Mark Schueller has taken his car to Mike Dimmer several times, but last week was special.
It was Schueller’s final visit with his 1960 Chrysler 300F hardtop.
The Town of Grafton resident rebuilt the engine and had it ready for the final body work to be done at Dimmer’s MD Classic Auto Restorations in Port Washington.
“This is a big day for me. This is huge. I feel blessed that the day has finally come,” Schueller said.
Months from now, Schueller expects to ride off in a 56-year-old vehicle that will look brand new.
Schueller bought the car on the spot in 1997 from his boss at Milwaukee School of Engineering. The car had been stored for 20 years.
“Nothing worked. Every brake on every wheel was frozen,” Schueller said.
The car used to billow smoke so badly it would kill mosquitoes, said Jeff Higgins, president of the Rods-N-Relics Car Club Ltd. The fenders had holes so big he could stick his whole hand inside.
“I had the long-term vision,” Schueller said. “Everyone tells me I’m crazy. Maybe I am.”
A retired electrical engineer and part-time teacher, Schueller got it running. He once drove it to a Chrysler 300 Club meeting in northern Wisconsin.
“I was nervous we would get there and wouldn’t get back,” he said.
They had a close call, but not because the car wasn’t running well. On the way home, Schueller’s wife Judy asked to get the car to 100 mph. Schueller wasn’t sure the car could do it, but it eclipsed the three-figure speed on I-43.
As Schueller let the car coast back to normal speed, he saw a police car. He knows he would have been stopped had the officer appeared minutes earlier.
It wasn’t his first near miss with law enforcement and cars. At Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn., in the early 1960s, Schueller, a self-described motorhead, and a friend bought and fixed up a 1929 Ford 5-window coupe, complete with a 1954 Oldsmobile engine.