Mt. Pulaskian, Cletus ("Clete") Clobus ... "a man of many talents"
... an auto mechanic, designer & builder, a house contractor, a musician ...
     CLOBES, Cletus H. 1901 - 1989. He once played in a band but don't remember his instrument. He once served as a mechanic on INDY 500 cars in the late 40's, early 50's. One driver he worked for was Bill Vukovich, who was killed during his attempt at a 3rd straight INDY 500 victory in 1955.  [Since the 1955 race was counted as part of the Formula One World Championship, Vukovich is also the first driver to be killed during a World Championship race.]
     Mr. Vukovich at least once stopped in Mt. Pulaski on the way to Indianapolis to visit with two car mechanic friends, having lunch at Bertoni's Restaurant. His friends: Cletus Clobus, and Jack Zimmerman, also an auto mechanic. 

     "As far as the world knows, the Clobes Special is the world’s first street rod. The car has a unique history and I sure wish it could talk. The builder of the car, Cletus Clobes, was a multi-talented person. He built his own home; he built his own motorcycle; and he built this car. It has many advanced features including: a dropped and filled axle, a z’ed frame, an adjustable chassis, split hood with locks, concealed radiator cap and gas cap, battery and horn under hood, telescoping mirror, rain gutters, steering column mounted, motometer and on and on and on. The car was purchased in 1989 out of the home where Cletus lived. It was parked there for over 40 years. The World War II gas ration stickers are still pasted inside on the windshield.
 
 
      "The car was sold at a walk-through-the-house sale for $800.00. It changed one hand and came into the possession of Bill Anderson of Hudson, Illinois. Bill called me and said 'You've gotta have this car', and I obliged. The car is in good running order and I’ve used it occasionally, including one trip to Mt. Pulaski, where the car was reunited with old Cletus, as pictured. Cletus was a man of many talents in his younger years. He is known in the music circle’s as a band drummer. Cletus played with Tiny Hill and many other Big Band's."

Pictured here in 1989, when one of his car's hand-me-down buyers drove it to Mt. Pulaski in search of Clete.  Clete is not happy, no doubt due to not receiving nearly as much for it as he knew it was worth in a sale several years prior. He died later this same year at the age of 88.   

     "At any rate, I watched an episode today in which Dennis toured a fairly new museum in Maggie Valley, NC. The name of the museum is "Wheels of Time" and it contains a collection of rare and vintage motorcycles and automobiles. The cool thing about the museum is that it is a "running museum", meaning everything in the place is in operational order. The guy who owns it also tears down and restores cars right in the museum. While Dennis Gage was there, he had a Duesenberg's engine dis-assembled. He said it is a great educational tool to show people how these old cars work."
     "The collection was started by Museum Founder Dale Walksler in 1969 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. In 1977 the collection moved to Mt. Vernon Illinois where it was housed at the Harley-Davidson dealership founded by Dale. As the collection matured it became obvious the potential for a truly incredible museum was at hand. In 2002, the collection moved to its present location in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. A 501c3 not-for-profit status was attained, and Wheels Through Time was on its way to preserving forever a most unique aspect of our American history."
     The house pictured here was built by Clete and is located on N. Washington St. across from the Mt. Pulaski Cemetery. I was told that he had to take out part of his basement/garage wall to get his car out.


     His house still proudly stands on N. Washington St. (east side), down by the Mt. Pulaski Cemetery.  Clete constructed this house himself.


*The quoted remarks are of several other folks that are acquainted with the museum and Clete's car.