San Francisco School Teaches Auto Restoration—and Hosts a Fantastic Car Collection – autoweek. com
Academy of Art University
Given the grey beards who typically populate the particular classic car show crowds, it’s traditional to wring hands over the future of the hobby. The challenge is to get more young people involved, and some players such as Hagerty have embraced that with youth programs. Auto restorers are also in danger of aging out, and that’s why the tech program at McPherson College in Kansas , active since 1976, has gotten such attention—including from patrons such as Jay Leno, who established scholarships.
That’s not the country’s sole system, though. Students at the particular Academy associated with Art College in San Francisco’s industrial design plan can get an associate degree in auto restoration, plus budding designers can work with the professionals at GM, Jaguar, and Volvo. Leno is also supportive, and was awarded a good honorary doctorate by the academy in 2021. The school, owner of a large high-end car collection, offers an interesting history.
According to Paul Borgwardt, coordinator at the academy’s auto museum, the college was founded as the Academy of Advertising Art by painter plus magazine editor Richard S. Stephens within 1929. Son Richard A. Stephens took over in 1951. “The younger Stephens was a car lover, especially Packards, Duesenbergs, and Rolls-Royces, ” Borgwardt said. That’s when the car collection, now numbering 41, got started. The school in downtown San Francisco provides continued in order to grow under the third-generation, Elisa Stephens, and now has about 9000 students and programs in just about every aspect associated with the arts, from fashion design to gaming.
Those lucky enough to study auto restoration get in order to work on such oddball in-house classics since a 1968 Thunderbird, 1968 International Travel-All, 1967 Corvair, 1941 Cadillac, and 1938 American Bantam. “They do metalworking, upholstery, woodworking, fabrication, everything that goes into rebuilding and maintaining these cars, ” Borgwardt said. “We also teach component repair, so the students are taking apart distributors, generators, and starters and putting them back together. And the history class gives students a grounding in the auto industry’s past. ”
To learn how the classics were put together, college students need only walk over to the particular car selection for some on-the-ground study. The assemblage is truly spectacular. Here’s the small selection: