be sourced to rebuild the engine.

Trim – The leather for the Mercedes-Benz 300 S project has officially been cut! Students continue to do small practice examples before beginning construction of the final back seat cover. The nine leather hides for the project were donated by the Dallas company, Aeristo, a leading supplier of high-end leathers for companies around the world.

New To Us

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AR recently received two interesting donations that will be added to the rotation of projects student have an opportunity to work on. AR continues to manage its inventory by accepting automobiles that provide students a diverse array for learning opportunities. Recent donations include a 1956 Continental Mark II, all original, one owner, and a 1972 Formula Ford, Royal chassis.

Program News:

Ferrari Club of America Partnership – In November, we will make a joint announcement with Ferrari Club of America about a partnership to support scholarships, internship opportunities, tooling, and student experience for automotive restoration students. The FCA sponsored four students to attend its annual meet in Corning, New York in September. Students attended judging meetings and served as apprentice judges for the Concours and got to visit the Watkins-Glen racetrack.
American Bugatti Club Project – Professor Luke Chennell, along with students Philip Reinhardt and Carlos Espinel, created a Bugatti Rally Manual for the American Bugatti Club. This was an extensive research and writing project. Professor Chennell and the students were invited to attend the annual meeting this March in Californa where they presented their work to club members. Student Nick Chapetta was selected to join the team in May when Espinel graduate. Chapetta, Reinhardt and Professor Chennell were recently guests at the Lime Rock race track in Connecticut where they worked on cars in the pits and familiarized themselves with the Grand Prix Bugattis for the next manual project.

Alumni Update:

NAME: Austin Grabowski
RESIDENCE: California
WORK: Grabowski Speed Shop
Austin’s work was recently featured online in Hot Rod Deluxe. The article highlights the Olds Rocket Powered 1932 Ford Roadster that he worked on as a student. It’s a great article with fantastic photos of his Roadster.

Share Your News

We are always glad to hear from AR alumni, whether you need to update contact information or share interesting news about yourself or a classmate. Follow this link to share your information through our web-form.
We look forward to staying in touch!

AR Alumni Newsletter – August 2018

Automobile Magazine features AR program

The AR program has received many great reviews on a recent article, titled “Cradle of the Restoration Craft,” that appeared in Automobile Magazine. The article appears in the August edition of the magazine in news stands now as well as online. The article does a great job at telling the AR story to a wide audience. Read the full article.

Atlanta Concours joins line-up of MC events

Staff and students will participate in Atlanta Concours d’Elegance on September 29-30. The Atlanta Concours joins other events like the Amelia Island Concours and Pebble Beach Concours and others in which students take part as apprentice judges and get the opportunity to network with alumni and other industry leaders. Read more about the Atlanta Concours.

Where You Can See Us…

Participating in industry events across the country is just one of the ways McPherson College offers unique experiences for students. Seeing MC alumni at these events is not only a highlight for students and staff, but also an inspiration for the students. We look forward to seeing you in the coming year.
Auto Restoration Calendar
  • August 22-26 – Pebble Beach Week
  • September 7-8 – Des Moines Concours
  • September 15-17 – Ferrari Club of North America at Watkins-Glen
  • September 28-30 – Atlanta Concours
  • January 13-21 – Scottsdale Auctions
  • March 8-10 – Amelia Island Concours
  • May 1-4 – Auto Restoration Week
  • May 3 – Evening with AR
  • May 4 – CARS Club Show

MC student internships provide industry exposure

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AR alumni know how important internship experience can be as a student. Internships offer exposure to the restoration industry and often times lead to job after graduation. This summer McPherson College AR students are putting their education to work in internships across the country and the globe!

Graham Eidemiller, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Auburn, Indiana – Graham was responsible for condition reports on vehicles, maintaining and servicing the museum’s running vehicles, updating car history and technical specs for display, and helping sort and identify archived photos. Highlights of his internship included getting a Tucker 48 running for a concours event and getting a 1937 Cord 812 ready for the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival parade.

Abigayle Morgan, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Carmel, California – Abigayle served as participant relations intern, interacting with the entrants and judges of the show. She also aided with mailings, data entry, and public inquiries. Abigayle is a senior majoring in restoration technology and minoring in communications.

