Des Moines, Iowa — A vehicle used by the Iowa Highway Patrol when the organization was founded 80 years ago has been restored and returned to service, and a northwest Iowa State Trooper was involved in a re-dedication ceremony for the patrol car outside the statehouse Thursday morning. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate led the ceremony.
Babcock Miller is recognized as “The Mother of the Iowa Highway Patrol.” Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz of Orange City was selected to wear a uniform from that era so participants could get the complete experience of car and trooper from 1935. Kurtz tells us that while it was an honor to participate, he was selected basically because he fit the uniform.
Kurtz says to tell the truth, the boots were pretty small for him too.
He says the car is not a replica, and has never been sold to a private party — and remains owned by the State of Iowa. Secretary of State Pate says volunteers helped restore the 1935 Ford Tudor, which had been donated to the state and spent several decades in the basement of the State Historical Building.
Students in the Des Moines Schools’ automotive technology program and students at Des Moines Area Community College worked to restore the vehicle over the past year. Pate wouldn’t speculate what the 80-year-old car might be worth.
Trooper Kurtz says it was a fun experience, but it was also meaningful.
Kurtz says the 1935 Iowa Highway Patrol vehicle will make appearances in parades and other events around the state, but it remains to be seen if the car will make it up to northwest Iowa anytime soon.