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‘Fun to tool around town’

Roll-in brings enthusiasts, vehicles downtown

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Sean Donahoe of New Ulm stands next to his 1964 King Midget car at the New Ulm Car & Bike Roll-In on Minnesota Street Friday.

NEW ULM — Classics, muscle cars, trucks and motorcycle enthusiasts of all ages participated in the inaugural downtown New Ulm Car & Bike Roll-In Friday.

Vehicles were parked up to an hour before the event began at 4:30 p.m.

Many people sat on folding chairs in shade, visited and sipped beverages on the west side of Minnesota Street as enthusiasts continued to arrive.

One of the most unusual vehicles was a red, 1964 King Midget micro car owned by Sean Donahoe of New Ulm.

“My aunt originally bought it for my grandpa in Chatfield. I later bought it from her and fully restored it,” said Donahoe.

The 700-pound, two-door, two-passenger convertible without a seat belt is powered by a rear-mounted, 1-cylinder, 9 horsepower air cooled Wisconsin engine. Production lasted from 1946 to 1970.

“It’s very loud, but its fun to tool around town in it. It could go about 50 mph on the highway. It goes 5 mph up Center Street,” he added.

Donahoe owns other classic cars including a 1968 Chrysler Imperial, 1974 Buick Regal and a 1962 Mercury Meteor.

Norm Kopp of New Ulm drew particular attention from older enthusiasts when he parked his 1907 Cadillac Model K, two-seat runabout with a 1-cylinder, 10 hp engine, five brass lamps, and diamond-tufted seats.

“It’s fun seeing people enjoy these old cars. Most of them became scrap metal for the World War I and II war effort,” Kopp said.

“I bought it in parts from a guy near Stillwater and put it together,” he added.

Last summer, he drove the car about 120 miles in the 37th Annual New London to New Brighton Antique Car Run.

“It vibrates a lot, but I drove it about 20 mph most of the time on the car run,” Kopp said.

Lonnie Spaeth of New Ulm drove his forest green 1971 Dodge Charger 500 to the roll-in.

“I bought it new for $3,600. I’ve driven it 162,000 miles since then including trips back home from Texas and Colorado, when I was in the U.S. Air Force,” said Spaeth.

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