Curren Harris, Gentry Motorcars, Manchester, Maryland – While interning Curren worked on a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette. He helped install the engine and transmission, and put the body back on the frame, and fully wired the car. Gentry Motorcars is owned by McPherson College alumus Blair Darsch ’14.

Geoffrey Smith & Sam Arant, RM Sotheby’s, Auburn, Indiana – Geoffrey and Sam worked on all of the auction vehicles at the park and photographed cars for documentation. They enjoyed the internship and gained experience in a large variety of cars and the skills it takes to work on them.

MC in the News…

McPherson College has been featured in the news recently for its high job placement rates and for being named, for the fourth year in a row, to the “Great Colleges to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Read the full articles at the links below.

Alumni Update…

NAME: Rick Morchesky
RESIDENCE: California
WORK: I work as a metalshaper/fabricator at Walden Speed Shop
LATEST PROJECT: I’ve spent the last two years customizing a 1934 Ford 5-Window Coupe at Walden Speed Shop. It is by far the most in-depth project I’ve ever been a part of, but I enjoy the challenge it presents.
THE VEHICLE I MISS THE MOST: My first car, a 1993 Pontiac Bonneville, that was in such bad shape I carried a staple gun in the car to keep what was left of the headliner up.
THE NEXT VEHICLE I WANT TO ADD TO MY COLLECTION: I’d really like to build myself a nice little Ford Model A roadster.
(Editor’s Note: To see more of Rick’s work, check him out on Instagram.)

AR Alumni Newsletter – June 2018

My Classic Car features McPherson College

Nearly 100 people attended a Cars & Coffee Viewing Party on June 9th to celebrate the premiere of the newest episode of “My Classic Car,” hosted by Dennis Gage that features the 2018 C.A.R.S. Club Car and Motorcycle Show.

The episode was shot on May 4-5 during the cruise-in and car show. The 2018 car show was the biggest in the 19-year history of the event attracting more than 400 cars and motorcycles from across the country.

The My Classic Car episode featuring McPherson College premiered on the Velocity network and then will air on the NBC Sports Network on June 26 at 4:30 p.m. ET. It will also be carried on MAVTV and Rev’n networks.

Watch the full episode.

Automobile Magazine publishes student article

MC Student Charles HoehaverAn article and photographs by a McPherson College student were recently featured by a national publication in its online magazine. Automobile Magazine, part of the MotorTrend publication group, published the work of Charles Hoehaver, a current student at the college.

During a visit to campus by one of the magazine’s contributing editors, Hoehaver was asked to cover the annual student-organized car show. The result was the article titled, “Nine Cool Cars from the 2018 McPherson College CARS Club Motoring Festival,”along with several photographs. Hoehaver of Auburn, Alabama, is majoring in automotive communications.

“Opening doors to high profile learning experiences outside of the classroom is an opportunity for many McPherson College students,” President Michael Schneider said. “And, many of these experiences result in employment opportunities when these students graduate.”

Among the 2018 McPherson College graduates, 88 percent who were employed, had jobs in their major prior to commencement and 64 percent reported having a job or graduate school plans prior to commencement, compared to a national average of 21 percent.

Great car stories lead students to Summer Institute

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For many of the participants in the Summer Institute program the road that leads them to McPherson College begins with a great car story.

The Automotive Restoration program at McPherson College has hosted the Summer Institute for more than a decade. It offers five-day long workshops scheduled over three weeks where car hobbyists and professionals can concentrate on a specific skill area and gain hands-on learning from the program’s faculty.

It has been 16 years since Kevin Throneberry from New Mexico first came to the Summer Institute to take a paint class with his father-in-law who was a mechanic. Back then, the two were interested in learning new paint techniques. His father-in-law passed away late last year, leaving him and his family an extensive car collection to maintain. Throneberry decided it was time to return to the Summer Institute and brought his 15-year-old daughter, Jade, with him.

>Continue Reading

Shed Finds…

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Alumni Update…

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NAME: Jason Raiffe
RESIDENCE: Northern New Jersey
WORK: As I left school, I knew I wanted to do automotive upholstery. I jumped around a few shops until I landed myself at a place called Automotive Restorations. I have been a part of the team there for two years now. It is a high stress, high reward environment. We send two to three cars consistently to Pebble Beach every year. As well as cars to Amelia Island, Scottsdale, Hershey, and others. For the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours, we sent a 1929 Mercedes Barker S Tourer that won best in show. It was a very exciting time.

