Friday, April 16, 2010

Midwest Horse Fair Weekend

There are not too many equine events in America that rival the Midwest Horse Fair. The event starts today and runs through the weekend in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center. The event attracts over 50,000 spectators over the course of the weekend. If it has anything to do with a horse, it's there. Take a day to hit the fair. It’s quite the experience.

The Mustang Marathon is another one of the available options in our WCC lineup. This Mustang single horse marathon is FEI in weight and width. Weight is 350 lbs. It is priced at $7,995 including shafts. It performs as great as it looks.

Our Trap Sleigh project is in pieces. The body is really solid other than a couple of cracked panels that are being replaced. As you can see we have the lions share of the body stripped. We have some areas that will go into hard coat sealer and we should have the body in primer early next week.

The front seat sections that flip upward have been removed and stripped as well. This is the left side seat. They are in nice solid condition. Bob has the dings and nicks filled with polyester and this part is ready for primer.

This is the other side. It has been pretty much stripped and as you can see has some very nice detail. The louvered panels really add a lot of dimension to the vehicle. The rounded top of that side panel was a fairly typical detail on Traps such as this.

All of the wood parts needed for upholstery have been stripped and are ready for primer. As I mentioned the other day our plan is getting all the parts that are upholstered in paint first. That way we will be working on upholstery as the rest of the project moves along.

The runners are coming along nicely. They are just about completely stripped. The other side of the dash still has paint on that needs to be removed. By the end of the day on Monday I would think that should be ready for primer too.

While you are traveling to and from the Horse Fair stop by our showroom. We are a little over a half an hour from the Horse Fair site. Sounds like it will be a lovely weekend in Wisconsin.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Season Is Upon Us

If you have not had the chance lately take a look at our website. We have just completed a pretty serious redux and I’m quite pleased with it. We are adding some new features that we will be expanded as time goes by. We have included a new video page with some of our favorites. You can find that on the main menu. Speaking of video Tim Maloy has another new one out called Montage. Kind of a collage of 2009 competition in slow motion. Very cool and I have attached it below for your viewing pleasure.

Driving Montage from Tim Maloy on Vimeo.

Now that I have you all fired up about the 2010 driving season you will need a new vehicle too. We are in the process of building up our WCC inventory so keep watch for new arrivals. We are putting together a container as we speak and at this point we are focusing on the WCC Mustang lineup.

We are a few months out on receipt of our container but we will be bringing in some new inventory a little sooner than that. Shown above is the Mustang M200 Compact Wagonette. Coming in at 440 pounds this vehicle works well for both singles and pairs. Shown with pneumatic tires it’s also available with solid rubber tires. It sells complete with your choice of pole or shafts for $7,995. Equipped with both for and additional $550 and set up with two sets of wheels for an additional $1,200. This carriage is an ideal combination training, pleasure and marathon carriage.

As the week progresses I post more photos of the WCC Marathon carriages. Meanwhile back the ranch we are just in the process of diving into the Trap Sleigh restoration. The seats have been removed and we are in the early process of removing all the metal parts for blasting.

Our schedule is pretty tight on this project. We have a little less than six weeks to pull this project from here to the finished restoration. Part of the plan is beginning with the seats so we can get at the upholstery while the guys at the shop are still working on the rest. The seats have been pulled out, cushions removed and paint stripping will begin tomorrow.

This is the rein rail and the arm rests removed form the body. These parts will be plated and so they are going to be shipped off this week.

In the trim shop Ryanne is going ahead pulling together what she can so she is ready to upholster as soon as parts are ready. The existing fabric was a green wool broadcloth which we will be matching both in fabric and color. She has sewn up enough piping and webbing to trim out all the seat cushions.

Other than that a pretty uneventful weekend. Worked around home on Saturday and picked up a load of hay on Sunday. What a great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Loading hay. woohoo.

Have a great Monday!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Slow Boil Just A Simmering Away

The atmosphere in little ol’ Columbus is running at a slow boil. I like that. A steady slow boil. It is such a change of pace from where we have been. From ice cold to boiling over the pot and spilling all over the place. For years our little town was a political hot potato. Fighting, name calling, kicking people out of office, and just a whole lot of negative energy being spent unproductively. Of course the television stations in Madison just loved the ruckus. Always knew there was something happening at City Hall when the satellite truck was parked out front. Of course there are always unhappy people in any community. Always finding something wrong with whatever is going on at any given time. But Columbus is changing for the better.

It strikes me that City Hall has a vision. Very little positive can happen without a vision for the future. I can’t say as I have really felt that way until now. Projects are moving forward. People are communicating effectively and harmony is much more prevalent. Speaking of projects our City Council approved a resolution last night to support a major downtown redevelopment concept proposed by the CDA. This is a huge step in the right direction for the betterment of the entire City. Hat’s off to the CDA, Council and City Administration for taking this project forward. With all this forward thought I decided to share a photo of the downtown from sometime in the 40’s I would guess. What a great image.

So what’s on deck? We are starting in on this nice little Trap Sleigh. This unique and elegant cutter was practical, functional and attractive all at the same time. If you look at the above photo it shows this nice sporty two person sleigh.

From the rear it has a nice deck lid but if you look closely there are some joints in the back deck.

