Larry Oechsle and Dave Agler stand in front of a car owned by the Wassenbergs that they are restoring for the Van Wert County Historical Museum. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Larry Oechsle and Dave Agler stand in front of a car owned by the Wassenbergs that they are restoring for the Van Wert County Historical Museum. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
BY JIM LANGHAM

DHI Media Staff Writer

jlangham@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT – When local restoration experts Dave Agler and Larry Oechsle start restoring the 1917 Overland Coupe that had once belonged to the Wassenberg Family, they never realized they would be investing four-day weeks for a five year period in order to restore the car to the Van Wert County Historical Museum.

“This car was owned by the Wassenbergs in 1917 and 1918,” continued Oechsle. “They drove it back and forth to the peony gardens. For a long time it sat in the garage where the museum was.”

The car was eventually sold to Bill Jones in Van Wert so it could be moved out of the garage to create room for art exhibits. When termites started to eat the wood body, the Jones family moved it to Florida for preservation and care. Eventually, the car was sold out of the Jones family to Van Wert’s Dave Kirchenbauer who aspired to have the car brought back to Van Wert and go into the possession of the historical society. So the car was purchased by the historical society and Agler and Oechsle began their task.





“We got $112,000 appropriated from the State Assembly to work on making room for the car at the historical museum” said Oechsle. “Senator Hite made this possible. He introduced the legislation that made this possible.”

The legislation makes it possible to add 50 feet to the barn to make room to house the car. It also provides for a handicap ramp at the Welcome Center and new sidewalk at Washington and Third Streets.

“We hope to start using the car sometime in April,” noted Agler, who spent many hours reconstructing the wooden frame. Agler said that he was surprised when he discovered 12 pieces of wood in one door.

The men praised community leaders and business men who contributed funding, parts and spaces to work for special kinds of projects.

They noted that Dale Foltz sand-blasted the parts and Johnny Schumaker worked on the distributor housing.

“We are very proud of it; it is a piece of art,” commented Agler. “When you see what it’s all about, it’s great to be a part of it. It’s always been our feeling we could do this and we were going to complete it.”

The men said they hope to be able to take the car into parades this summer representing the Van Wert Historical Society.