LATEST PROJECT: The shop has about 15 full-time employees and another five part-time employees. Every one of us is a character, but each of us is either the best in our field or striving to be the best we can be. I have completed a number of really interesting jobs over the past two years including a full broadcloth interior in a 1937 Packard v12, a 1937 Cadillac v16 limousine, and a 1932 Auburn boat tail speedster. I have recently completed tops on a 1929 Packard sports model, a 1910 locomobile, and a 1929 Bentley 4.5 litre vanden plas body.

GOAL: I hope to one day be the world’s leading authority in historically accurate, pre-war automotive upholstery restorations including the finest craftsmanship and quality work.

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.


AR Alumni Newsletter – Feb 2018

An Evening With AR

CJ-18AZ-Covers-7161Each year in May, AR brings industry leaders to campus for An Evening with Auto Restoration. This year’s event on May 4 will feature Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson. Bringing speakers to campus is one way AR introduces industry leaders to the unique program and students at McPherson College. It’s also an opportunity for our alumni to make industry connections and hear from a wide variety of presenters. Watch the McPherson College Auto Restoration Facebook page for more details about this event as they become available.

Born and raised into 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 in 1995 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. Jackson has also been inspired by his mother’s commitment to philanthropy and uses the Barrett-Jackson auction block as a platform to raise much-needed awareness and funds for charitable organizations.  Watch for more details about An Evening with AR click HERE.

C.A.R.S. Club Car & Motorcycle Show

_EMK1536It’s just around the corner – the 19th Annual C.A.R.S. Club Car & Motorcycle Show. C.A.R.S. Club members have been busy making plans for this year’s big show and online registrations are open. The yearly show keeps getting bigger and bigger attracting a wide variety of vehicles from across the country. All of the familiar activities are included this year like the Swap Meet in April, the Cruise-In Friday night, and the Model A Build Team demonstration the day of the show. However, what makes this year’s event unique is that it will be featured in a future episode of My Classic Car and the show’s host, Dennis Gage, will be on site all day Saturday. Make plans to enter your vehicle or attend.

2018 Events

Saturday, April 21, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
McPherson College Campus
Register Online – deadline April 7

Friday, May 4, 6 p.m.
Main Street, McPherson, Kansas
No registration necessary

(Special Appearance by Dennis Gage from My Classic Car)
Saturday, May 5, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
McPherson College Campus
Register Online – pre-registration discount deadline: April 15 | judged vehicle registration deadline: April 30

Summer Institute

Engines (18) 2Do you know a young person with an interest in auto restoration? The AR Summer Institute is a great way for a prospective students and others to engage with the AR program, faculty, and experience life as a McPherson College student. Spots are still available for courses offered in June. A complete schedule, course description and registration can be found online.

Session dates for this years Summer Institute are June 4-8, June 11-15, and June 18-22. For more information about class schedule, course descriptions, dorm room and meal plan information and cancellation policy click HERE.



Shed Finds

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The next video project for Shed Finds features Arkansas senior, Sam L. Harris IV. Harris’ love of automobiles was solidified when he purchased his 1986 Toyota Land Cruiser. He is currently working on a custom 1969 Ford F-100 quad cab long bed with a Powerstroke diesel engine. He is part of the Model T build team and is known around campus for his vast collection of stickers on his Land Cruiser. Check out the trailer for his video and watch for the full-length feature coming out on February 26 on YouTube at McPherson College Shed Finds. (Editor’s Note: Shed Finds is a student-driven video series that features the unique projects at the Sheds.)

