A car that was part of a once thriving Iowa business in the early part of the 20th Century will return to the state soon. John Swanson is the executive director of the Iowa Transportation Museum in Grinnell which has located and aquired the Spaulding touring car. He says it’s one of about 14-hundred-and-81 that were built at the Spauling manufacturing site. He says it was built in 1913 and about 60-percent of the car is there. He says it’s believed to be the only model remaining. The museum is housed in the Grinnell buildings were the cars were made. Swanson says the Spaulding was like many cars of its day that were built using various parts from many suppliers. He says Henry Spaulding built the cars for about six years after transitioning from a successful buggy building business. He says the car was very luxurious, but he says the company never achieved mass production or developed a dealer network, and the company didn’t sell enough to stay profitable. Swanson says Henry Ford once tried to buy the company, but Ford and Spaulding couldn’t come to a deal. He says they have to rebuild the body of the car — and it won’t be easy.He says there’s no blueprints for the car and they’ll have to use pictures and try to figure out the measurements and build from scratch. He says they’re interested in anyone who might have photos of the interior of the car. Swanson says it’ll take some time before the car is ready to run again. He says it will probably take 18 months to two years and between 75 and 100-thousand dollars to restore the car. He says it will be driveable and on display once they get it done. The Iowa Transportation Museum is under development and located just west of the Grinnell downtown district. Three buildings are all that remain of the manufacturing site that once was the largest employer in Poweshiek County, and they are on the National Registry of Historic Places.
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