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James Melton Collection Blog


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#1 MochetVelo

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 03:07 AM

I ran across an interesting blog about the singer/car collector James Melton written by his daughter Margo Melton Nutt. She often refers to her father's car collection and posts numerous photos and stories about the cars and his two museums (in Florida and Connecticut). I'm currently reading Melton's 1954 book, Bright Wheels Rolling which is full of car stories and the low prices cars sold for back then. The blog is well worth reading. Melton died too young in 1961 at age 57.

Phil

Melton Card.jpg

The Melton's Christmas card from 1940 (from James Melton Musical Career and Antiqur Cars Blog).

#2 1937hd45

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 07:56 AM

Thanks for the tip! The site of his collection in Norwalk is now covered by a Walmart. Ken Purdy lived about 2 miles down the road from me. I often wonder if he and Melton drove around in their MERCER Raceabouts? On a nice Sunday they could drive over to visit Briggs Cunninghan and have three Raceabouts rolling around Fairfield County. Those must have been great times.

#3 Ivan Saxton

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 10:45 AM

On a nice Sunday they could drive over to visit Briggs Cunninghan and have three Raceabouts rolling around Fairfield County. Those must have been great times.[/QUOTE]

Surely with minimal eager help it could have been 5 Raceabouts, Bob. I am sure James Melton had three.
It is not hard to find many of his recordings on the internet. Many were duets.
I reckon he had an astonishingly fine voice; and his taste in sopranos was excellent too.
Car projects
1922 Duesenberg Model A
1923 Roamer (Rochester-Duesenberg engine w/ period 4spd overdrive g/box)
Mercer: 1918 L-head 4cyl, 6cyl OHV
Stutz: 1921 4cyl, 1927 LeBaron LWB custom sedan, 1928 Black Hawk speedster (rep. body) with 1928 pre-production prototype DV32 engine
1926 Peugeot 156 (6 litre 6cyl cuff-valve engine)
1922 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8
Lancia: 1911 Delta, 1920 Kappa, 1926 Lambda
1922 Packard Twin Six
Cadillac: 1913 - 1927
1911 Napier
1913 Sunbeam 12/16

etc

#4 Silverghost

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:54 AM

My Father met James Melton through a mutual car collector friend Henry Austin "Austie" Clark.
Melton was a very popular Radio, Movie, Recording, and TV personality during this period of time. (30s-50s)
Everyone who knew anything about James Melton in the USA, if not the world, knew he was an Antique Car Collector. He often talked about his car hobby in the media of the day. Often he was featured in magazine photos in one of his great Antique Autos.
He was also featured in many parades riding in one of his fine autos~
As a result he did not have to look very hard to find very rare Classic & early Antique autos~~

They found him !

In a very short period of time he was able to put-together a world-class collection of 150+ very rare Antique & Classic autos !
He often bought these rare autos for very little money !
You have to remember in these early days of car collecting there were lots great rare autos to choose from and very few early collector buyers !
The rule of Supply and Demand~
The Supply was great~ The Demand was very low !
Old cars had very little value then~
Mostly just scrap value !
It was a buyer's market !
Most antique Auto collectors were thought to be just "Nuts" who collected old junk in those early days.

If you think about it James Melton was the Jay Leno of Antique Car collecting in his day ! Everybody knows Jay is a big car collector today~
In his day Melton was the high-profile car collecor~
Only today Jay has to pay very high prices for his rare car finds ! James Melton was able to put together his entire collecion for the price Jay must pay for one single car . Times & demand have sure changed ~
So have the car's values !

James Melton was also friends of Jim Hoe who ran his famous "Sports Car Garage" in Weston Ct.
Hoe was famous for Duesenberg Model "J" & Rolls~Royce Silver Ghost & Phantom repair & restoration~.
Jim Hoe did quite a bit of mechanical work for Melton.
James Melton also was great friends with Sam Adelman who ran an all Classics Wrecking yard in the NY area.
Many of Melton's grand Classic cars were found by Sam !
Several of James Melton's cars were first found in the Philadelphia and South New Jersey area by my Father !
I never had the chance to meet James Melton as he became very ill early in his life and moved his entire collection to florida and set-up his new museum there.
Sadly he passed away not long after setting up his new Florida museum; and soon after he passed the great Melton collection was sold-off ~
I remember well his fantastic 1907 Rolls~Royce Silver Ghost ! It was said to be Melton's favorite Classic car ! It was the very first Rolls~Royce Silver Ghost ever shipped to the USA~
Today some of the finest, rarest, and most valuable Antique & Classic autos in many of the largest and best collections in the USA & the world were once owned & restored first by James Melton.
I would have liked to have met him and seen his great museum collection !
I am glad my Father was frends with James and knew his auto collection very well!

Edited by Silverghost, 16 December 2010 - 12:29 PM.

Brad Hunter 1 215 947 4676
silverghost1926@msn.com
Use personal Email or call !

1926 Springfield USA Rolls~Royce Silver Ghost Mahogany Boat-Tailed Skiff
1927 Springfield USA Rolls~Royce Phantom I Brewster prototype Wimbledon"Special Coupe' " Featured New York Commodore Hotel Salon Show Car
1960 Corvette Fuel Injected, Full Power
1952 MGTD MK II Judson Supercharged
1991 Chevy 454 SS limited production super sport truck 800 built.
Brass & Classic Era Autos

#5 24T42

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 05:24 PM

He was also AACA President in 1951.

