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‘Wheels of Change’ Welcomes Bob Casey to Explore the Giants of Automotive History

Bob Casey

Bob Casey, retired curator of transportation, Henry Ford Museum

Join McPherson College “Wheels of Change: How the Automobile Shaped Our Lives,” a six-week summer experience that explores the people, innovations, and art of the automotive industry. Next week’s session on Thursday, July 9 at noon CDT is titled “Thar be Giants in them Thar Hills! – Henry Ford, Billy Durant, and the mega-corporations,” with special guest Bob Casey, retired curator of transportation, Henry Ford Museum.

Casey worked for the Henry Ford Museum for 21 years before retiring. During that time, he wrote “The Model T: A Centennial History,” co-authored “Driving America: the Henry Ford Automobile Collection,” and was lead curator on the “Driving America” exhibition. He judges at a number of car shows and has appeared in several auto-related television documentaries. After retiring from the Henry Ford Museum, he served on the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum board of trustees. He helped design and build Piquette’s re-creation of the “secret room” where Henry Ford and his associates created the Model T. He has a mechanical engineering degree and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history. He currently serves as the secretary of the Society of Automotive Historians.

Professor Ken Yohn, chair of McPherson College’s Department of History and Politics, serves as host and instructor for the webinar. For more than 20 years, Professor Yohn has taught courses on the social history of the automobile at McPherson College and has led student study trips to Europe and South America.

Each week on Zoom, Wheels Change will focus on fascinating topics from the advent of the automobile to its impact on war, globalization, and design. There is no cost for the series but space is limited and registration is required for each session.

‘Wheels of Change’ Explores Epic Road Trips in This Week’s Session

Kyle Smith, associate editor for Hagerty

Kyle Smith, associate editor for Hagerty

Join McPherson College “Wheels of Change: How the Automobile Shaped Our Lives,” a six-week summer experience that explores the people, innovations, and art of the automotive industry. This week’s session on Thursday, June 25 at noon CDT is titled “Epic Road Trips that Upended the World – Bertha Benz, Ransom Olds, Horatio Nelson Jackson, & Alice Ramsey” with special guest Kyle Smith, associate editor for Hagerty.

Smith is a 2013 graduate of McPherson College and a lover of all things wheeled, vintage, and air-cooled. Often, he can be found in his garage preparing some project for another road trip. During business hours though, he writes and creates video for Hagerty. He hopes his well-rounded knowledge of both historical and technical information offers something new to even the most seasoned readers.

Professor Ken Yohn, chair of McPherson College’s Department of History and Politics, serves as host and instructor for the webinar. For more than 20 years, Professor Yohn has taught courses on the social history of the automobile at McPherson College and has led student study trips to Europe and South America.

Each week on Zoom, Wheels of Change will focus on fascinating topics from the advent of the automobile to its impact on war, globalization, and design. There is no cost for the series but space is limited and registration is required for each session.

McPherson College Announces “Wheels of Change: How the Automobile Shaped Our Lives”

Ken Yohn

Ken Yohn, chair of McPherson College’s Department of History and Politics, will serve as host and instructor for the six webinars.

McPherson College, the only college in America offering a four-year bachelor’s degree program in automotive restoration technology, announces the launch of a webinar series called “Wheels of Change: How the Car Automobile Shaped Our Lives.” This six-week summer series focuses on the people, innovations, and the art that helped shape the automotive industry and will feature car-world insiders from around the country.

The first webinar is June 25 at 12 p.m. CDT, with the topic, Four Epic Road Trips that Upended the World. Space is limited, so each week’s webinar will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Online registration is on the college website.

McPherson College’s automotive restoration program started in 1976 and has become a nationally recognized and award-winning leader in automotive education. The program offers students experience outside of the classroom at some of the most prestigious car events, with 85% of students participating in internships at museums, private collections, and shops across the United States and Germany over the past five years. These institutions include Hagerty, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Rad Rides by Troy, and RM Sotheby’s, among others.

“Wheels of Change will spotlight our college’s uniqueness as a leader in the auto industry, while providing participants dynamic conversation with special guests,” said Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration at McPherson College. “Professor Yohn is well-known for his knowledgeable, engaging, and fun instruction on the evolution of the automobile and its impact on our social and cultural development.”

Yohn, chair of McPherson College’s Department of History and Politics, will serve as host and instructor for the six webinars. For more than 20 years, Professor Yohn has taught courses on the social history of the automobile at McPherson College and has led student study trips to Europe and South America. His next teaching adventure is a “Cars and Castles” tour of Europe.

“Everyone knows that automobiles completely changed how we live life, but not too many people realize just how many areas of our lives were revolutionized by four wheels and an engine,” said Yohn. “And thanks to our alumni and McPherson’s extensive industry connections, we will have expert guests from all parts of the industry help me unpack it all.”

“Wheels of Change” will cover a wide variety of topics, including how the automobile liberated women, the creation of mega auto corporations, and how the former General Motors executive Harley Earl revolutionized and democratized automotive designs. The full schedule can be found here.

