Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Owen Magnetic Restoration Update

by Nancy DeWitt
© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

Certainly one of the more interesting cars in our collection is our 1917 Owen Magnetic, one of about a dozen known extant. I have seen only a handful of other Owen Magnetics, including ones at Jay Leno's, the Nethercutt Museum (2), and the Tupelo Automobile Museum. Ours came to us from the J. Parker Wickham Collection, in fair shape with a burgundy paint job. We've had it out on the road several times. It drives great, but a crack in the top of the block was a concern.

Clockwise from top left: 1917 Model M-25 touring (formerly at Nethercutt); 1921 Model 60 phaeton (Nethercutt);  1916 M-25 touring 1916 (Leno); 1916 M-25 touring (Tupelo).

1916 Owen Magnetic Model O-36 7-passenger touring car
Photo courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society

Other Owen Magnetics can be found in the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection (right) and at the Louwman Museum.

In October of 2012, we sent our Owen south for a frame-off restoration and block repair at Murray Motor Car in Monroe, WA. It's been in the talented hands of Al and Paul Murray ever since, and boy, have their hands been full! They completely rebuilt the engine and had the block repaired by "Cast Iron Mike," the northwest's preeminent cast-iron welder. The water pump, carburetor, and magneto were rebuilt, a new muffler was installed, and the rear springs, real wheel bearings, and front hub seals were replaced. The car now has all new nickel plating, new windshield glass, new front floorboards, a new top, and new carpet in the rear.

The Murrays also completely stripped and repainted the car and powder coated the wheels. It still needs some finishing touches, but we'll have it ready for the Pacific Northwest Concours d'Elegance at the LeMay - America's Car Museum on September 7. We can't wait to see and drive the newly restored car, and hope to see you at the show! If you miss it, the Owen Magnetic should be back in Alaska in October.

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