Dream car a good diversion
For some people like Norman Schmidt of Goessel, life has a way of making dream cars take a back seat to marriage, kids, family, etc., but when it finally becomes possible to get that special one, ownership is all that much sweeter.
“When I was a senior in high school we had to list our likes and dislikes for an assignment,” Schmidt said. “I put down my dream car was a ’65 Ford Falcon. That was something I always wanted to have.”
Schmidt’s dream car idea did not materialize until almost 40 years later, when he purchased a red ’64 Ford Futura.
“I’ve had this for 20 years now,” Schmidt said. “It’s the same car as a ’65 Falcon, so yes; this is my dream car from way back when.”
Schmidt, along with 23 other antique car owners, took part in the 5th Annual Father’s Day Classic Car Show on Sunday at Goessel’s Mennonite Heritage and Agriculture Museum. Museum board member Steve Banman said the group was pleased with the good turnout and the nice weather.
“Every year we get more cars here so it’s always interesting,” he said.
Car owners from Galva, Newton, and other surrounding communities joined with local Goessel owners in exhibiting their special cars made circa 1980.
For Schmidt, the event was a good reason to get the Futura out of the garage for a drive.
“It’s actually more a driving car than a show car, but it doesn’t get the miles that my regular vehicles get,” he said. “I like to take my wife out to eat in it every now and then. About once a month I like to take it out, check the fluids, and maybe go down to the Alexanderwohl church and back just to see how it’s running.”
Schmidt said caring for an antique car was about the same as caring for any other car, but extra maintenance was necessary, just because of the time the car spent setting.
“Whenever I get it out, I have to check all the fluids,” he said. “I check the radiator to make sure the water is full, check the brake lines and make sure there is fluid there, check the oil, that kind of thing.”
Schmidt is a maintenance expert, with 20 years experience as head maintenance supervisor for the Goessel school system. He is no longer the supervisor, but stays active with grounds-keeping and outdoor campus care. Prior to working for the school, Schmidt put in 17 years at Hay and Forage in Hesston.
“Having this car has always been a good diversion from the routine,” he said. “I enjoy working on it.”
Schmidt said the 1964 Futura was original, with the same engine, a 260 V-8, and the same automatic transmission.
“One thing I did different was to build a console for between the front seats,” he said. “I added a new radio and didn’t want to cut a hole in the dash, so I built my own holder for a radio, two speakers and cup holders. I wanted to leave the dash in the original state.”
Recently, Schmidt found it necessary to replace the rubber on the tires, as he had two blowouts close to home.
“They were still the same tires on it as when I bought it, so I knew it was time,” he said.
Schmidt also dressed up his red dream car with dice-topped door locks, as well as the typical dice squares dangling from the rear-view mirror.
“I found those dice that were actually designed as valve steam covers,” he said. “I just reworked them for the door locks and thought that looked pretty good.”
Schmidt said he enjoyed taking his car to shows once or twice a year, going as far as Salina once.
“I have to be careful not to get too far from home because the gas gauge doesn’t work,” he said. “But it runs good and I enjoy driving it.”