TOWN OF SPRINGFIELD — Chris Beebe’s automotive resume is storied.
For added than 45 years he founded, endemic and operated Foreign Car Specialists on Regent Artery in Madison, has raced a advanced ambit of vehicles, formed as a antagonism instructor, accounting for automotive publications and developed amalgam vehicles, including the ancestor for the Chevy Volt. From 2008 to 2011, he and a aggregation alike competed for the Automotive X-Prize.
Beebe’s latest accomplishment is testing all of his skills, backbone and his 73-year-old knees and back.
A 1964 Bond from the Midwest Microcar Architecture still holds mud on its exoteric from the August flood. The agent is now in a boondocks of Springfield branch ability repair.
Since backward August, Beebe has been self-sequestered in a accumulator afford on a acreage arctic of Middleton and aloof west of Ashton area he is alive to dry out, adjustment and restart 15 cars and 13 motorcycles from the Midwest Microcar Architecture in Mazomanie that were damaged in backward August aback torrential rains abounding the village.
Water accomplished the basal of the windows of the museum’s celebrated barrio forth Crescent St. and abounding not alone the commuter compartments of the cars but additionally the engines, lights and any added atrium beneath the waterline. And the baptize was far from clean. It independent not alone mud, bits and acceptable sewage, but additionally oil from the vehicles. So aback the baptize receded, every German Messerschmidt and Heinkel Bubblecar, East German Trabant and English Bond were not alone blood-soaked but larboard covered in a blur of oil.
A branch in the boondocks of Springfield is abounding with flood-damaged cars from the Midwest Microcar Architecture in Mazomanie. The cartage are actuality repaired afterward a flood in August.
Even the Amphicar, a car that doubles as a boat, was damaged. It bootless to float and the seals on its doors were compromised, which abounding the interior.
“I’ve apparent aggregate actuality but I haven’t apparent the internals of abounding of these so it’s been a absolute abrupt experience,” said Beebe, as he took a breach from charwoman the amateur for a French-made Renault 4CV. “You aloof accept to be acute as to what baptize got into what. It’s absolutely ugly, but at atomic it’s not alkali water, which is abundant added corrosive.”
Carlo Krause, architect of the Midwest Microcar Architecture in Mazomanie, takes a breach on the arena attic of one of the museum’s two buildings. Krause began accession microcars about 30 years ago.
The baptize bound receded and the cartage were pulled from the six inches of carrion that covered the architecture floors afore they were hauled in assorted trips by bivouac 22 afar to the acreage shed. But the apology efforts are complicated by the architecture of the vehicles.
The motorcycles are adequately beeline advanced but the microcars accept bound admission to the agent compartments so Beebe wears knee pads and a arch lamp. In some cases he has to clamber through interiors to ability baby openings in the aback of a agent to area the agent is located.
And the engines themselves, in abounding cases, are adored lawnmower engines. That agency there are no cesspool plugs so motors charge to be agee to drain, which absolutely isn’t an advantage aback they’re installed in a car body. Putting the cartage on a lift doesn’t assignment because of their odd designs, although Beebe anticipation about appropriation the cars and afresh adhering straps and inverting the vehicles. But because of the logistics, he has instead alleged to assignment into the engines baby cesspool holes that are afresh threaded and acquainted already the baptize is removed.
Chris Beebe works on a water-damaged amateur from a Renault 4CV microcar. For about two months, Beebe has been demography afar engines of cartage abounding in August at the Midwest Microcar Architecture in Mazomanie.
Humidifiers and admirers accept been consistently active in the boutique and at the architecture buildings, while the seats and added autogenous coverings accept been removed and are now laid out on the attic of the afford until they can be repaired and put aback into the cartage by Vic’s Auto Upholstery in DeForest. Tags with abundant addendum accept been absorbed to anniversary car and motorcycle advertence what has been done so far in the apology process.
“He’s a allowance from God,” Carlo Krause, a longtime car beneficiary who opened the architecture in 2015, said of Beebe. “You’d never acquisition addition guy about actuality that alike comes aing to what this guy is doing. I about kiss the guy every time I see him.”
Doug Heideman works on a Russian motorcycle afterwards it was in a flood in August at the Midwest Microcar Architecture in Mazomanie.
Krause, 78, stered his car-collecting amusement afterwards bloom problems affected him to retire about 20 years ago from his business designing and affairs apparatus for automatic processing machinery. His father, who additionally was an electrical engineer, started the business in the basement of his home in Lake Geneva. Krause, who lives aloof alfresco of Middleton, and his son, Sven, got the abstraction for the architecture afterwards some of their microcars were showcased at a three-day car appearance at Discovery World in Milwaukee about bristles years ago. The display drew added than 4,000 people.
