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Oldest real car museum


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What is the oldest antique car museum you know of. Who started it and where was it. I am interested in hearing about real the big non-profit museums, to the collections large and small that were open to the public.

The furthest back I can remember is going to the Henry Ford Museum in 1953 with my folks. If I am not mistaken, Henry Ford started that facility in 1929. I know Swagarts goes way back, The Long Island Auto Museum, Milton's place, Zimmermans in Harrisburg,

Name some more with locations and approximate dates. I would love to see who claims being the first one.

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THE MUSEUM

OUR EARLY BEGINNINGS

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum grew out of a Sunday tradition by wealthy socialites Larz and Isabel Anderson in their Brookline Massachusetts home. The Anderson would open the doors to their spectacular carriage house on Sunday afternoons and share the marvel of a mounting collection of antique American and European vehicles.

The Anderson's collection of Vehicles began with the purchase of the Anderson's first vehicle, an 1899 Winton 4-hp runabout. Today, this vehicle remains on permanent display in the museum's lower gallery. Throughout their life, the Anderson continued to purchase and subsequently retire vehicles to the carriage house until the death of Isabel Anderson in 1948. The Andersons purchased a new car nearly every year, acquiring thirty-two brand new motorcars during the course of their life. 14 of these vehicles and many of the original horse drawn carriages remain in our permanent collection.

After the death of Isabel Anderson, the carriage house was given to the Veteran Motor Car Association of America who first opened the building as a museum in 1949. Today, we continue this tradition by offering new exhibits, educational forums, an archive of early automotive material, the exhibition of the Anderson vehicles, and Lawn events throughout the year.

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Albert B. Garganigo opened the Museum of Antique Automobiles in Prinston, mass in 1938 with a collection of 75 cars, all in running condition. He printed a 36 page booklet that featured many of the best cars. The same photos were used in another booklet he printed in 1933 when the collection was in Shrewsbury, Mass., so maybe the collection was private at that time, and opened to the public in 1938. this later became the core of the Zimmerman collection in the 1970's. Tracing the location of all these cars today would be a very interesting and enjoyable project for someone.

The March 1931 issue of Hobbies magazine had a shory article on car collecting and mentioned Maynard L. GHottenburg i Silverton, Oregon as having a collection of early cars.

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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The Garganigo collection existed prior to WW-1 as best I can tell,,,Sulley shew me a pic of the 65 hp Great Arrow in the parade after the war,,,,I asked if it were 46 or 47,,,as I remember that we had parades only a couple of years after the war,,,,REPLY,,,,Oh No,, the great war,,,1919,,,the 4th july 1919 the car was all in crape paper and flowers,,etc,,with its ALL white tredless tires,,that were still on it in 1949 3rd row back,,,right behind the 1909 Rambler,,,Too bad the windshield got left behind,,,,the chauffeur couldnt find it,,,,but nobody ever noticed,,Nice original car,,,Al was going to open on a piece of the junkyard,land ,,over by the lake,,,but the town was going to assass property tax on the cars,,,He pointed out they were not taxing the Higgins Armory or the art museum,,,so why cars,,,argument stood,,,Al took the cars out,,and sold the BIG building to a discount store known all around,,,,SPAGS,on Rt 9 [[Later on1950-60?? renamed ""White City shopping ctr"",]]],,this was around 1936 +-- ,,,Al made a deal w/Princeton,,who were happy to have an attraction in town,,,The buildings still stand,,,as does Al's Farm house and barn,,,,named RED FOX FARM,,,,,letters in the shingle roof ,,can be seen from the road,,,and the family that lives there has 3 model T s in the barn,,,gotta stop here,,,,Ben

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Wolfpen Auto Museum,,,Sears Road,,Southborough Ma, Private collection ,,open to public,most,weekends,,,The collection of Cameron Bradley,,one of the VMCCA founders,,,whose got the 1904 Mercedes w/Stienway body,,,Alpha Romeo,,half track skimobile,,1912 Austro-Daimler or the BIG steam pumper,,thought to be a self propelld,rebuilt w/a front dr unit,,oh yes and Jim Lacey's last job,,1893 Panhard-Levassor on steel,,a real relic,,, now there's a Brighton car,,,needs to race against old #5,,,JUST ONE MORE TIME,,,just,,,,The real and only OLD #5,,Can anyone post a pic of #5,,,,Cheers Ben [ brutal but works]

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  • 10 months later...
Albert B. Garganigo opened the Museum of Antique Automobiles in Prinston, mass in 1938 with a collection of 75 cars, all in running condition. He printed a 36 page booklet that featured many of the best cars. The same photos were used in another booklet he printed in 1933 when the collection was in Shrewsbury, Mass., so maybe the collection was private at that time, and opened to the public in 1938. this later became the core of the Zimmerman collection in the 1970's. Tracing the location of all these cars today would be a very interesting and enjoyable project for someone.