Here we see the essence of a Trap. There are Trap carriages and Trap sleighs all though I’ve seen much more of the carriage variety over the years. This sleigh has very attractive lines and here we see how it all functions. Both sides of the body swing upward to create an opening to the rear seat. The rear deck folds up as well to create that rear seat.

This is what the sleigh looks like in its four passenger variation. The term Trap is derived from your inability to exit from the rear seat once you are seated. Basically you are trapped until someone up front lets you out.

Some very nice details to this piece. All of which will be recreated as we complete the restoration. We will be following this project pretty closely over the next few weeks so I hope you enjoy the process.

Check out our website. We have given it a new look and I will be adding some interesting features over the next month or two. We have also added a new domain The old still works and will for some time to come. Changing the name of a business is a long process. Things are slow boiling at Frey Carriage Company too as spring comes in early.

Have a great Wednesday!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Columbus First National Bank

How in the world did I end up liking history? Is that something that just comes with age or what? Maybe it’s a connection with something tangible. I’m not sure but when I was a kid history was the most dreaded class of the entire day. Could not stand it and could see little point in studying things of the past. Of course in High School I could see no point in studying about much of anything for that matter so go figure.

This is a historic shot of the First National Bank Building in Downtown Columbus. I’m really not prepared to write anything of substance about this today but I really need to pull together all the loose ends I have about this building. It has an interesting history both as a bank and in the afterlife since. I’m thinking it’s been close to twenty years since it has been a bank. It is currently vacant but something cool is going to happen here in 2010 one way or another. There are a couple of new things waiting in the wings for this old building and either way it will be fun.

We restored this sleigh last year for a client in Pennsylvania. It was a local treasure from a prominent family in their area and we were proud to bring it back to life.

Like most projects it starts with reducing it to a heap. Everything comes apart. The wood runners were solid but if you look closely you can see the upper dash support is broken. That particular break needed to be addressed before we installed the new dash.

The outer skin of the body was in really sad condition. We ended up replacing the majority of it using the original for patterns. Here we have the body in hard coat sealer awaiting the first sanding.

The sleigh turned out beautifully. The original colors were black and maroon which we matched. The patterns of the original mohair upholstery were matched in the new upholstery as well.

A cream stripe really set it off. There were remnants of original striping still in place which we duplicated. The sleigh was delivered just in time for Christmas and it spent the winter in their home next to the fireplace.

Was 80 degrees in Wisconsin yesterday and more of the same today. It is surprisingly dry though for this time of year. It sounds as though there may be a little rain on the way for tomorrow which will be nice. It will be the first official warm rain of the season. That should put the grass into overdrive.

Have a great Weekend!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

So What’s New?

Well quite a bit I guess. There is a lot of energy developing in little ol’ Columbus on a number of fronts. First is the renewing interest in the historic downtown. Like many small towns the heart of Columbus has been battered and bruised. Many people including ourselves have committed ourselves to the preservation and redevelopment of the downtown. The City as a whole along with City Government and the CDA appear to be on the cusp of a substantial downtown redevelopment project that would be a big step in the right direction. That is really exciting.

Carriages and driving are another big topic in Columbus. Over the years the Columbus Carriage Classic has been a signature carriage event for our community. Since that time a winter sleigh rally has been developed and coming on Memorial Day weekend a carriage driving clinic. Numerous clinics will be hosted at the newly formed Midwest Equestrian Center in Columbus. You can find more information at

There are some new arrivals here as well. The very top photo is a replica of a Brewster Dos a Dos Phaeton built by Frey Carriage Company. It was shown successfully for one season and is now a trade on another new vehicle. It’s in like new condition and sells complete with shafts and lamps for $7,995. The photo above is an Extension Top Surrey in recently restored condition. It is a very solid carriage, looks beautiful and is all ready to drive. It sells complete with pole, shafts and lamps for $2,995.

This Spider Phaeton is as beautiful a vehicle of it’s type that I have seen. It epitomizes the elegance and beauty of a traditional Spider Phaeton. It was built by Flandrau & Company of New York, NY. It is wearing an older restoration that could be turned out or also could be a good candidate for complete restoration. The lamps are modern reproduction. It sells complete with shafts, splinter bar, no pole but includes the lamps at $27,500.

Here we have a very nice original Extension Top Surrey. It is rock solid with beautiful original leather upholstery in excellent condition. It could use a new top as you can see but that is something that the professionals at Frey carriage Company can restore. The dash and fenders are all original. A nice carriage with shafts and original electric lamps for $1,795.

And lastly this very early and rare single horse Chaise. Perfectly restored with full leather top and upholstery. Body slung on leather. This rare carriage would make for an excellent investment for your carriage collection. It sells complete as shown for $13,995.

One more interesting Columbus tidbit. I am just fascinated by the Badger Motor Car Company. This business was formed late in 1909 and folded by the end of 1912. In those three years it set out to manufacture automobiles and that they did. Unfortunately they could not survive the long haul but the short history of the company is a who’s who of local Columbus lore. In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the production of their first vehicle I have developed a commemorative logo that we are using on T shirts and other clothing items. We will have these items available at the showroom along with a growing history of the Badger Motor Car Company.

Have a great Thursday!