In its Minnesota hometown, restored Tilt-A-Whirl car inspires smiles once again


The spirit of the Tilt-A-Whirl was alive and well in downtown Faribault Thursday afternoon.

After months of planning and a round of fundraising – plus some help from a couple of TV stars – a restored Tilt-A-Whirl car was unveiled and dedicated in the same southern Minnesota city it was invented (and for a long time, also built), the Faribault Daily News reports.

The restored iconic ride has a permanent place there now, at 128 Central Ave.

"It's a big deal," one resident told KEYC.

The Tilt-A-Whirl was invented in Faribault by Herbert Sellner and patented in 1926, the Star Tribune says. In 2011, after hundreds of the cars had been manufactured there, the company was sold to a Texas firm.

But the people of Faribault still have a soft, probably mildly dizzy spot for the symbol of fairs and fun that was born in their city.

As luck would have it, a couple of TV hosts have a similar love for American mechanical engineering: Husband and wife duo Rick and Kelly Dale, from the History Channel show "American Restoration."

Tami Schluter and Peggy Kellen with the Historic Hutchinson House got the ball whirling well over a year ago.

They'd found the beat-up, rusted Tilt-A-Whirl relic (seen above) at Harley's Auto Salvage, which agreed to donate the car. Schluter and Kellen then contacted the Dales and laid out their proposal, reported.

The Dales agreed, but Schluter and Kellen had to raise some money – they set a goal of $8,500 (the approximate cost of the restoration) and began taking donations in February of 2014, allowing the work to be done in the Dales' Las Vegas shop.

An "American Restoration" episode featuring the Tilt-A-Whirl car aired that July.

By August, the car was restored and ready to go, the Faribault Daily News reported. They just had to wait a bit longer for its permanent space in the city's downtown to be completed.

Ten months later that day came, with the Dales on-hand to see its official dedication.

"You have an amazing community! Glad we were there!" Kelly Dale tweeted Thursday.

The Historic Hutchinson House actually has a second car lined up awaiting restoration as well, it said on Facebook.

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