Student Car Show Canceled

The annual student-run car show at McPherson College scheduled for May 1-2 has been canceled. Representatives from the C.A.R.S. Club, the student organization that coordinates the event, recently made the announcement.

McPherson College announced on March 17 that it would complete the remainder of the spring semester courses remotely following recommendations by national and state health organizations due to the coronavirus situation.

“It is very disappointing to us. As you might imagine, it is impossible hosting a student-run event of this magnitude without a full assembly of students on campus,” Chris Paulsen, faculty advisor of the C.A.R.S. Club, said. “Students started working on the event the day after last year’s car show. It’s something they look forward to each year and are heartbroken about it.”

The event includes a Cruise-in and Evening with AR dinner on Friday night; both events are also canceled. Entries of those who pre-registered a car for the show will be retained and pre-registered for next year’s event.

“We want to thank everyone who supports this event each year,” Nick Navarro, student chairperson of C.A.R.S. Club, said. “We look forward to seeing them on May 1, 2021, for next year’s car show.”

The student-run car show attracts rare vehicles from across the country each year. Last year more than 400 cars entered the show, and Donald Osborne, an appraisal expert featured on Jay Leno’s Garage, was a special guest.

Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance Awards First Ever Scholarship Recognizing Roger Penske

scholarship recipient Kevin Boeckman

Roger Penske with scholarship recipient Kevin Boeckman.

A scholarship recognizing the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Silver Anniversary Honoree, Roger Penske, was presented for the first time ever Saturday, March 7 at the Mercedes-Benz Gala dinner to a McPherson College Automotive Restoration student.

Kevin Boeckman, a junior in the program, was selected for the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Roger Penske Scholarship. Amelia Island Concours created the scholarship to recognize its 2020 honoree and to support outstanding students in the field of automotive restoration.

This award recognizes Penske, who won his first national championship in 1961. Sports Illustrated named him “Driver of the Year,” and he went on to record 51 victories in 130 races during his career as a driver. After retiring from the cockpit, Penske left his mark on the motorsports world with his racing organization, Roger Penske Racing, later known as Team Penske.

Boeckman, who is from Wamego, Kansas, first became interested in cars as a child attending his community’s car show. After purchasing his first car, a 1968 Firebird convertible, he realized he wanted to make a career in the collector car industry.

“When it came time to decide what to do after high school, I knew I wanted to focus on learning to work on old cars,” Boeckman said. “I thought it was a miracle that there was a program like the one at McPherson College.”

McPherson College students have actively engaged in the Amelia Island Concours for the past ten years. Students serve as apprentice judges, attend auction events and seminars, and get the opportunity to network with industry leaders.

“We are honored that the Amelia Island Concours recognizes the importance of educating the next generation of automotive restoration craftsmen with its support of our students,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of automotive restoration at McPherson College, said. “The concours is a long-time supporter of our program and this scholarship demonstrates their commitment to engaging young people in the collector car industry.”

McPherson College Students Join Stine at Des Moines Concours

For the past five years, students from McPherson College have taken part in the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance serving as apprentice judges. Myron Stine, a McPherson College alumni and vice president of the Iowa Automobile Heritage Foundation, says the association with the college has been good for the students and good for the concours.

“It is an opportunity for the students to experience a prestigious car event and work with the judges,” Stine said. “I know those involved with the concours really enjoy having the students there. I’m proud that the Des Moines Concours recognizes that the students from the McPherson College automotive restoration program are top-notch.”

This year, six students from the automotive restoration program will have the opportunity to experience one of the Midwest’s premier car shows on September 7-8. They will work alongside judges that critique the more than 100 vintage and classic motor vehicles selected for the concours. The experience reinforces what the students learn in the classroom, said Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration.

“Our partnership with the Des Moines Concours gives McPherson College students an opportunity to experience the classic cars beyond the classroom and helps them to identify how they are part of the future of the automotive restoration industry,” Gutierrez said.

Students attending this year’s concours include:

  • Wally Behrens, Crested Butte, Colorado
  • Cole Tanner, Lunenburg, Massachusetts
  • Cedric Brown, Culpeper, Virginia
  • Matt Shrader, Olathe, Kansas
  • Curren Harris, Hiwassee, Virginia
  • Geoffrey Smith, Brownsburg, Indiana

McPherson College Announces $1 Million Gift

The Lundquists hosting McPherson College

McPherson College has announced a gift of $1 million from Richard and Melanie Lundquist, noted California philanthropists. The gift recognizes the work of renowned car restorer, Paul Russell and Company, and was announced at a private event hosted by McPherson College at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance. Russell serves as president of the college’s national advisory board for automotive restoration.

“We are committed to McPherson’s automotive restoration program, particularly since it is the only four-year program like it in the country,” Melanie Lundquist said. “The college strives to provide the best student experiences. We really enjoy the collaborative partnership we have developed with the college.”

1938 Talbot Lago restored by Paul RussellPaul Russell and Company restored a 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Figoni and Falaschi Teardrop Cabriolet owned by the Lundquists that took top honors as Most Elegant Convertible class and was among four contenders for the Best of Show at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours.

