Wayne Hansmann’s collection began with 1959 Galaxie 500 convertible
by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Wayne Hansmann had always wanted a convertible. In 1969, he had the chance to buy a 1959 Fort Galaxie 500 convertible and he took it.
What was originally the family’s second car evolved into the first of many classic cars in 1973, when the Lone Eagle Auto Club was formed in Little Falls. Hansmann has been club president since 1998.
Hansmann has 10 Ford cars in various stages of restoration. But the 1959 convertible has a special place in his heart.
“It’s unique, having a straight stick,” he said.
He is the car’s third owner. The person who bought it new from Tenvoorde Ford in St. Cloud found him at a car show years back. After a few questions back and forth, they realized it was the same car.
Hansmann restored it once, painting it blue. The car is now back to its original color, white, with a red and white interior.
In the early 1980s, he added a yellow 1974 Ford XL convertible to the collection. Eventually, he also purchased a car he had previously owned, a 1967 Galaxie 500.
“I kept track of where it was and figured that sooner or later I could probably get a deal on it,” said Hansmann. “We have a photo of our daughter standing by it when she was a year-and-a-half old.”
Some of Hansmann’s other cars include a 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 retractable hardtop, a 1956 Fairlane Club sedan, a 1950 Ford Club coupe with flathead V-8 engine (straight stick with overdrive), a 1955 F100 pickup, a 1967 Galaxie 500 four-door sedan, a 1977 F250 pickup with four-wheel drive and a 1984 Ford LTD Crown Victoria.
“The original owner was a 104-year-old lady who was the original owner,” said Hansmann. “I washed it, changed the oil and filter and drove it on a 1,000-mile trip. I never had any trouble with it, and it got 21.5 miles per gallon.”
Hansmann plans to finish restoring a 1964 Galaxie 500 XL fastback this coming winter.
“The engine is done and I have most of the parts bought,” he said. “I found a new front end at a swap meet to put on it.”
Hansmann has his own hoist and does his own welding.
“I’m not an expert, but I get the job done,” he said.
There are a lot of remanufactured car parts for all models available, said Hansmann.
“You can’t get rubber, though — you have to make your own weatherstripping,” he said.
Seven pedal cars are waiting high on a shelf for their turns being restored.
A 1978 Harley Davidson electric golf cart looks shiny-new after three of Hansmann’s grandchildren helped with the refurbishing.
In March, Hansmann and his wife, Karen, hosted a car tour with groups from Bemidji, Alexandria, Brainerd and Long Prairie participating.
“We go to car shows, parades and car cruises,” Hansmann said. “Sometimes we get calls to use the cars for weddings or anniversaries.”
When it comes to getting classic cars ready to store for the winter, there are several things to be done.
Hansmann recommends filling with gas and using a gas treatment such as Sta-Bil, making sure it runs through to the carburetor. The oil and filter should be changed and all fluid levels checked. Antifreeze should be tested and the tires filled with air.
“I wash and wax each one and vacuum the interior. Then I run them until the engine temp is brought up so that the exhaust system dries out,” he said. “Once each car is put away, the batter is unhooked and the car cover goes on.”
A sign on the wall of Hansmann’s shop says, “I started out with nothing. I still have most of it left.”
But in the meantime, it’s a lot of fun restoring the cars.
“Old cars are fun because they are so easy to work on,” he said. “It’s all about the fun of going for a drive with the top down.”
For more information, call (320) 632-6849.