#6 automuseum

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 02:12 PM

James Melton's 1913 Peugeot Type 150 at the Seal Cove Auto Museum - This magnificent automobile is an outstanding example of the coachbuilders’ art at its finest and was designed by Carosserie Henri Labourdette. Its beautifully sculpted 'skiff' design is crafted in layers of mahogany. Manufactured by SA des Automobiles Et Cycles Peugeot, Lille, France the car boasts a 40 HP, 4 cylinder, 7478 cc engine, with a single camshaft married to a 4-speed gearbox. This car, along with dozens of other wonderful examples of early brass cars, is owned by the Richard C. Paine, Jr. Automobile Collection Charitable Trust and displayed at the Seal Cove Auto Museum, located in Seal Cove, Maine. The Seal Cove Auto Museum was founded by Richard Paine in 1968 to house his collection. Paine acquired the Peugeot when he purchased the fabled Dr. Samuel L Scher collection. Dr. Scher had, in turn, acquired the car from his close friend, James Melton after the closing of Melton’s Autorama museum. Melton described the Peugeot as “one of the finest cars in our collection” in his book, ‘Bright Wheels Rolling’ (page 146).

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#7 15buick

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 04:47 PM

My grandfather , Theo D. Moore sold several cars to James Melton in the late 30s thru 50s , in Red Bank , N.J. I have local newspaper arcticles about a White steamer he bought , and family pics with him , and pics of a Stanley Mountain steamer , circa war time 40s. Also have a brass ' door bell' (Front of car with rachet crank) marked Meryy Christmas - James Melton

#8 Dave Mellor NJ

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 03:11 AM

purely by coincidence I picked up a copy of Time magazine from Sept 21, 1953 which had this ad featuring James Melton. This is the silverghost mentiomed by our "Silverghost"


JamesMeltonRollsRoyce.jpg picture by DaveMellor_photos - Photobucket

#9 ChrisSummers

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 11:18 PM

The 1907 Rolls was at Pebble this year, displayed by Robert Lee of NV. (It is now a dark burgundy.) Last I heard, the 1952 Rolls was owned by a collector in KS.
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Out of the wrack of war comes the ultimate car; the car you have dreamed of -- and its motor is The Power of the Hour.

#10 1937hd45

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 12:21 AM

Chris, As I remember things there were two 1907 Rolls-Royce touring cars that were originally imported by someone in upstate New York. The Melton car was restored in the early 1950's, the other was later found and partially restored by Millard Newman, later sold and rerestored by Rich Carroll. Rick also owned the Melton '07 Rolls, so the two cars got to sit side by side again. Just wondering if the Robert Lee Rolls is in fact the red one Rick Carroll had?

#11 West Peterson

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 05:51 AM

Margo Melton Nutt's blog is extremely interesting to follow.

West Peterson, Editor
Antique Automobile (AACA)

No man treats a motorcar as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behavior to sin, he does not say, "You are a wicked motorcar and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go." He attempts to find out what is wrong and set it right. – Bertrand Russel

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#12 TG57Roadmaster

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:02 PM

You're correct West, the blog is quite interesting...what a way for a young girl grow up, surrounded by real*
celebrities and the famous auto collection. I'm sure there are a lot of them around (circa 1952),
but I wonder if she has this Las Vegas post card? She may have been staying there during her father's gig!

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* To paraphrase Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, real celebrities,
"not like this new Hollywood trash!"

TG

Luck is When Preparation Meets Opportunity

 

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#13 1937hd45

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 01:01 PM

I guess a record collector could figure out how to date this.

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#14 cben09

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:52 PM

The two Ghosts were imported by early race car driver,,,S,B,Stevens,,Rome Ny
Had an entry in 04 Vanderbilt I think,,Ben

#15 1937hd45

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:57 PM

This 1907 Renault was added to the Melton collection in 1943, and carried the Connecticut plate FROG. The new owner has great plans for it. 1907 Renault to compete in 2012 Great Race | Hemmings Blog: Classic and collectible cars and parts

#16 caf

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:10 PM

I understand Meltonhad a 1911 Olds Limited. Does anyone know where it is today? Was it possibly the one Matt Browning had?

#17 1937hd45

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:51 PM

I'm looking at a photo of the Melton Olds Limited in Bright Wheels Rolling. He found the car in 1945 with 4,000 miles on it, is the Browning car a low milage one? Melton restored the car in 5 days, and Firestone made the new tires at the same time.

I understand Meltonhad a 1911 Olds Limited. Does anyone know where it is today? Was it possibly the one Matt Browning had?



#18 caf

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 01:26 AM

When the Browning limited was sold, it mentioned in the catalog that it had only 5000 miles. It also mentioned that previous owners were Sam Sher and Richard Paine. My guess is that Melton bought it from the Olds dealer mentioned in your previos blog and then it went to Sher. From there to the Paine collection and on to Brownings. It sold at the Browning auction for 644K to Stan Lucas, and I think that is where it is now. I had a chance to see it at the auction and then again at Pebble beach and Hillsborough concours and it appears to be very original and complete.

#19 ChrisSummers

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 01:50 AM

Melton had a 1910 Limited which I believe is now the one in the National Automobile Museum in Reno (correct me if I'm wrong). A lot of the best brass stuff at Harrah's was Melton's, and found its way into the museum in Reno.

The two Ghosts are indeed together again in a prominent NV-based collection.

Also note the ex-Melton Paige Daytona Speedster prototype in the latest AA.

He had some great cars, and he USED them...and he let other people use them. Visitors to the Autorama in Florida were given rides.

Edited by ChrisSummers, 23 March 2012 - 01:56 AM.

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Out of the wrack of war comes the ultimate car; the car you have dreamed of -- and its motor is The Power of the Hour.

#20 KenHupp20

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:29 PM

Thought you might like this photo from my uncle's ( Robert D.Wild) collection. I think it was taken 1949 perhaps at Raceland ( Framingham,MA.)

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