The March 1931 issue of Hobbies magazine had a shory article on car collecting and mentioned Maynard L. GHottenburg i Silverton, Oregon as having a collection of early cars.

My dad bought his 40 Packard Darrin From Sully Garganigo in the late 50s. He still has the car. It would be great to find a copy of that booklet to see if this car was in there.

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The Garganigo collection existed prior to WW-1 as best I can tell,,,Sulley shew me a pic of the 65 hp Great Arrow in the parade after the war,,,,I asked if it were 46 or 47,,,as I remember that we had parades only a couple of years after the war,,,,REPLY,,,,Oh No,, the great war,,,1919,,,the 4th july 1919 the car was all in crape paper and flowers,,etc,,with its ALL white tredless tires,,that were still on it in 1949 3rd row back,,,right behind the 1909 Rambler,,,Too bad the windshield got left behind,,,,the chauffeur couldnt find it,,,,but nobody ever noticed,,Nice original car,,,Al was going to open on a piece of the junkyard,land ,,over by the lake,,,but the town was going to assass property tax on the cars,,,He pointed out they were not taxing the Higgins Armory or the art museum,,,so why cars,,,argument stood,,,Al took the cars out,,and sold the BIG building to a discount store known all around,,,,SPAGS,on Rt 9 [[Later on1950-60?? renamed ""White City shopping ctr"",]]],,this was around 1936 +-- ,,,Al made a deal w/Princeton,,who were happy to have an attraction in town,,,The buildings still stand,,,as does Al's Farm house and barn,,,,named RED FOX FARM,,,,,letters in the shingle roof ,,can be seen from the road,,,and the family that lives there has 3 model T s in the barn,,,gotta stop here,,,,Ben

My mom and dad used to take me to the Garganigo museum in the 1940's and I still visited it after I got married, about 1960. Broke my heart to see it sold off about that time. One point I question -- I don't believe Spag's ever became "White City Shopping Center." White City Shopping Center was across the street and up the road a bit on the site of the old White City amusement park. I used to shop at Spag's at least as late as 1970 when I would return home to visit the family in Worcester. Spag's was a local landmark and institution. Loved that store. Still use a big ToolKraft radial arm saw I bought there. This saw is designed so the arm pivots dirctly over the center of the table, not from a column behind it.

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Sulley said they had built the building for the cars,,,and later sold it,,They had owned quite a bit of land out there,,How that complex expanded and grew to me is not clear,,It was said by the old timers that the junkyard ran about half a mile along the lake edge,,long before my time,,The last car in the family was the DeDion that Sulley used,,that ran good,, His son sold it,,I last had pie and coffee about a month before he died,, Albert had sponsored my membership in VMCCA,,when you needed 2 sponsors,,'while ago,,Ben

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I have two of the booklets one with a 1933 Copyright the other is 1937.:D

My dad bought his 40 Packard Darrin From Sully Garganigo in the late 50s. He still has the car. It would be great to find a copy of that booklet to see if this car was in there.
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Hey Bob, I guess a 1940 car probably won't be listed in either of those :-).

The Schlumpf collection may have started with a single Bugatti prior to WWII but the brother did not start collecting for real until after WWII. The museum was started in the 1960s.

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  • 4 years later...

post-69114-143142912822_thumb.jpg Here is the De Dion as seen in the February 1953 issue of POPULAR MECHANICS.

https://books.google.com/books?id=x9wDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA292&lpg=PA292&dq=garganigo%2Bmuseum%2Bautomobile&source=bl&ots=A9VZqQ-mwr&sig=RMiTmXSI73JWzwVKFUmqSjncNZs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zjekVIjhJYylgwTzvoCIBQ&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=garganigo%2Bmuseum%2Bautomobile&f=false

The De Dion Motorette at the Seal Cove Auto Museum came out of the Murchio Antique Auto Museum in Greenwood Lake, NY, that opened in 1945... There is a very good possibility that Joe Murchio bought the car from Garganito in 1961.

The Model K Ford at the Fountainhead Museum is listed by them as having been owned by Garganito.

Cheers,

Roberto

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Sulley's "Button had a bent tube in the snake radiator

where the car had come loose on the trailer,,and had struck the

hitch pole,,,Only one tube was bent,,bent up in the middle,,

I doubt it got fixed as it was not that obvious ,,

I think Sulley's car also had the coffee grinder steering crank,,

Cheers,,Ben

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So this thread has been revived and somewhere way earlier someone suggested finding out where the cars from these early museums were now. So we have the 1906 Model K Cadillac ,originally in the Garganigo collection and then in Zimmermans. Who else has a car from an early museum? Maybe more have survived than realised.

