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Non-Automotive Museums with rare old cars.


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Not really a museum, but the AAA office in West Hartford, CT has a Pope-Hartford on display in the entry, behiend glass. I would have to check what year it was built. A lovely Tourng Car.. The cars were built in Hartford.

John

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The Frick Collection in Pittsburgh has an art museum, but also a large "carriage house" filled with nice vintage cars and carriages from the 19th century up to the '60s. Well worth a trip.

Phil Jamison

PA

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If anyone happens to visit Australia, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, at Darling Harbour right beside the CBD would be worth attention. I understand they have a lot of old cars and car related material. Just two that have been mentioned to me are Bugatti and Australian Six. (The latter were assembled in some numbers from Americam proprietry parts in a factory in Sydney in the early 1920's. Most had Grant Lees gearbox and a Rutenber engine. Engines may have been supplied as a superceded job lot, because they had a lot of warranty problem with them at one stage. The same engine was apparently used in some Roamers around 1917, because a Roamer chassi of that time has the correct engine mounts for this Rutenber. One "brilliant" feature of these engines was diecast babbit big-end and main bearing inserts, which would last a while below moderate speed and load. You have to make lined bronze-backed replacements. One engine I had to re-sleeve for a friend here apparemtly had a core shift which provided a water leak into one cylinder bore. In a materful piece of bush repair at Cunnamulla in western Queensland, they drilled a hole through to the bore from the valve chamber, sealed it with a 1/2" bolt and a couple of lead washers, and turned the Australian Six into an Australian Five by discarding the rod and piston!

Down here the Scienceworks Museum in Melbourne does have notable cars. The first Thompson steam car, built here, was restored in the 1960's by a Veteran Car Club member for display there. And many decades ago, a wealthy family donated their late 1920's Graf&Stift touring car, an impressively ponderous automobile that was long displayed there. Now, it was decided that the car should be used to transport the state premier on one particular occasion; and a friend of mine, Graham Harder from the Veteran Car Club, was asked to service and start the treasure, and act as chauffeur. Well, wherever the State Governor is driven, his presence is signified by a flag; and while cars had exposed radiator caps, that is where the flag was carried. That Premier was a woman who was considered to have very independant dress sense, and had recently provoked derision of the media by wearing a pink polka-dot dress to distract from her impressiveness. Graham Harder had the teremity to mount a little pink polka dot flag on the radiator cap on the radiator cap of the Graf&Stift. When the Premier finally noticed it, her sense of humour dramatically malfunctioned; and the spray he copped was not what you expect from a lady. She was unable to have him fired as she promised, because he was not a state employee but an unpaid volunteer.

Ivan Saxton

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When I was at the Vanderbilt Museum in the mid-'80's, this '37 Chrysler Imperial Town Car was on display in the courtyard.

37_Imperial_by_LeBaron.jpg

Built by LeBaron for Mrs. Walter P. Chrysler, by the time I saw it the convertible top covering the chauffeur's compartment had been replaced with a closed top, and the car's condition was well-weathered from sitting outdoors.

It was <span style="font-style: italic">very</span> Cruella DeVille-ish, especially in its original form, and I often wonder what became of the car.

TG

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Obviously Mrs Chrysler had two LeBaron town cars which still exist. In Hugo Pfau's book The Custom Body Era, on p200 he mentions how they had a minor problem to finish her 1931 town car on time; and how a named person near where he lived had bought this car from the lady's estate. It would be nice if you could only trace both current owners and persuade them to get the cars together at an event, TG. There is a radical change in style in just 6 years.

Ivan Saxton

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Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska has an extensive collection of vintage and classic cars from brass era to 60's cars.

The whole complex is a museum of old American stuff & culture.

Easy to get to via I-80, nice motel attached, too.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Ivan_Saxton</div><div class="ubbcode-body">If anyone happens to visit Australia, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, at Darling Harbour right beside the CBD would be worth attention......

......When the Premier finally noticed it, her sense of humour dramatically malfunctioned; and the spray he copped was not what you expect from a lady. She was unable to have him fired as she promised, because he was not a state employee but an unpaid volunteer.

