Paul Russell and Company, the automotive restoration and preservation specialists of this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Best of Show Winner, the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo Roadster, brought the Mercedes star back east Nov. 3 to an eager crowd of enthusiasts, raising funds for McPherson College's Automotive Restoration Program, the country's only four-year bachelor of arts program devoted to the craft.
The event raised almost $60,000, from more than 200 avid auto enthusiasts, sponsors and supporters who were treated to a first-hand explanation of the custom coachbuilder's art from the restoration team, several of whom are McPherson College graduates.
“We are thrilled to champion the Automotive Restoration Program at McPherson College, and to have program graduates involved in a restoration project of this magnitude — an exquisite example of the “coachbuilt-era” motorcar,” said Paul Russell, a long-time Educational Advisory Board Member of the college and event host.
Partner sponsor Mercedes-Benz USA was on hand with a new LeMans Red SLS coupe looking every bit as classy as its 85-year old predecessor, showing the Marque truly does withstand the test of time. They joined nearly a dozen other sponsors of the event from the historic, collector and vintage automotive industries, many of whom share a long-time interest and involvement with the McPherson College automotive restoration program.
“We're proud to provide scholarship opportunities, to join in these fundraisers, and promote the McPherson College automotive restoration program,” said Mike Kunz, of Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, Calif., and fellow Educational Advisory Board Member at McPherson College. “We also enjoy the first-hand benefit of employing the graduates of the Program, with one of our youngest employees becoming a specialist on our oldest model — the very car that launched the automotive age — the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen.”
Hagerty Insurance, specialty auto insurers, were on-board and on-hand to enjoy the presentation and shop tour.
"It is important for all of us to support institutions like McPherson College so future generations learn how to properly restore classic cars. McPherson sets the standard, and their graduates can be found at some of the world's leading restoration shops and winning prestigious awards at events around the country," said McKeel Hagerty, president and CEO of Hagerty Insurance.
Panther City Classic Autos, Mercedes-Benz USA, Jay Leno, Hagerty Insurance, BASF Glasurit, Gooding & Company, Premier Financial Services, Intercity Lines, Griot's Garage, Michael Furman: automotive photographer, and Motorsports Marketing Resources were all key sponsors, helping with everything from donations to in-kind assistance to make the event a success.
The restoration team took attendees through the meticulous processes they used to bring the 1928 Mercedes-Benz up to the exacting Pebble Beach standards. Processes such as researching and recreating the lizard skin upholstery were accomplished with utmost deliberative care, and more than 1,500 hours were spent on this endeavor alone. Chris Andrews, son of the vehicle's owners — Paul and Judy Andrews of Fort Worth, Texas — was closely involved in monitoring the progress through the nearly two-year long project, emphasizing the roadworthiness of the finished product, in addition to its Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance preparation. Their Panther City Classic Autos are also among the event supporters.
Page 2 of 2 - “I'm proud to be part of this team,” said McPherson graduate Stacy Puckett, the resource manager at Paul Russell and Company. “Preserving the history of these important early motorcars so future generations can enjoy and learn from them is a pretty awesome job.”
Amanda Gutierrez, McPherson College vice president for automotive restoration, said they were pleased to have so many restoration alumni involved with the Best of Show winner and appreciate all the efforts of Paul Russell and Company to organize this benefit.
"At McPherson College, we teach students the skills, historical background and global perspective they need to develop into world-class restorers — like those at Paul Russell and Company," she said. "We are so proud of our alumni success and their passion and professionalism. Our thanks go to Paul Russell for seeing the value of McPherson College."
To get involved with supporting the McPherson Program contact Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mcpherson.