McKeen Motor Car restoration poised to begin in California

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The McKeen motorcar that a California teenager proposes restoring is shown passing through Ramona, Calif., on its way to storage in March 2016.
Paul Wood
RAMONA, Calif. — An 18-year-old from California who saved one of the very last McKeen motorcars on earth is taking the first major step to seeing the car roll again. Madison Kirkman is currently trying to raise $8,300 so construction can begin on a new side sill for San Diego, Cuyamaca & Eastern Railway car No. 1.

The side sill is the piece that connects the body to the frame of the car.

San Diego, Cuyamaca & Eastern No. 1, named the Cuyamaca, was one of 150 McKeen motorcars manufactured. The car worked in the San Diego area until 1916 when it was sold to the Yuma Valley Railroad. Eight years later it was sent to Alaska and was later used by the U.S. Army 714th Railway Battalion during World War II. After that it sat for decades and changed ownership multiple times until it was acquired by Anchorage Historical Properties, Inc.

Kirkman got interested in the McKeen cars in high school and tracked No. 1 down in Alaska. When he learned that the group in Anchorage was going to dispose of it, he cut a deal with them to take it off their hands. He then raised more than $14,000 to move the car to his home in California. Kirkman hopes to restore the car and take it to museums across the country.

Kirkman hopes to start working on the side sill as soon as the money for it is raised.

“It’s a labor intensive project,” Kirkman tells Trains News Wire.

More information is available online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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