Surprises and Fun While Researching

On a visit to Iowa for some research, I had the fun of visiting the Antique Car Museum of Iowa in Coralville, not far from the Amana Colonies. I’d never before stayed in Coralville and wasn’t even aware of the car museum, but visiting seemed a natural since it was within walking distance of our hotel.

Needless to say, I took lots of pictures. Even if you aren’t a fan of antique cars, you’d enjoy the cars in this museum. Making the visit even more fun was the fact that Lorna Seilstad, who was with me on the trip, found an REO that she was featuring in one of her novels, When Love Calls. She had chosen the 1908 Reo Gentleman’s Roadster for her male protagonist, Lincoln, to drive. Although the one in the museum was a 1909 model, we.

What fun it was when we discovered they had one at the museum.  The Roadster cost $1250 for a twin-cylinder and $650 for a single-cylinder, according to one ad. Another said it had a list price of $1040, with top, side curtains, and storm front. It had a top speed of 45 mph, and it was cosmetically racier than other automobiles with its longer fenders, longer hood, and seat set further back.  It had a 12-gallon gas tank, two speeds, and reverse. Always nice to have reverse!

But, below is the car that surprised me the most–a Sears 1912 Runabout. I honestly never knew that Sears produced cars. However, they manufactured cars in Chicago between 1908 and 1912. This particular model was sold through the Sears catalogue as #21R333 and sold for $445. It came with two seats in the front and room in the rear for another seat or more cargo space.

Note the tiller-type steering wheel on the left-hand side of the vehicle and buggy configuration with no doors. Top speed? 10 miles per hour. I learned this vehicle (still in original condition) was found in an enclosed grain bin of a grain storage facility along the Texas-Oklahoma border.

And this was the runner-up for surprises. For any camping enthusiasts among us, here’s a car, a Cadillac, that had a built-in bunk bed for those camping trips or unexpected stops along the road for a rest! I’d never seen one of these, either. What fun it would be to put one of these in a book!

And speaking of camping, do tell me what fun things you’re planning for your spring and summer fun! Any camping in your future? If so, I hope your accommodations are more comfortable than those offered in this picture.

May you find joy in the beauty of nature as the seasons change. ~Judy

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