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John OLeary

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  1. Would you mind sharing those vague memories? Sometimes even the smallest detail can uncover something. For example, someone remembered that there was a sign that read 'Welcome Travelers' on building next to the main entrance as well as an old Richfield gas pump at the Autorama. I have been able to verify both of these stories through pictures sent to me from people who's relatives visited the Autorama years ago. -John (olearyj42@gmail.com)
  2. I am working on a project about the James Melton Autorama (along with Melton Museum - Norwalk, CT) and connection to Gus Reuter (Reuter's Coach Works - Bronx, NY) who restored all the cars in Melton's Collection. Have large collection of unpublished photos of the Autorama (showing cars with license plates like GENT, JMEL, SAFE, etc.) that Melton sent Reuter decades ago in the Reuter's Coach Works archive (my wife is Gus' Granddaughter). Looking to track down old photos, video, stories about the James Melton Autorama as I have already connected with families who visited Hypoluxo on vacation years ago and turned up some interesting finds like old pennants, plates and key chains once sold in the gift shop of the James Melton Autorama. -John O'Leary (olearyj42@gmail.com)
  3. Bob, thanks for the update on the 1926 Bugatti Type 37. I have many drawings that Peter Larkin sent to Gus over the years. They are hysterical and one is even drawn on Disneyland stationary. I also have some great pictures of Gus working on Larkin's Bugatti in Reuter's shop in Ridgefield, CT. I corresponded with Peter years ago and he sent me a great hand written letter of how he first connected with Gus. I also have pictures of the special 'glass garage' Larkin built to display the car. - John
  4. Can anyone shed any light on this original drawing of the Melton Museum (Norwalk, CT)? I am trying to track down so any leads would be helpful. Working on a project about the Melton Museum (as well as James Melton Autorama) and connection to Gus Reuter (Reuter's Coach Works - Bronx, NY) who restored all the cars in Melton's Collection. Have large collection of unpublished photos (showing cars with Connecticut license plates like HEDG, FROG, HALF, etc.) that Melton sent Reuter decades ago in the Reuter's Coach Works archive (my wife is Gus' Granddaughter). Looking to track down old photos, video, stories about the Melton Museum as I have already connected with the families of two former Melton Museum employees and Melton's daughter (Margo Melton Nutt). 'Original color pencil drawing of The A. C. Gilbert Co. display for Melton Museum Norwalk, Conn. The bottom right hand side of drawing has the name of Harry Preble Jr. Westport, Conn. and is dated 6/14/49. This drawing came out of the A. C. Gilbert factory and was acquired in 1967 by Charles E. Stuart. Mr. Stuart was Vice President of The A.C. Gilbert Company and in charge of liquidating the company in 1967-1968'. -John O'Leary (olearyj42@gmail.com)
  5. I am working on a project about the history of Reuter's Coach Works (Bronx, NY). Gus Reuter (my wife's grandfather) was the Stradivarius of car restorers. His master craftsmanship is the reason some of the rarest cars ever built (from Duesenberg to Mercedes-Benz) survive today in museums all over the country from Owls Head in Maine to the Peterson Museum in California. Reuter's Coach Works archive includes photos of the 1916 Crane Simplex formerly owned by Melbourne Brindle (New Canaan, CT) and wore the 'BRIN' Connecticut vanity license plate. The Crane Simplex is now owned by Jay Leno. The Reuter’s generations of expert work and their connection to the auto collections of Alec Ulmann, James Melton (Melton Museum), Ken Purdy, Henry Austin Clark (Long Island Auto Museum), Dr. Samuel Scher, Briggs Cunningham (including his Bugatti Royale), Ed Jurist (Vintage Car Store), David Tunick, Arthur K. Watson (IBM), Nelson Rockefeller, Dr. Peter Williamson and two Presidents (Woodrow Wilson's Pierce Arrow & FDR's Packard Twelve) is the stuff of legend. I presented my research on Reuter's Coach Works at the International Drive History Conference in Allentown, PA back in 2019 (see attached photo). Still need to update my research on cars such as the 1928 Mercedes-Benz Type S since I have unpublished photos of this car when owned by Mrs. Bedford. -John O'Leary (olearyj42@gmail.com)
  6. I am working on a project about the history of Reuter's Coach Works (Bronx, NY). Gus Reuter was the Stradivarius of car restorers. His master craftsmanship is the reason some of the rarest cars ever built (from Duesenberg to Mercedes-Benz) survive today in museums all over the country from Owls Head in Maine to the Peterson Museum in California. The Reuter’s generations of expert work and their connection to the auto collections of Alec Ulmann, James Melton, Ken Purdy, Henry Austin Clark (Long Island Auto Museum), Dr. Samuel Scher, Briggs Cunningham, Ed Jurist (Vintage Car Store), David Tunick, Arthur K. Watson (IBM), Nelson Rockefeller, Dr. Peter Williamson and two Presidents (Woodrow Wilson & FDR) is the stuff of legend. The lost history of these magnificent automobiles is told in hand-written letters, postcards and photos. Gus Reuter's shop in the Bronx was not that big and what is really cool is that both the shop location and the apartment where the Reuter's lived behind it still stand today (see attached photo I took in the Bronx in 2019). Gus and his sons (Richard and Robert) moved operations from the Bronx to Ridgefield, CT in 1970. Just imagine if those walls could talk since Gus was always busy with work on cars from Briggs, James Melton, Austie Clark, and Dr. Sam Scher among others. I presented my research on Reuter's Coach Works at the International Drive History Conference in Allentown, PA back in 2019 (see attached photo). Still need to update my research on cars such as the 1928 Mercedes-Benz Type S since I have unpublished photos of this car when owned by Mrs. Bedford. -John O'Leary (olearyj42@gmail.com)
