10 minutes to build and start car from scratch

McPherson, a town in Kansas, has a population 13,300 and is almost at America’s geographic centre.

The wind blows here, right off the plains. It is flat country and the locals joke that the only high ground in town is the overpass on the nearby interstate.

But, this town and its University, McPherson College, are quickly gaining legendary status among classic car enthusiasts.

McPherson College is the only University in the USA that offers a Bachelor level degree in automotive restoration technology.

Masters and doctorate degrees are also in the planning stages.

The admission bar is set high.

Only 50 students are admitted annually.

The degree prepares graduates to step into corporate level restoration entities, become general restorers, step into museum settings, auction houses, car companies and become leaders in the industry.

The program attracts donations, scholarships and support from the good and the great of the classic car world, including the Pebble Beach Concourse, Mercedes Benz, collector Jay Leno, Auto Week magazine and Hegarty Insurance – the USA’s biggest classic auto insurer.

What is also attracting attention is the University’s annual car show, held each May.

Although 300 cars are on show, the real stars of the event are the students, their restorations and their performances.

Projects include a board-track racer built from scratch, a “new” Model T-based speedster which looked 100 years old but was hand fabricated – and the students’ own cars in varying stages of construction and restoration.

The student performances include two teams who build a Model T from bare components to completely assembled and then start it up, all in less than 10 minutes.

It’s an amazing spectacle and you can see it all on YouTube.

McPherson is on our must do list for 2018.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au

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