- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

NEW STRAITSVILLE, Ohio (AP) - His big faith will sustain him after his tiny cars are gone, according to Joe Blosser.

Parting with the vehicles, however, won’t be easy.

“I’d like to see them go to somebody who really cares for them,” he said.

Blosser, 80, is a great-grandfather, a pastor and an admirer of micro cars.

When I pulled into his driveway in New Straitsville, Ohio, he had five of them lined up, like puppies in need of a good home. Four are in pristine condition; the fifth is partly restored.

Blosser, a lifelong tinkerer who built his own house, has never made a habit of leaving projects undone. Yet the prostate cancer diagnosed almost 20 years ago has invaded his bones, giving him constant pain.

“I just can’t do it anymore,” he said.

His love of little cars began with a childhood visit to the factory in Athens, Ohio, where two entrepreneurs had started producing the King Midget.

A tiny car promoted with tiny ads in magazines such as Popular Science, the King Midget was made from 1946 to 1970. It has a cult following among car enthusiasts such as Blosser.

“You could park two, maybe three of these in the space of one big car,” he said.

Blosser has restored and sold several Midgets through the years. His remaining fleet includes two Midgets, a Midget prototype, an amusement-park bumper car that he modified into a road-worthy vehicle and a red car he built from scratch.

He is saving one of the Midgets for his daughter and only child, and hoping to sell the rest.

Blosser did all the work on the cars in his shop- a handyman’s paradise of tools and spare parts that stands on his 3-acre property just outside New Straitsville, where coal was once king.

The son of a miner was born less than a mile from where he lives. He has been married to Bernice for 60 years.

“I got me a good one,” he said.

In 1980, she told him they’d made the last payment on a refrigerator. He told her the time had come to build her the house he’d always promised.

The house, which took two years to build, doesn’t have a bent nail in all 1,500 square feet, he said.

Through the years, Blosser worked for a Ford dealership, the State Highway Patrol and an electrician.

His most important occupation, though, is pastor of the Old Straitsville Baptist Church, where he still preaches on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights. The church has fewer than 10 members but, like the cars, occupies a big place in his heart.

“We’re going to do it as long as the Lord wants us to,” he said.

When his health problems weigh on him, Blosser still likes to retreat to his shop- a home of rebuilt engines, a homemade ooga horn and other devices and contraptions that sprang from his talented hands.

Seemingly invigorated by the cars around him, he doesn’t sound like an 80-year-old man contemplating his mortality. He sounds like an enthusiast itching to hit the road in a little car.

After he cranked the ignition of the red car he built, and it started immediately, he took it for a quick spin around his front yard.

“It’s got a Honda motorcycle engine in it,” he said proudly.

“It’ll lay rubber.”


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, https://www.dispatch.com

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