Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Miles and miles of memories

Family memories on display during first cruise-in of the season
May 14, 2018
Photo by: Gretchen Teske The Kaiser Frazer Owners Club made an appearance on Friday night with nearly 20 cars making it in on Friday, May 11.

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Of the cars lining the sides of S. Main St., over 60 of them were driven from as far as Nebraska to be part of the 20th Century Car Club’s first cruise-in of the year. Among them was Lowell Fideler, who drove over six hours to see his family car after 40 years apart.

Fideler drove from Minneapolis, Minn., to attend the first cruise-in of the season. His motivation was to see the 1948 Henry J. Kaiser his father owned and later sold to a fellow car owner. “Mission accomplished,” he said as he admired the cars, parked side by side.

The car was originally bought by Fideler’s father and became a staple in family vacations and trips to the 1974 Kaiser convention in Michigan. Years later, Fideler sold the car and lost track of where it went.

Rich Collins, of West Des Moines, was researching the ‘48 Kaiser he recently purchased when he saw a photo of his car with Fideler’s email address attached. “He was able to give me a lot of history of it,” he said.

The pair agreed to meet at the cruise-in, which was also hosting the Midwest meetup for the Kaiser Frazer Club, a brand of car only manufactured for eight years in the 40s and 50s. “40 years (have) passed and he’s reunited with the family car,” Collins said.

Before it sold, Fideler’s father put a special hood ornament on the car, which Collins had not seen. He said if it was there, it had been removed and was possibly long gone. One day Collins was searching through parts stashed away in the back of the car and found it. “It was serendipitous,” he said.

Collins then gave the hood ornament to Fideler with special instructions to let his father know the gift was from him.

The 20th Century Car Club has been hosting cruise-in’s for over 10 years. The club was started by Earl Reynolds as a way to include all cars and network with fellow car lovers. The cruise-in’s are scheduled for the second Friday of every month from May through Sept.

Mark Smith has been attending the cruise-in’s since they began. “My retirement plan was to go to all of that stuff,” he said. He drove his 1952 Chevy up from Carman, Ill.

John and Mary Lou Pitzer are members of the Kaiser Frazer Club. Although he owns four, his favorite is the 1949, which is identical to the one his father owned.

In 1949, his mother and father took him to the Kaiser-Frazer manufacturing plant in Michigan. They took a train from Chicago to Detroit, toured the factory, and drove a car home, through a blizzard. “It became a family thing,” he said.

Years later, John and his wife were at an auction in South Dakota when they saw a car identical to the one his dad owned. They bought it and drove it home to Nebraska that same day. Pitzer now owns one car of each model the company made and hopes by coming to these shows, younger generations will find an interest and keep the restoration and appreciation for classic cars alive.

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