MCPHERSON, Kan. (KSNW) — McPherson College is nationally recognized as the only school that offers a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Restoration Technology. KSN’s Jason Lamb visited the campus Thursday to see a project the students have been working on for seven years.

Ten years ago, McPherson College set a goal to place one of its restored cars in one of the most prestigious car show contests in the world. That goal will be achieved in August when the small Kansas college shows one of its cars at the Pebble Beach Concours D’ Elegance.

Tucked away in the center of the campus, behind the door to Room 13 in Templeton Hall, is the cornerstone and future of the college’s world-renowned auto restoration program.

“This car is a 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet,” said Brian Martin.

Martin is the Senior Director of Automotive Restoration. He says at least a couple of hundred students have had their hands on this luxury convertible, restoring it over the last seven years to meet Pebble Beach standards.

“You have to have not only the right car in the right condition. So, you have to find a car that measures up so Concour D’ Elegance, which really means competition of elegance. So we had to find a car that was special enough on its own to compete and to be welcomed on the field,” said Martin.

“This idea of compete to win at Pebble Beach means we want to elevate the level of curriculum coursework, student experience to a common core level. And so, what these students have done here is the equivalent of a group of students from Stanford working on a Nobel Prize-winning chemistry project,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider.

Martin says it took four years to locate the right car.

“This car was very, very original. So, part of being a hand-built car, every part, every piece of woodwork, every piece of trim, the chrome trim on this car. The leather was made for this car, and that is actually numbered 39A on this, and almost every single piece was original. So, we were able to track those pieces that they were born with this car,” explained Martin.

The students worked on the Mercedes-Benz outside of their regular class schedules.

“I’ve been involved in the assembly phase for the last year. So, I was here when we got the car running and driving and the chassis for the first time. But for the last year, for the most part, for me, it’s been assembling all of the finer bits and pieces together,” said McPherson College senior Victoria Bruno.

“I’ve done fabrication or rubber parts, final assembly, sorting stuff, fitting parts,” said junior Andrew Shaefer.

There’s much more work to be done before the will be ready to present the black Mercedes-Benz in August along the Pacific coastline on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach.

“The car is starting to look complete. It runs and drives. It works as it should, but we’re finally fitting the chrome treatment. Chrome pieces for the interior. We need to install that. We’re making our rubber floor mats. You know it was originally delivered with rubber floor mats, and we have to make those right now. We’re in that process. Wiring, finishing up our wiring. We’re actually in the process of making our convertible top,” said Martin.

The students take great pride in their work on the Pebble Beach entry.

“It’s been incredibly rewarding. I hope that me and my other classmates, our hard work and dedication, can inspire the next generation of automotive restorers,” said Bruno.

Comedian and car enthusiast Jay Leno has long been a supporter of the Automotive Restoration program at McPherson College. In a statement, he says he’s proud to be associated with the college.

“Much like art historians who clean and repair the works of the Renaissance era, the young men and women at McPherson College are doing it with automobiles,” said Leno.

For more about Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, click here. For more about McPherson College, visit their website here.