26. March 2010 05:24
They sure didn't offer classes like this when I was in school....
At McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas, more than 100 students are enrolled in the school's Automotive Restoration Technology program, the only course of study in the country that offers four-year degrees in restoration of classic cars. Their "labs" are unlike any other you've ever seen at a college campus, and groups are welcome to visit for a tour (arranged ahead of time through the McPherson Convetion and Visitors Bureau).
I toured the workshops this morning and saw students working on numerous restoration projects on very cool old cars. Throughout their studies, these kids learn every step involved in restoring classic cars, including engine rebuilding, paint and trim work, upholstry, and more. Throughout their time at the university, they practice on the many classic cars that have been donated to the school. When the cars are finished, they are sold (sometimes for $100,000 or more), and the proceeds invested back into the program.
On the tour, we visited the various rooms around the workshop, and saw students working on fascinating specimen, including a 1929 blackhawk in the paint shop and a 1926 Model T Speedstar, being rebuilt from the ground up with period-specific parts.
We also saw some of the final products, including the gleaming Buick from the showroom pictured above. Their projects may come from the past, but these students have bright futures preserving automobiles that are irreplacable hallmarks of American style.