After 22 years of work, this car is finally 'Cruze-In' ready
Orin "Doc" Olson was helping a friend check out a vehicle for sale in Menomonie when he saw the rusty frame of a 1930 Ford two-door sedan sticking out from a pile of junk in the seller's barn.
"When I was walking through this barn, there was stuff this high," Olson said, holding his hand several feet above the ground, "and the front of (the car's) axle was sticking out in the walkway. Otherwise I'd have never seen that car."
As soon as he saw the frame, Olson, a member of the River Falls High School class of 196, knew he wanted to buy it and asked the man who owned the frame -- and the street rod his friend was interested in -- if he would sell the frame.
The man sold him the frame, and as many pieces of the rest of the car as he could find.
That was in 1991. Olson finally drove the car for the first time on July 10, 2013.
In the 22 years it took Olson, now 70, to work on the car, he didn't just remove rust and insert missing parts. Instead, he got creative with his car.
He gave it a V8 engine from a 1980 Corvette, changed the shape of the roof so it sloped down at the corners, put in a rear backup camera, remote controlled door locks, a set of digital dashboard meters and more.
"I thought it would make the car look different, and neat," Olson said. "And it did. Got a lot of compliments on that roof."
Because he put so much time and effort into his car, Olson said, he doesn't bring it out to car shows very often. He said even rain could be damaging to the vehicle.
However, the car will be highlighted at the Sunday, Sept. 8 Car Cruze-In -- the final cruise of the 2013 River Falls Chamber of Commerce's Summer Car and Cycle Cruze on Main.
Usually, only one side of Main Street has been closed off for the Cruzes. But for this last Cruze, both sides of Main Street will be closed, according to Mary Waters, who coordinates the Cruze with Joleen Larson. The east side of Main street will be closed from Pine Street to Locust Street, and the west side of Main Street will be closed from Maple Street to Walnut Street.
The participants will park their cars on either side of the street, and visitors can walk up and down and view all the cars. Waters said the Cruzes typically draw a number of classic cars, as well as a variety of other cars.
Olson's car will be parked in a place of honor near Veterans’ Park flagpole.
According to Waters this will be the first time a car has been highlighted at the cruze.
"The car is probably the only one like it in the world," Olson said. "So it's neat that people will see it."
He's just hoping for good weather.
For the full story, please see the Sept. 5 print edition of the River Falls Journal.