Ivan Saxton </div></div>

Ivan,

The Power House Museum also has another site at Castle Hill in suburban north-west Sydney. The displays include a Goggomobile Dart and a Leyland P76 as well as some of the wooden patterns used to check P76 body panels. Although this centre has limited opening times because it is the museums repository and restoration centre it does offer limited behind the scenes tours of items. The Packard Club here in Sydney visited it for a club run earlier this year and it provided a great run venue and we found the Model T Club had a number of their vehicles on display that day. Below are links to the Power House Museum, click on the Discovery Centre link, and the pic's I took that day (Sorry, they are mostly of the Packards and Model T's).

Pity Joan K didn't enjoy the joke, even if it was at her expense.

And if anyone is visiting Australia at the end of March 2009 see if you can get to the Southern Highlands, naturally south of Sydney, where the 2009 National Packard Rally is being held with about 50 to 60 Packards in attendance. Link to Southern Highlands also attached.

http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/

http://picasaweb.google.com/ozstatman/PackardRunSaturday8thMarch2008

http://www.highlandsnsw.com.au/index.html

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Ivan_Saxton</div><div class="ubbcode-body">If anyone happens to visit Australia, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, at Darling Harbour right beside the CBD would be worth attention. I understand they have a lot of old cars and car related material. </div></div>

They also have a 6-cylinder Argyll engine in their collection.

Just thought I'd throw that wee fact in. wink.gif

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  • 2 months later...

We visited the Wayne County Historical Museum in Richmond Indiana yesterday. On display were

1907 Richmond

1909 Richmond

1915 Westcott

1908 Westcott

1920 Pilot

1918 Davis

1925 Davis

The above manufacturers were noted as having built cars in Richmond.

1926 Dodge

1921 Detroit Electric

1912 Baker Electric

1939 Crosley

1929 Ford Model A

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  • 3 years later...

There is a 1906 Cadillac in the basement of the Leroy NY historical society and its road rough or barn fresh ... whatever you want to call it. I also know of a 1909 Franklin D in horse drawn carriage and wagon collection. The car is alos unrestored and worn. Im sure there are others.

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I remember visiting the Elliott Museum in Stuart, FL a few times, a few years ago. As I recall, they featured a lot of baseball stuff, some industrial machinery-type stuff, and also home housewares/furnishings-type stuff--and then the old cars were way toward the back. Don't recall what they specifically were, but do recall they had some very nice specimens. I hope to get back to Florida again this year and hope to make a trip down to Stuart again to visit the Elliott.

The Elliott Museum - Yesterday's Ingenuity, Tomorrow's Inspiration

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Elliott Museum, Stuart, FL followup:

Here's a scanned photo from 2001, when we visited their springtime car show. That's apparently their '53 Cunningham we're posing with (looks like my daughter didn't want her picture taken).

post-34222-143138799494_thumb.jpg

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The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum has a large collection of vintage and antique cars including a rare 07 Aerocar, early Franklins including a cross engine that set a cross country record, a 1908 Pierce Great Arrow, Raymond Loewy's 1957 BMW 507, and about 70 others. All are housed in a large, warehouse and are available for viewing by appointment. You can check it out here:

Car Tours | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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Does the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry still have cars? I recall they had a collection at one time, but I see no mention of them on their web page.

Phil

I know they had several cars including a 1940 or '41 Lincoln Continental. They were not well maintained, and were in the basement. Don't know if they are still there or not, or maybe in storage. But I would not really expect them to be on the website, as I would assume they want to promote newer and more popular exhibits, and these were already relegated to the basement and neglected when I was a little kid.

I am still made at them for changing their model train layout. They used to have a huge layout with Matchbox cars from the late 1950's all over it. I wanted them! There was also a city scene behind glass where the Matchbox cars actually drove down the road. I really wanted those! As an adult I realize they were on a conveyor belt and you just didn't see the bottom half. But very cool to a little kid. I hope they didn't just throw those cars out when they made the new, less interesting layout. Hopefully the full size cars are still there as well.

