The moon shot
Our mission is an ambitious one: to be the center of excellence for students serious about automotive restoration. Our vision is bold: to compete to win at Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance with a car restored in our program.
We just needed the right car.
Finding our car.,
We found our project vehicle in a beautiful old stone building in Pennsylvania, in the possession of Richard and Mary Hopeman. Richard had a long career in engineering, project management and education. And a love of the automobile.
Intrigued by the automotive restoration program, the Hopemans were excited at the prospect that their Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet, which had given them so much joy, was to be our signature project.
We unveiled our car at a private event during Pebble Beach Car Week in California. And then it came home to Kansas.
About the 300 S,
Early on, a 300 S was on the shortlist of cars to consider because the scale of such a project would fit well into our educational model. Other considerations included our close relationship with Mercedes-Benz Classic Center and the availability of reference materials that would provide students with access to necessary information. Finally, our established relationships with a deep pool of Mercedes-Benz experts among our alumni and friends made the marque an attractive option. This particular car was a great candidate because it is very complete and original, having only 35,000 miles.
For McPherson College, competing at Pebble Beach is about much more than getting a car on the field. It’s about the educational value that comes from the process of working on a project of such magnitude.
When completed, this restoration will highlight both the technical and liberal arts components of our degree. Through the frame-off restoration students will work in every area of the shop: metalwork, paint, chassis, drive train, engine, wood and trim. They will also gain valuable experience in:
- Historical research
- Assessment and documentation
- Project management and organization
- Presentation skills
- Professionalism and accountability