MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the middle of prairie country, there is a town affectionately known as the “Goose Capitol.”
A nice, little nickname for a place where things were not always so nice, according to Watson resident Todd Vogel.
“It was dried up. Half the housing was empty and there was nothing on Main Street,” Todd said.
Watson has luckily changed for the better over the past decade or so. The Goose Capitol once again has a ballfield that teams want to play on. And Main Street now looks a little bit like Maybury.
“We haven’t dried up and blown away in the wind. It’s kind of nice,” Todd said.
Part of the credit for the new look can be given to an old piece of Americana.
“I’m one of the few that looks forward to Monday morning,” said Ed Lipinkski.
Ed had a 9-to-5 job, but when he got laid off, it gave him a chance to turn a life-long passion and talent into a living.
“My main goal in life is not how much money I can make, but how I can help people,” Ed said.
Before he could even drive, Ed was a farm kid who loved tinkering around with old trucks. One of his first was a ’49 Chevy.
So he got the idea to get those old trucks out of groves and garages — and back on the roadways.
“This is a ’58 GMC. It’s mounted on a late-’70s Caprice Chassis, so it drives and rides like a Cadillac,” Ed said. “It drives like a car.”
Ed takes the foundation off a more modern vehicle, and then makes mounts and brackets to put the body of an old truck on top. It gives a vintage enthusiast a chance to drive a 75-year-old vehicle with today’s amenities: air conditioning, power steering and power brakes.
“We’ve got mounts to mount the front end, the radiator, the bumper,” Ed said.
The skeleton truck was built from scratch and shows exactly what they do. Almost from the beginning, business accelerated.
E-Z Chassis Swaps has put the puzzle pieces together and made more than 1,200 mounting kits for enthusiasts around the world in the past 10 years.
“I actually got a customer in Germany, one in Denmark, one in Costa Rica,” Ed said. “Safe to say we’ve kept the post office open.”
It is an international touch for a town of 200.
“I’m the city employee. I’m on the city council, and I do my business here,” Todd said.
He wears many hats in Watson, and one of them is putting in new brakes and fuel lines while Ed focuses on the mounts.
“I like the small-town environment to do our business in, and it’s kind of cool,” Todd said.
It’s also cool for the Goose Capitol. Seeing Grandpa’s truck get its groove back has revitalized a small town.
“I look forward to it. What am I going to do? What am I going to do today? I love helping people,” Ed said.
E-Z Chassis Swaps is one of only a couple businesses in the United States that does this specific kind of work.
Ed says their focus is mostly on Chevy trucks, but they have done other makes and models as well.