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Many presidential libraries have a car on display. Even childhood presidential homes, like Woodrow Wilson's in Staunton, Va have a car related to it's president. Wilson's Pierce Arrow is worth going to see. Other famous childhood homes have great cars on display. I think Lindbergh's original Saxon Six touring is, or was, on display.

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Art museums are often the best and most surprising places to find rare cars on display. I visited the Cincinnati Art Museum this past summer, and happened to catch this 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ-1 bodied by Zagato. :cool::cool::cool:

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When we were on a drive from Idaho to N. Dakota 2 years ago we made a point of stopping at some local history museums. Out of 8 museums, I think 4 of them had 1904 Cadillacs.

The Kansas Museum of History in Topeka has a 1908 Great Smith, built in Topeka.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)
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The Joliet Area Historical Museum, at the intersection of RT 66 and the Lincoln Highway in downtown Joliet, IL has a 1909 Economy Motor Buggy on display in the lobby.

The Heartland of America Heritage Museum, in Weatherford, OK had several antiques cars on display when we were there a couple years ago. From the website it appears they still do.

Another wonderful place is the Hastings Museum in Hastings, NE. They have a very nice collection of antique cars and buggies on display. Aside from the cars and buggies, this is a great museum!

Edited by ken bogren (see edit history)
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800px-Marathon_Motor_Works_1.jpgIMG_0002_Sign.jpg_595.jpgNot really a museum as such- but, the "Marathon Motors" building in Nashville has some Marathons on display. At one time they only had a couple of chassis, but now, looking at their current website (here)

Marathon Village Nashville Commercial Spaces and Studios in Historic Marathon Motors Building

they now have quite a collection, considering how few examples exist. By the way, if the building looks familiar, it's because it is the new location for "Antique Archeology" of American Pickers fame.

They are trying to "bring home" as many Marathons as possible. I'm sure help in locating additional cars would be appreciated. Go to the home page here and scroll to the bottom to see the details of the car hunt:

http://www.marathonvillage.com/index.htm

DSC00937.jpg.php

Edited by 490touring (see edit history)
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If anyone happens to visit Australia, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, at Darling Harbour right beside the CBD would be worth attention. I understand they have a lot of old cars and car related material. Just two that have been mentioned to me are Bugatti and Australian Six. (The latter were assembled in some numbers from Americam proprietry parts in a factory in Sydney in the early 1920's. Most had Grant Lees gearbox and a Rutenber engine. Engines may have been supplied as a superceded job lot, because they had a lot of warranty problem with them at one stage. The same engine was apparently used in some Roamers around 1917, because a Roamer chassi of that time has the correct engine mounts for this Rutenber. One "brilliant" feature of these engines was diecast babbit big-end and main bearing inserts, which would last a while below moderate speed and load. You have to make lined bronze-backed replacements. One engine I had to re-sleeve for a friend here apparemtly had a core shift which provided a water leak into one cylinder bore. In a materful piece of bush repair at Cunnamulla in western Queensland, they drilled a hole through to the bore from the valve chamber, sealed it with a 1/2" bolt and a couple of lead washers, and turned the Australian Six into an Australian Five by discarding the rod and piston!

Down here the Scienceworks Museum in Melbourne does have notable cars. The first Thompson steam car, built here, was restored in the 1960's by a Veteran Car Club member for display there. And many decades ago, a wealthy family donated their late 1920's Graf&Stift touring car, an impressively ponderous automobile that was long displayed there. Now, it was decided that the car should be used to transport the state premier on one particular occasion; and a friend of mine, Graham Harder from the Veteran Car Club, was asked to service and start the treasure, and act as chauffeur. Well, wherever the State Governor is driven, his presence is signified by a flag; and while cars had exposed radiator caps, that is where the flag was carried. That Premier was a woman who was considered to have very independant dress sense, and had recently provoked derision of the media by wearing a pink polka-dot dress to distract from her impressiveness. Graham Harder had the teremity to mount a little pink polka dot flag on the radiator cap on the radiator cap of the Graf&Stift. When the Premier finally noticed it, her sense of humour dramatically malfunctioned; and the spray he copped was not what you expect from a lady. She was unable to have him fired as she promised, because he was not a state employee but an unpaid volunteer.

