The 1912 Moline Dreadnought “35” was restored by the Friends of the Museum and is on display at the W. H. Over Museum. The vintage touring car was donated to the museum by Elwood Olsen, formerly of Sioux City, Iowa. The Dreadnought is the centerpiece of the museum’s “A Time to Remember” exhibit which is located in Heritage Hall.
The Moline Dreadnought was produced by the Moline Automobile Company of East Moline, Illinois. It was named after the H.M.S. Dreadnought, the British battleship which was commissioned in 1906 and opened a 50-year era when massive, heavily armed battleships dominated naval warfare. The Moline Automobile Company produced vehicles for the domestic market from 1904 until 1923 when it was purchased by General Motors.
The Moline Dreadnought was known for its reliability and endurance and sold for $1,700. in 1912. For a time, it was reputed to have “the longest stroke motor made in America.” The vehicle in the museum’s collection had three previous owners and its speedometer shows just over 7,500 miles of use. The Dreadnought was sold with a convertible top, windshield, speedometer, prestolite tank, extra tires, carbide gas head lamps, oak wheel spokes, running boards, exterior tool box, kerosene running and tail lamps, leaf spring suspension, oil injection system, twin/split block motor, rubber bulb air horn, hand crank, and right side steering.
The wooden wheels were restored and repainted by Mr. Doug Hanson, a professional wheelwright from Letcher, SD, who also rebuilt our Civil War cannon wheels. The vehicle has retained all of its original equipment, the engine still runs, and the car is in normal operating condition. .
Several interesting features were incorporated in the design of the Moline Dreadnought. The gasoline tank was mounted on the floor below the front seat, and the firewall was solid cherry wood. The front and rear wheels were different, and the 4 ply pneumatic tires were designed to fit 36×3 1/2 and 37×4 rims. The Universal Tire Company of Elizabethtown, PA, still produces tires from the original molds.
This sheet was written by Bart H. Wilsey & Dr. Robert L. Freese for the Friends of the Museum, W. H. Over Museum.