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The Western Reserve in Cleveland renamed from the auto collection founder

William Crawford dated to the 30's, but it also included airplanes. Crawford

was associated with Thompson Products who sold automotive and engine parts

and sponsored the Cleveland Air races back in the day.

About 1948 I started clipping photos of antique cars from magazines my uncle gave dad, including Look, Life, Colliers, and Saturday Evening Post. About that time or soon thereafter Thompson Products were running ads in the SEP featuring cars from their collection. Buried deep somewhere I have two scrap books of the pictures and articles I clipped.

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Sure would be nice to start a collection of "Then and Now" photos of these cars. I guess many have been restored or RErestorded and their ID's may be lost. My 1912 T still has the 1950 restoration Elmer Bemis gave it, and this summer I found 1950 Glidden Tour photos of it. A meeting of cars that were in the hobby 50-60 years ago sure would be a step back in time. Bob

So this thread has been revived and somewhere way earlier someone suggested finding out where the cars from these early museums were now. So we have the 1906 Model K Cadillac ,originally in the Garganigo collection and then in Zimmermans. Who else has a car from an early museum? Maybe more have survived than realised.
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  • 6 months later...

You can see these cars at the Seal Cove Auto Museum...

  • 1911 American Underslung - Ex Briggs Cunningham Museum - Ex Collier Museum  (Cunningham bought the car from Isabel Weld Perkins Anderson, wife of Larz Anderson)
  • 1913 Peugeot 'Skiff' - Ex James Melton's Melton Museum, Norwalk CT, and Jame Melton's AUTORAMA, Hypoluxo, FL.
  • 1904 Knox - Ex Henry Austin Clark Jr., Long Island Automotive Museum (Was registered in his wife's name and is the Knox featured in LIAM post cards and prints)
  • 1912 Thomas Flyer - Ex Henry Austin Clark Jr., Long Island Automotive Museum (Featured in LIAM post cards)
  • 1909 Stevens Duryea - Ex Bellum Car & Music of Yesterday Museum, Sarasota, FL (Featured on Bellum post card)
  • 1901 De Dion Motorette - Ex Murcio’s Auto Museum, Greenwood Lake, N.Y.
  • 1915 F.R.P. - Ex Harrah's Automobile Collection - Ex Collier Museum (Harrah's "most wanted" car)
  • 1907 Holsman - Ex Thompson Products Auto Album - The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum   (Today the Western Reserve Historical Society)

I'm sure more will be uncovered as we continue to research the provenance of our amazing collection. 

Edited by automuseum (see edit history)
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  • 1 year later...

As a youngster I often sat in the cockpit of the Macchi c 200 Italian fighter plane that sat on the ground in front of the Princeton (MA) Auto Museum. It was in deplorable condition.

 

The plane had been captured in 1942 in Libya and found its way as a gift to the City of Worcester, MA as a gift for a fair circa 1950. It was acquired by Albert B. Garagano for his museum and was displayed outside. After the museum closed it was acquired by the Bradley Air Museum of Windsor Locks, CT circa 1965.

 

According to a recent e-mail from Deborah Reed, Assistant Director of the now New England Air Museum the plane was exchanged for another aircraft through a broker who sent it to Italy for a full restoration. It was then returned to the United States and is currently on display at the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

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  • 1 year later...

Here is a timeline of the earliest auto museums that I know of:

 

1938-Princeton Auto Museum

1943-Crawford Auto Museum

1944-Museum of Transportation in St. Louis

1947-Henry Ford Museum

1948-Melton Museum

1948-Long Island Automotive Museum

1949-Larz Anderson Auto Museum

1953-James Melton's Autorama

1953-Horn's Cars of Yesterday

1953-Carriage Cavalcade

1953-Harold Warp Pioneer Village

1954-Pioneer Auto Museum

1955-Bonanzaville USA

1956-Smoky Mountain Car Museum

1956-Swigart Auto Museum

1958-A.R. Cheek Display

1958-Pettit's Museum of Motoring Memories

1959-Prairie Village Museum

1960-Sturbridge Auto Museum

1960-Volo Auto Museum

1961-Forney Museum of Transportation

1963-Stone Mountain Car Museum

1963-Millstream Classic Car Museum

1963-Virginia Museum of Transportation

1964-Rockefeller Museum of Automobiles

1964-Texas Transportation Museum

1965-Magee Transportation Museum

1965-Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles

1965-Darlington Raceway Museum

1966-Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum

1966-Gilmore Car Museum

1966-Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum

1967-Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry

1967-Gene Zimmerman's Automobilorama

 

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