Academy of Art University’s New Automotive Restoration Program

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Academy of Art University launches its new Automotive Restoration Associate of Arts Degree Program from the School of Industrial Design.

We are proud to announce the launch of our new Automotive Restoration Associate of Arts Degree program from the School of Industrial Design. Led by Executive Director Tom Matano, the Automotive Restoration program will roll out with the Fall 2015 semester on September 3. The program will prepare students for the historical and technological rigors of the preservation or restoration of classic cars, in response to an industry demand for talented entry level Automotive Restorers.

“Vintage vehicle restoration is unique,” says Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of Academy of Art University. “For this reason, the program will train for hands-on skills and machining technology, while also covering the critical component of history and research processes for repairing parts or creating historically accurate components for authenticity.”

Automotive Restoration students will focus their learning on core courses that revolve around key components of successful vehicle restoration or recreation, including techniques in woodwork and machine work, sheet metal work, systems knowledge, and process of disassembly and assembly. They will complement this invaluable information with historical studies and meticulous research of the imperatives required to restore classic cars authentically. Further, Automotive Design students at Academy of Art University will also benefit from this extremely specialized program, as emphasis is placed on learning from classic cars that have been fully restored to the highest standard at the Academy’s Auto Museum.

Students of the Automotive Restoration program will be able to identify all major automotive components and systems, as well as their functions. They will conduct specialized research to acquire relevant information for the restoration of vintage automobiles, and they will produce detailed documentation of the processes and conditions of their components through training on disassembly. Students will be trained in the art of making accurate technical drawings; duplicating automotive woodwork; repairing, replicating, and sculpting auto body panels to factory specifications; painting auto body panels using industry standard equipment; and reassembling restored components back to a functioning automobile.

Students will exit the program and enter the industry prepared and ready to work with all of these proficiencies, and most importantly, students will have practical, collaborative experience in working within a team that performed restoration of a vintage automobile.

Founded in 1929, the Academy offers AA, BA, BFA, BS, B.ARCH*, MA, MFA, and M.ARCH degree programs, as well as continuing art education, pre-college art experience programs, and teacher grants. Our faculty is a team of award winning creative professionals and industry veterans committed to providing education rooted in practical, hands-on applications. Whether students are studying film, advertising, or industrial design, the chance to apply their skills in classes that simulate real production and design studios gives them an incredible edge. The chance to collaborate on significant projects with other students, faculty, and professional companies opens the gateway for many exciting opportunities post-graduation. For more information, visit

Visit to learn more about total costs, median student loan debt, potential occupations and other information. Accredited member WSCUC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD), NAAB (B.ARCH*, M.ARCH), CTC (California Teacher Credential). *B.ARCH is currently in candidacy status.

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Martin Haro
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