“Having just gone through a concours-quality restoration project, the Lundquists appreciate the value of craftsmanship and understand the importance of educating the next generation of craftsmen,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration at McPherson College. “We are grateful that they have recognized McPherson College as an institution worthy of their support.”

Chris Hammond, a McPherson College graduate, was senior mechanical restorer on the project, and Paul Russell and Company currently employs three McPherson College graduates. Russell is a champion of educating the next generation of craftsmen and has been a long-time supporter of the McPherson College program.

“McPherson College is honored to be recognized with this gift from Richard and Melanie,” President Michael Schneider said. “This gift is evidence that the quality of education provided at McPherson College is valued. Our entire campus works hard providing outstanding educational opportunities and career experiences. This is a signal to the industry that we are committed to excellence and it takes people like the Lundquists stepping up to help us drive the future of this industry.”

The McPherson College Automotive Restoration program began in 1976 with funding from local entrepreneur, Gaines “Smokey” Billue, and has evolved into a nationally recognized and award-winning leader in restoration education, offering the only four-year bachelor’s degree for restoration technology in the country. The program offers student experience outside of the classroom at some of the most prestigious car events in the United States, like Pebble Beach. The college also has a growing alumni base who work in all facets of the car collecting world including Hagerty, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Historic Vehicle Association, RM Sotheby’s, in their own shops, and private collections.

Student-Run Car Show Celebrates 20 Years

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.”

College Car Show Has Something For Everyone

The 20th Annual C.A.R.S. Club Motoring Festival at McPherson College will take place Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The student-run car show attracts rare vehicles from across the country. Last year more than 400 cars entered the show. This year’s event will again feature unique vehicles and special guests including Donald Osborne.

It all starts on Friday, May 3 when Osborne will be the guest speaker at a dinner event that kicks off the car show weekend. Osborne is a regular contributor on Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBS, and What’s My Car Worth for MotorTrend TV. He lends his considerable knowledge of car valuation to organizations such as the Historic Vehicle Association and RM Sotheby’s. Additionally, Osborne studied opera at Hartt College of Music in Hartford Connecticut, and is a talented singer.

Car enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in a Cruise-in also on Friday beginning at 6 p.m. on Main Street in McPherson. This event serves as a sneak peek at what will be on the show field and an opportunity for any car or motorcycle owner to display their rides in an informal show in downtown McPherson. There is no entry fee required for this fun event.

The Motoring Festival gets into high gear on Saturday. Cars will be let onto the field at 8 a.m. and a day full of activities is planned including demonstrations, tours of the Automotive Restoration facility, a Model T build, McPherson College and McPherson High School Jazz Bands performances, and food trucks, up until 3 p.m. when awards will be announced. A complimentary trolley will also be available for rides from campus to Main Street on Saturday. Pre-registration is open online until April 22 at a discounted rate. Registration is also available the day of the show.

This year’s show will feature an entry from Barn Find Hunter, Tom Cotter. Cotter digs through barns and garages in search of buried automotive treasures. He is the author of several popular Barn Find books and is a regular video contributor to Hagerty’s online media. He recently collaborated on a 1962 Ford Country Sedan station wagon with two McPherson College alumni, which will be part of this year’s show.

Other feature cars include a 1952 Ferrari 212, a 1914 Peugeot Indianapolis race car, and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda. The Motoring Festival brings a diverse field of vehicles together that includes cars, motorcycles, bicycles, tractors and even military vehicles. From the concours-quality vehicles to the unique and unusual to the student area that features works in progress, there is something for everybody.

Student Receives First Ever Denise McCluggage Scholarship

A scholarship honoring the legendary female racecar driver, journalist, author, and photographer Denise McCluggage was presented for the first time ever at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance to McPherson College senior Emma Critz during the gala dinner on March 9.

Critz was selected for the inaugural scholarship out of the automotive restoration program; however, the scholarship will be available to all women at McPherson College with interests similar to McCluggage’s such as journalism, art, photography.

“I’m honored to have been selected for the scholarship,” Critz said. “Denise McCluggage was such an interesting person and I was so surprised when my name was announced as the recipient. It is definitely the highlight of my time at McPherson College.”

When McCluggage passed away in 2015 she left instructions to develop a scholarship in her name that would encourage other women to pursue their dreams. The initial funding for the scholarship was provided by the Santa Fe Concorso and it was developed this year as a senior capstone project by Abigayle Morgan, a senior majoring in automotive restoration with a minor in communication. Morgan had the opportunity to introduce the scholarship and announce this year’s recipient at the Amelia Island event.

“Being in a room full of longtime friends and competitors of Denise McCluggage was an awesome experience,” she said. “I was thrilled with the amount of support people expressed to me for the scholarship.”

Morgan is leading a fundraising campaign to guarantee that funds will be available to support women at McPherson College through the McCluggage Scholarship. For more information about the scholarship, please go to www.mcpherson.edu/denise-mccluggage.