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Replica Duesenberg car plant to open in Baldwin

A company that manufactures replicas of a popular car from the 1930s will be opening in Baldwin this summer. Duesenberg Motors has purchased the 160,000-square-foot building that previously housed Clopay Garage Doors.

The company is led by President Dave Hartje; he made a presentation to the Village of Baldwin Board earlier this month.

"This is a win for Baldwin and the entire region," said St. Croix Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Bill Rubin. "We've been working with Mr. Hartje since last October and he closed on the property in late January."

Rubin said Hartje plans to initially employ about 50 people, but plans to add additional lines, upping the number to 400 within five years. He said the company plans to add a three-wheel motorcycle and a luxury sports car to his production plans. Hartje said the luxury sports car is the company's real goal, but that it is probably at least two years from production.

Hartje produced the replica Duesenberg automobiles in Elroy from 1978 until 2000. He got out of the business, but has now decided to re-open his plant -- this time in Baldwin. The Duesenberg was a popular luxury car in the 1930s. The replicas have the original design, but on a modern Ford chassis.

Rubin said Hartje was originally looking for green space on which to build a new plant, but found the Clopay building for sale and decided it would work for his needs.

"It's probably a little big initially, but when he gets the motorcycle and luxury sports cars into production, he will fill the 160,000 square feet," Rubin said. "The company will be a regional employer and will be a good addition for the area."

Rubin said the company also plans to construct a modern showroom on the site.