  7. Can anyone shed any light on this original drawing of the Melton Museum (Norwalk, CT)? I am trying to track down so any leads would be helpful. 'Original color pencil drawing of The A. C. Gilbert Co. display for Melton Museum Norwalk, Conn. The bottom right hand side of drawing has the name of Harry Preble Jr. Westport, Conn. and is dated 6/14/49. This drawing came out of the A. C. Gilbert factory and was acquired in 1967 by Charles E. Stuart. Mr. Stuart was Vice President of The A.C. Gilbert Company and in charge of liquidating the company in 1967-1968'. -John O'Leary (olearyj42@gmail.com)
  8. Walt - Austie Clark, Briggs Cunningham, Ed Jurist (Vintage Car Store), Peter Helck, Ken Purdy and Alec Ulmann were just a few of Gus Reuter's clients. I have many old great photos of the L.I. Auto Museum as well as cars like Austie Clark's 1933 Pierce-Arrow (Silver Arrow) at Reuter's Coach Works in the 1950's'. Peter - thanks for the link to the Vancouver Archives. My research has taken me to some great places (like the NYC public library) and has introduced me to some fascinating people with incredible stories. Attached is image of James Melton (and his two dogs: 'Socks' the Boston Terrier and 'Etzel' the German Sheppard) in the 1898 DeDion Bouton from the 1940 World's Fair. -John O'Leary OLEARYJ42@gmail.com
  9. Bob, Great to hear from you. I was recently send an old image of Melton's Hupmobile on display at the Melton Museum from 1951 and reminded me of my visit to see you. I am working with both the Norwalk Historical Society and the Connecticut Historical Society in hopes of being able to visually display the images and other materials Iike an old 'Melton Museum' shirt from a former employee I have uncovered in my research. -John
  10. The James Melton Autorama in Hypoluxo ,FL (1953 - 1961) was quite a place and I am researching it as well. Please see attached image. I have corresponded with several who visited (as well as some who worked at both the Melton Museum or the Autorama). Melton wanted Gus Reuter to moved from the Bronx, NY down to Florida but he wound up declining Melton's offer. Many people have old slides, candid photos, concert programs, etc. of James Melton from their parents and grandparents but are not sure what to do with them. I visited Melton's daughter Margo last summer and she is thrilled that I am putting together a 'Melton archive' of car materials. John O'Leary OLEARYJ42@gmail.com
  11. I am working on a book project about James Melton and famed automobile restorer Gus Reuter (my wife is Gus' granddaughter). In search of old photos, slides, letters, stories, etc. related to James Melton or Gus Reuter to enhance my research. By 1948, James Melton ‘America’s Favorite Tenor’ had assembled one of the country’s prized collections of antique cars – models ranging from the lumbering, unwieldy vehicles of 1896 to such novelties as New York’s first horseless hansom cab into the James Melton Museum in Norwalk, Connecticut. Melton was a famed opera and radio singer as well as the former vice president of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America who would later (in 1953) open the James Melton Autorama in Hypoluxo, Florida. Melton’s collection of automobiles were reconditioned, painted, polished and lovingly cared for by Gus Reuter, proprietor of Reuter’s Coach Works in the Bronx, NY. These two men represent the source behind of some of the most unique and sought after antique and historic automobiles. I presented my research on Reuter's Coach Works at the International Drive History Conference in Allentown, PA back in 2019 (see attached). Still need to update my research on cars such as the 1928 Mercedes-Benz Type S since I have unpublished photos of this car when owned by Mrs. Bedford. John O'Leary (SAH member #4677) OLEARYJ42@gmail.com
  12. I am working on a book project about James Melton and famed automobile restorer Gus Reuter (my wife is Gus' granddaughter). In search of old photos, slides, letters, etc. related to James Melton or Gus Reuter to enhance my research. By 1948, James Melton ‘America’s Favorite Tenor’ had assembled one of the country’s prized collections of antique cars – models ranging from the lumbering, unwieldy vehicles of 1896 to such novelties as New York’s first horseless hansom cab into the James Melton Museum in Norwalk, Connecticut. Melton was a famed opera and radio singer as well as the former vice president of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America who would later (in 1953) open the James Melton Autorama in Hypoluxo, Florida. Melton’s collection of automobiles were reconditioned, painted, polished and lovingly cared for by Gus Reuter, proprietor of Reuter’s Coach Works in the Bronx, NY. These two men represent the source behind of some of the most unique and sought after antique and historic automobiles. John O'Leary OLEARYJ42@gmail.com
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