Ivan Saxton

Ivan, a query you might know the answer to; I visited the powerhouse Museum in 1993 and one exhibit I remember was a circa 1930 Holden sedan body in cutaway from showing the different timbers that were used in its construction. I was interested because I have as Holden-bodied 1934 Buick which have used much the same timber. I haven't checked their website lately but when I did look there was no sign of that exhibit.

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  • 1 year later...

The Jefferson County Historical Society museum in Watertown, New York, has a 1910 Babcock (built in Watertown) and a Saxon on display.

Jefferson County Historical Society | Exhibitions

Not quite the same as a museum, but a group of people in Martinsburg, West Virginia, got together and brought a Norwalk home.

Martinsburg group forms to return rare antique car to area - Herald-Mail

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I know they had several cars including a 1940 or '41 Lincoln Continental. They were not well maintained, and were in the basement. Don't know if they are still there or not, or maybe in storage. But I would not really expect them to be on the website, as I would assume they want to promote newer and more popular exhibits, and these were already relegated to the basement and neglected when I was a little kid.

I am still mad at them for changing their model train layout. They used to have a huge layout with Matchbox cars from the late 1950's all over it. I wanted them! There was also a city scene behind glass where the Matchbox cars actually drove down the road. I really wanted those! As an adult I realize they were on a conveyor belt and you just didn't see the bottom half. But very cool to a little kid. I hope they didn't just throw those cars out when they made the new, less interesting layout. Hopefully the full size cars are still there as well.

I know this is a little late but I just found this thread. I went to that museum in '08. I, too, had been there several times as a kid and I remember it being an amazing experience. I remembered the model train layout and that long hallway with antique cars. The wife and I went on a vacation to the Chicago area. She had never been to the museums so I wanted to take her to this one because I remembered it so fondly and wanted to share it with her. Brother, was I ever disappointed! I was downright ANGRY when we left there! Not only had they completely removed and/or downsized everything I remembered being so cool but they now charge you SEPARATELY to enter each and every large exhibit! Like the $30-$40 entrance ticket isn't enough?? It was like a trip to the amusement park where you have to pay for each ride. Ridiculous. They had significantly downsized the model train display and there were only a few cars parked in the antique car hallway. Very poorly maintained. And the final slap to the face was that over 1/2 of the museum was closed! That last picture below is by far what I saw the most on that trip. I don't think I'll ever go back there. Do yourself a favor and hold onto your good memories of the place. Don't go there and spoil them like I did.

post-75106-143141736406_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143141736418_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143141736429_thumb.jpg

post-75106-14314173644_thumb.jpg

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On the Heritage Village historical museum grounds in Largo Florida, you will find the following:

1917 American LaFrance fire truck.

1918 International grove truck.

1925 Model T Coupe.

1925 Model TT stake bed truck.

1929 Model A Ford "Doodlebug" pickup.

1940 Ford pickup.

1950 Chevrolet pickup.

Heritage Village is Pinellas County's 22 acre historical park with 28 historical buildings including a general store and garage. It is staffed by two paid admisnistrators and run by volunteers. All the vehicles were donated and most of the them run regularly and are used as service vehicles for the village. Visit it an volunteer of you can.

post-32318-143141736525_thumb.jpg

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I Have not seen there collection since the early 60s. It was not there when I last visited in the late 90s. The electric car was still on there old street. That was the only one that I could find then. Bill WEB 38

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There's a place called The San Francisco Academy of Art University that apparently has a vast antique car collection filling a three-story former Mercedes-Benz dealership building. Technically not a museum or open to the public..........it is a real car collection that seems to fill a role in commercial art/automotive design classes. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a list of their cars, but saw a student's photo exhibit on the web and think I spotted:

  • a '29 Stutz
  • a '58 Edsel
  • a '57 Chevrolet
  • a '31 Duesenberg
  • a BMW Isetta
  • an Auburn Boat Tail Speedster
  • an Aston Martin
  • a Mercedes Gullwing

These were close-ups of turn-signals, tail-fins and rad-shells so it was a big guessing game on the years and the makes. Maybe someone here on the forums has connections and can come up with a list...

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)
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