By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Operating a 1928 Model A Ford, Lyle Oestreich tours the state with his wife, Karen, in a car that began its journey in Howard Lake 87 years ago.
“I’m the fourth owner of the car,” Lyle noted. “It was purchased brand new in 1928, right here in Howard Lake.”
He purchased the car from an estate, and spent three years restoring the car to its former glory.
“It was in pretty bad shape,” Lyle commented. “And parts were real hard to find.”
He had to purchase parts for the car from junk yards and car parts stores between Texas and the East Coast, he said.
The parts are either all original 1928 Model A pieces, or are Ford-authorized remanufactured parts.
Lyle had to take the car completely apart, and brought the pieces to John’s Collision in Howard Lake to be painted.
“To do a good restoration, the vehicle has to be completely taken apart,” he added.
The pieces were painted with the original factory color.
Every part, even the tires, follows the original layout of the car.
“There is a tire company that manufactures antique tires,” Lyle said.
Right after retirement, and before he purchased the Model A, Lyle restored a 1947 Farmall Model H.
The tractor belonged to his uncle, Romeo Oestreich, originally.
“It wasn’t running at the time,” Lyle commented. “It was what we call a ‘grove tractor.’”
Lyle spent nine months looking for parts and restoring the antique Farmall tractor to its original look.
He shares the tractor with spectators at tractor shows, including the Wright County Fair and Stockholm Antique Tractor Show.
About the Oestreichs
Lyle Oestreich was raised on a farm in Howard Lake. He graduated from Howard Lake High School, which is also where he met Karen.
After high school, Lyle worked at Cokato Body and Paint Shop for seven years.
Following the body shop, he worked for the Wright County Highway Department for 33 years, until he retired in 2005.
Lyle and Karen belong to the Twin Cities Model A Ford Club, and attend car tours that span Minnesota and part of Wisconsin.
Lyle married Karen, a Winsted native, who is also a Howard Lake High School graduate, in 1968.
Karen worked at various places while raising their son, David, before beginning her most recent career as the receptionist at Herald-Journal Publishing, where she currently works.
The couple now has a daughter-in-law, Ruth, and a 13-year-old grandson, Drew, to keep them busy when they’re not cruising the state in their Model A.