Alumni Update…

Alumni Pic.NAME: Aaron Milam
RESIDENCE: Austin, Texas area
WORK: In 2014, I opened an automotive restoration shop in the Austin area called Aaron’s Paint and Upholstery. It started by working on side projects after my full time job at another restoration shop. Word of mouth got around quick and I realized I had enough work to go out on my own. We do everything required for frame off restorations except machine work. The majority of our work consists of body and paint on older vehicles. However, we usually have one or two frame off restorations that include mechanical as well.
LATEST PROJECT: Currently in the shop we have a 1957 BelAir, 1970 Mustang, 1968 Chevelle, 1966 Mustang, 1958 GMC truck, 1948 Chevy truck, and paint work for a 1950’s Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle.
Just for fun…
THE VEHICLE I’LL NEVER FORGET: One of the first overall paint jobs I did at my own shop was on a 1970 Chevelle. I thought it was really cool that the owner gave me the opportunity to paint his car. When I was trying to get my own business started, it was hard to advertise and I was in need of people willing to give me a chance. Once you get a few quality jobs finished, word of mouth takes over.
THE NEXT CAR: A 1958 Chevy Impala.


AR Alumni Newsletter – Dec 2017

Gullwing project offers unique experience

Kortebein 6Alums know how important partnerships with restoration professionals across the country are for AR students. Internships provide a wide range of valuable career-focused experiences during their time at McPherson College. Experiences like the one Tim Kortebein, a senior from St. Joseph, Missouri, received this past summer at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California provide unique learning opportunities for MC students.

Kortebein worked as an intern at the Classic Center where he was hired to restore the interior of a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL (Gullwing). The Gullwing’s interior had been redone in the 1980s; it was well-used and not authentic. Kortebein disassembled everything from door panels, sun visors, carpet, seats, and the leather wrapped dashboard to recreate the original patterns and began the restoration.

Kortebein’s craftsmanship was so impressive that the Classic Center was interested in him finishing the project after his internship ended and he returned to campus. This fall, the Classic Center shipped the seats to McPherson College where he is now in the process of finishing them. The seats will be sent back and reassembled for final presentation at a car show in August.

“I was given autonomy to manage the project and worked independently,” Kortebein said. “I learned a lot about time management and organization to see a project through to completion.”

This wasn’t the first unique experience for the AR student. Kortebein also worked as a shadow mechanic for the Copperstate 1000 in the spring of 2016.

Partnerships with professionals in industry allow the AR program to offer exceptional learning experiences that can only be found at McPherson College. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center not only offers high quality internship opportunities, but also employs five AR graduates including Clint Allen ‘08, Nick Antonio ‘07, Wes Anderson ‘15, Ethan Lundy ‘14, and Nate Lander ‘02, project workshop manager. Additionally, Mike Kunz, Classic Center manager, serves on the program’s national advisory board.

Alumni are one of the greatest resources for the program; if you have suggestions for internships or other industry opportunities, please contact Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of automotive restoration, [email protected].

Student reflects on fall trip


Editor’s Note: Each year at fall break, the Automotive Restoration program plans a short collections tour for students who remain on campus during the extended weekend. This year’s tour went to Oklahoma where students had the opportunity to see a variety of early automobiles and speak with owners about the collections. Xander Lehn, a sophomore from Cameron Park, California, reflects on his experiences during the trip.
A mentor once told me, “Take every opportunity presented to you or someone else will.” When the fall break trip was announced, I made sure I didn’t waste the chance to experience the once-in-a-lifetime collections we would visit in Oklahoma. We were welcomed into four separate collections, each with its own workshop. Seeing the different collections showed us how car collectors and shops can have different goals for the work they do and how they plan to use their vehicles.

The first stop was John Groendyke’s garage that is heavily stocked with classic cars from the 1930’s packing V16 engines. He made sure we didn’t overlook his European race cars that are still driven and raced today.

At the second collection, owned by Jim Bradley, we learned how he spent years taking cars to concours events and shows, but now was changing his goals to use his cars more regularly. When we visited, he was in the midst of impeccably restoring a 1913 Packard.

The next day we checked out Ted Davis’ compound. I felt at home around his array of air-cooled Franklin cars after driving air-cooled Volkswagens for the last seven years. Mr. Davis has multiple businesses, including a machine shop he occasionally used for his own research and development.

The last collection we visited was Don Boulton’s private collection. He and his vehicles made a big impression on me. Every vehicle he owned was from before 1915. At 92 years old, he seemed as passionate about each one as he ever could be. Mr. Boulton enthusiastically threw open the hood on any vehicle we asked about because he wanted us to see the mechanical variety during that time period.

