HARTINGTON — Memories can be a strong compellant in life.
For Chuck Feilmeier, memories of the 1960 Ford Falcon he bought from the Ken Miller dealership in that same year always stuck with him. Even after he sold it for a four-door Chevrolet to drive around his wife and five children.
Feilmeier always said he wanted another 1960 Falcon if he could find one.
“I always said after that if I can find one I am going to restore it,” he said. “No matter where we went, if I saw some cars at a farm place I would pull in and ask if they had any Falcons. No one did until one of my sons worked out in Kearney and saw one on his drive back from skiing. I took the mile marker down and called the next day.”
Feilmeier was able to buy the car, but at the time it had a 350 Chevy engine inside. He ended up buying only the shell of the car and then was able to find parts at a salvage yard along with numerous other cars that he pulled parts from along the way.
“It took me 15 years to get it completed.”
The car was a true labor of love.
He wanted to replicate the one he first owned in 1960, from the white top, to the red paint, to the Ken Miller dealership chrome plate displayed on the back.
“I loved the car that I had, and I just decided if I could find another one I was going to restore it.”
He slowly was able to work on it over the years. During those years, his brother-in-law died of cancer, and Feilmeier said that was a bit of a wake-up call to continue working on the car and finish it.
Feilmeier credits his son-in-law, Michael Fischer, Steve Samelson and Andy Uhing for their extensive help with the restoration.
“Steve Samelson at the Auto Hospital has passed away now, but he did the entire paint job and body work on the whole thing. Then, Andy Uhing, the upholstery man, he has passed away now as well, but he did the upholstery for me. I get more compliments on that interior and the paint job when I take it to the shows.”
Once restored, Feilmeier began showing his car at local shows, never winning first place though. He says often a classic Thunderbird would beat him out.
In July, Feilmeier decided to travel to Wichita, Kan., for the 39th Annual National Falcon Club of America National Convention.
He took his car down to Nationals from July 18-21, winning first in his class. It was the first year they had a class specifically for the 1960 Falcon.
The first year the Falcon was made was 1960, and Feilmeier winning first place in the inaugural year of the 1960 class gave him and his car their first win at a show.
There were over 275 Falcons competing in 15 different categories, with Feilmeier winning in a class that featured five other cars.
In true irony, Feilmeier was not there to accept his reward. He had to travel back to Hartington before the awards banquet.
“We didn’t get to stay for the banquet that night,” he said. “We had our grandson and his parents with us and they needed to get back to get him on a plane. They said they would send it to us if we won something. A week went by and it came in the mail.”
Chuck Feilmeier loves his 1960 Ford Falcon, and when the weather is nice, it can be seen cruising around Hartington or on the highway going toward Yankton.
Feilmeier said he hopes he can take the Falcon back to the National Falcon Club of America car show again.
The 40th Annual FCA National Meet will be held from July 11-13, 2019, at the Vintage Hotel in Winter Park, Colo.
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