The Midwest Microcar Architecture in Mazomanie opened in 2015 in a above blacksmith boutique and broadcast to a additional adjacent architecture in 2017. The architecture is bankrupt until acceptable aing bounce afterwards an August flood acquired cogent accident to the barrio and collection.
The aboriginal architecture architecture was purchased by Krause in 2015 and is amid in the above blacksmith boutique of John Parman, who congenital the ability beyond the artery from his 1864 brick home that still stands beyond the street. All of the cartage on the arena attic of the architecture were damaged but 10 microcars on the additional attic abide in abode and were unscathed. The of the accumulating is about 25 yards to the west in the Boondocks of Mazomanie Hall, complete in 1878 but now endemic by the village. Krause began leasing amplitude in the architecture in 2017, fabricated improvements to the anatomy and had cars and motorcycles on the arena attic and about 15 motorcycles on the additional floor.
Some of the accumulating at the Midwest Mircocar Architecture in Mazomanie able accident from the August flood. These cars are on the additional attic of a above blacksmith shop.
Most of the 30 microcars in Krause’s chargeless architecture are from the 1950s and 1960s. He alike has a few bicycles with motors congenital into their rear wheels. The museum, area amercement are estimated at added than $300,000, acceptable won’t reopen until aing spring. Meanwhile, dumpsters and architecture trailers dot the apple area dozens of homes and bartering backdrop abiding flood damage.
“If you don’t accept annihilation active and you anytime appetite to advertise it, they’re worthless,” Ingrid Krause, Carlo’s wife, said during a airing through the damaged barrio in Mazomanie. “What’s sad is that aggregate was basically in aboriginal condition.”
Doug Heideman, high left, works on a flood-damaged Russian motorcycle, while seats and added upholstery from flood-damaged microcars are advance out on the attic of a branch in the boondocks of Springfield.
Microcars became accepted modes of bargain busline afterwards World War II and were congenital by manufacturers beyond Europe, including by companies that had been authoritative aggressive accessories during the war. Most of the aboriginal microcars catholic no faster than 50 mph with 200cc to 250cc, one-cylinder engines, while afterwards models sported hardly beyond motors that added speeds to added than 70 mph.
Beebe had visited the Microcar Architecture aloof a anniversary above-mentioned to the flood and accomplished out to Carlo Krause anon afterwards acquirements of the museum’s plight. Aloof canicule afterwards he was at Krause’s acreage shed, which holds added cars in Krause’s collection. Alone now it resembles a alive architecture of repair. Doors and baby hoods to the cartage are propped accessible and alike two months afterwards the flood, dehumidifiers and admirers are consistently active in an accomplishment to draw out damp from the vehicles.
The Midwest Microcar Architecture in Mazomanie is in accretion approach and bankrupt afterwards floods in August damaged cars and motorcycles central the museum’s two barrio forth Crescent Street. These motorcycles, on the additional attic of the celebrated Boondocks of Mazomanie Hall, complete in 1878, able damage.
Beebe and his assistant, Doug Heideman, who formed at Foreign Car Specialists above-mentioned to its closing in 2014, accept been application rags and charwoman solutions to aish mud and oil but accept additionally ablaze agent compartments and alternation cases with a admixture of isopropyl booze and WD-40. Wiring has been repaired and generators, carburetors and annihilation abroad that holds baptize accept been removed (if possible) and dried.
“There was baptize in everything,” Beebe said. “It’s taken a lot to get automated actuality aback alive again.”
Tags with adjustment advice are absorbed to the flood-damaged cartage from the Midwest Microcar Museum. This tag is absorbed to a German-made Heinkel microcar actuality repaired in a branch arctic of Middleton.
But the accomplishment to accomplish the microcars accomplished afresh has complex some sleuthing by Beebe, aback there are few assets in the U.S. for acclimation the tiny vehicles. So aback Beebe had a catechism about how abundant oil was captivated in the alternation case of a Messerschmidt, he went to a mud-stained associates advertisement of a Messerschmidt club that was salvaged from the flood waters. Beebe was able to acquisition buzz numbers for two of the four bodies in the U.S. listed in the 1978 booklet. One of them, from Florida, alleged back.
“He was so nice. It was absolutely great,” Beebe said. “There are no manuals for this stuff.”
Barry Adams covers bounded account for the Wisconsin State Journal. Send him account for On Wisconsin at 608-252-6148 or by email at [email protected]
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