When he sat down after our tour of his place, I asked him how he got started in cars and restoration. Mr. Boulton told me of his family business repairing car parts during World War II and how it thrived because new parts were scarce due to wartime manufacturing efforts. His family’s success and his own role within that business gave him the ability to restore and preserve fantastic pieces of history. He spoke of how he worked with a small handful of technicians over the years who built things he needed from scratch and who always made the cars come out top notch. His collection ranged from quick, the Mercer Raceabout, to early electric automobiles and even vintage motorcycles. Mr. Boulton’s enthusiasm for sharing his cars and taking a moment to pass on his experiences to me was the icing on the cake for that great trip.

Private shops, like the ones we visited, strike me as a divine intersection between people who can back a project and restorers who can bring the project to life. I think seeing the different ways shops run and operate is important preparation for a career in restoration. I would do the trip again if I could, and I know I’ll continue to take advantage of the opportunities offered through the AR program, because you never know what’s in store.

300S UpdateBarnes

The Mercedes-Benz 300S Pebble Beach Concours Project has always been about more than getting a car on the field at Pebble Beach. As student teams begin the process of restoring the 300S, valuable learning opportunities are taking place. In October, Richard Barnes from Paul Russell and Company spent several days on campus working with students. According to Professor Michael Dudley, Barnes is one of the best trimmers in the world.

“His work, along with Derrick Dunbar, the other trimmer at Paul’s shop, on the 1928 Mercedes Benz 280S that won Best of Show at Pebble in 2012 is stunning,” Professor Dudley said.

While on campus, Barnes spent time with students in the trim lab doing demonstrations and explaining techniques that will help students restore the top of the 300S.

Mercedes-Benz 300S Project Highlights:

  • This summer an enthusiastic group of summer student workers disassembled, stripped and primed the 300S. The students also constructed an engine run-stand for class demonstrations.
  • The fall semester student team is doing tedious, but important, work such as cleaning and inspecting parts; further break downs of the sub-assemblies; and taking inventory of parts to identify what is missing or needs to be replaced.
  • Students are also taking on a challenging project to manufacture and repair damage found on the boxed sheet metal frame.
  • Several surprises were discovered in the process: uncovering the amount of past damage and repairs that have been done to the lower portions of the front fenders; rotted-out headlight buckets; severe damage to the lower halves of the rocker frame rails; and considerable rust in the spare wheel wells and trunk area.
  • Next steps include continuing to work on the manufacture of frame rail replacement, paint and reassemble the front suspension and brakes, disassembly of the engine, and starting construction on the interior of the project.

The student project team will continue work on some tasks, while others will be utilized as opportunities for faculty or more guest-led seminars to allow more students a chance to learn and be a part of this project.

Shed Finds

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A group of current AR students partnered with Graphic Design students to showcase the interesting and unique projects that are continually going on at the sheds. Although not officially part of the McPherson College program, the sheds have always offered fertile ground for hands-on learning. We hope you enjoy Shed Finds – a video collection that will be featured in the alumni newsletter.  You can view the full-length version of this video at Finds.

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Alumni Profile

[images picture_size=”auto” autoplay=”no” columns=”1″ column_spacing=”13″ scroll_items=”” show_nav=”yes” mouse_scroll=”no” border=”yes” lightbox=”yes” class=”” id=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”” alt=”Car_1″] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”” alt=”Car_2″] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”×200.jpg” alt=”Car_3″] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”” alt=”Car_4″] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”×225.jpg” alt=”Car_5″] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”” alt=”Car_6″] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”” alt=”Car_7″] [/images]
922NAME: Will Posey
RESIDENCE: Northeast Alabama
WORK: I have a shop called Big Oak Garage and we build high end hot rods and custom vehicles.
LATEST PROJECT: We currently have six projects in the shop – 1942 Chevy truck, 1956 Chevy hardtop, 1961 Impala, 1940 Lincoln Zephyr, and a 1969 Ford Bronco.
Just for fun…
IF YOU COULD TEST DRIVE ANY CAR: This is a very hard question for me. I can’t narrow it down to one. I would like to drive an F1 race car (although I know I can’t fit into one), a trophy truck through the desert, a pro stock drag car, and a Koenigsegg Agera RS.
THE NEXT CAR: I would like to add the first vehicle I built for a customer after I opened up my shop. We built a 1963 Ranchero for a guy and I would love to buy it from his widow.