BY JIM LANGHAM
DHI Media Staff Writer
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.