A 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet, entirely restored by McPherson College Automotive Restoration program students, has been accepted into the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and will be shown at the event later this year, the school announced.
“We set a bold vision 10 years ago to show a car at Pebble Beach, and I was confident our students and staff could attain it,” said Amanda Gutierrez, provost and vice president of automotive restoration. “The goal was to get invited to compete at Pebble Beach, but there is a significant process that makes that happen, especially at a small college with students working outside of class hours. This project has been a valuable learning experience for our students as they study toward their bachelor’s degree in automotive restoration. It was intense work requiring exceptional commitment, and I am extremely proud of them.”
After an exhaustive search for the right car, work on the project began and has incorporated classroom curricula, expert guest lectures, and senior capstone experiences, program faculty said. The restoration was completed by teams of student interns who worked over the course of the restoration with supervision from Brian Martin, director of automotive restoration projects.
“When we set out to do this, we knew it was going to be a long-term commitment,” Martin said. “It is a complete, frame-off, top-to-bottom restoration by students. We planned for it to become the cornerstone of our program and an example of the skills our students develop while they are here.”
McPherson College has a history of student participation at Pebble Beach, the school said, dating back to 2008 when the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Pebble Beach Company Foundation established scholarships honoring Formula One World Champion and restorer Phil Hill. Over the years, more than 25 McPherson College students have earned college scholarships from Pebble Beach, the school said. Pebble Beach Company Foundation scholarship recipients not only attend the event and shadow the judges, they also have been part of panel discussions, prepared and presented cars for the field, and attended numerous additional events during the week.
However, this August will mark the first time the college will show a classic vehicle fully restored by its students, McPherson College representatives said.
Members of the student team, the Pebble Beach Scholars, college staff, and alumni will accompany the car to Pebble Beach in August. A recognition of their efforts will be celebrated during the CARS Club Motoring Festival on May 6 at McPherson College.