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The Remains of the Long Island Automotive Museum


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Having had some nice weather for a change, and my neighbour was having a tree removed creating a lot noise. we decided to take a ride to Montauk Point about 110 miles away. Along the drive was the property of Austin Clark's Long Island Automotive Museum. i have not been out that way in almost 20 years. I used to attend seminars at Bayberryland just up the road on Peconic Bay.

 

When we crossed the canal I thought about and was wondering if it was still there. With all of the "East End" development, I was surprised to see the buildings are still there.

 

 

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Thanks John, this is great to see.

I spent many many days and hours there; and the parts sale "Iron Range Days" that Austin held that one could be invited to were amazing and I have very very fond memories of. I am currently working on cleaning a radiator and shell for a 1916-18 Locomobile I bought at one of those Iron Range Days now . One of the most memorable , but saddest events there was the party Austin had there one evening when he closed the museum for good. It was a wake - with a New Orleans type theme as he had a jazz band there playing jazz, and cartoonist Charles Addams who was a great car collector and friend attended with his wife Tee and Charles was classy enough to wear a black arm band for the occasion! I have so many stories about that place, and my friend Austin.

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I was to young to be in that photo or perhaps not born yet - hell I am old but not that old! ( just heard some comments from friends in Florida and New England say "yeah right Gosden"  Very early photo as the individual letters for the sign weren't up yet! Has to be in 1948.

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I think there was a helicopter there to provide taping for news coverage , I have seen some 16 mm movies of a car tour as well done early on out that way that were taken from a helicopter in the same area of Southampton

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Think it was 1962 that I got to go through the collection on summer vacation with Mom & Dad, the '61 Ford was still almost new. Thought it was really neat to meet Austin and have a conversation with him, that was a big deal for an 11 year old. There was a tour in an old bus or maybe it was a Crosley amusement park train. I do remember a Bugatti G.P car sitting in an open front building out back. Old 16 was there along with many of the cars in this card set, something I've treasured ever since a long ago Christmas. Bob 

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4 hours ago, John348 said:

Having had some nice weather for a change, and my neighbour was having a tree removed creating a lot noise. we decided to take a ride to Montauk Point about 110 miles away. Along the drive was the property of Austin Clark's Long Island Automotive Museum. i have not been out that way in almost 20 years. I used to attend seminars at Bayberryland just up the road on Peconic Bay.

 

When we crossed the canal I thought about and was wondering if it was still there. With all of the "East End" development, I was surprised to see the buildings are still there.

 

 

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I think you left out the most important detail.
What cool vintage car did you enjoyed this +/-220 mile outing with ?

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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I really wish I'd gone to an "Iron Range Day", I knew enough people at the time, just never pushed things, one of life's regrets. Pulled these photos off internet searches. Must have been a sad day when Austie acted as his own auctioneer selling off his cars, I have the list here some where. Just about ever major collection in the country has a former Henry Austin Clark car in the collection. That ALCO was found here in Ridgefield, restored again it is in the Nethercutt collection. 

 

Bob  

 

 

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Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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For one of the auctions ( last one probably ) Austin needed bidders paddles with a number on them for each bidder, I made all of them for hm . Used I believe a wood paint stirrer the local paint store gave me for free ( over 100 of them!  I knew the owner) and I had the cardboard for the sign part and then lettered on the number. Can't recall if the Alco belonged to Austin or it was owned by his good friends the Donze family of Ohio.

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It's sad that Car Museums are becoming a thing of the past! Forty years ago, I discovered the "Gast Car Museum" in Lancaster Pa. I loved going down to take pictures of the cars every summer, particularly when Mr. Gast purchased a "Waltz Blue" Tucker! The Museum is history now that it closed several years ago! So did the Reilly Car Museum just outside of Wilkes Barre, Pa. I miss them both!

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That view is from the north end of the loft area where spare parts were stored. Hundreds of brass side lights in pairs and more on 4 levels of shelves that were also there. You name it - spare rims and hubcaps for stuff were kept in other buildings at ground level, the rims in the truck barn which also was the local home for the raccoon population that you had to be careful with and treat with respect as the raccoons didn't understand a bunch of grubby guys disturbing the rusty old iron. In the loft was a hood for the FWD Christe taxicab but no other parts of the car were around. Some great pairs of headlamps for 1920s-30s cars as well on shelves. Also a beautiful; mint 1932 Hudson grille shell and pair of headlamps. There were also a pair of leaded glass doors for a cabinet with oak frames, about 4 1/2 feet tall and 2 foot wide each, I bought those and built them into a wall in my bedroom and use them every day.  Several pairs of early leather driving gloves were up there too but no one dared put their hands in them! Didn't want to disturb any tiny residents who took up living in them who had multiple legs and arms. Brass horns on the shelves next to the lights. You got up there via a staircase in the shop[ area of the museum at the back NW corner.  Being up there when it started to rain hard was really noisy as it was a metal building. Area was off limits ( shop and staircase to the loft ) to the general public - ie normal people.

Will stop now,  sorry - to much information to read , but I recall it like I was there doing it last weekend and it was 40 + years ago.

Walt

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I remember a few times being up in that parts loft when the lights suddenly went out. Then it turned into Helen Keller time. That was Austin's way of "motivating" everyone to get in the bus to go to lunch. 😄

 

Paul

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1 hour ago, PFitz said:

I remember a few times being up in that parts loft when the lights suddenly went out. Then it turned into Helen Keller time. That was Austin's way of "motivating" everyone to get in the bus to go to lunch. 😄

 

Paul

This bus I would guess. Bob 

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Bob, Yes that is the bus, later owned by Walter McCarthy. The bus had plate glass beveled windows in it. Body was the same as those used by horse drawn sleighs prior to WWI. You could get 25 people in the back of the bus and I had the pleasure of riding shotgun up front when Austin drove, with the solid rubber tires its top speed was about 20 mph and a full load of people.  Autocar 2 cylinder chassis. Austin told me it was my job to keep the spotlight on the dashboard facing forward just in case it got dark out all of a sudden. John Duck's Restaurant was the great restaurant we ate at after we cleaned up in the gentleman's rest room which was in poor shape after we all got out hands clean from picking through the parts at the museum. We all would go into the bar first and the first drink was on Austin - he did have a rule though which he would announce to all ( and was overheard by the other non car collecting patrons of the restaurant) that " anyone who is 12 years of age or younger has to sit at a table in the bar the rest of us can belly up to the bar" and we did. Austin's favorite lunch choice ( and mine as well) was fresh bay scallops or if they weren't available a shrimp salad sandwich on pumpernickel bread.

More useless information of the Iron Range Days........

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3 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

This bus I would guess. Bob 

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Yup. And scary to watch it stuffed full of people, wondering how it didn't tip over, as Austin drove it through the cemetery next to the museum to pay respects to his friend Gary Cooper,... and then whipped out into Hampton's weekend tourist traffic. 

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I've never seen this part of the country or had a chance to see the museum. Just wanted to say thanks for the thread as it's good to see the memories put to words after a rough week. 

 

Five star rating for the walk down memory lane through parts of America that some of us never got a chance to experience. 

Much needed :) 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My girlfriend (now wife-very tolerant woman) and I attended the first auction. I have the catalog somewhere. Three things stood out. We sat next to a gentlemen from the Lars Anderson museum in Boston. I thing he bought the most cars that day. Second, Leonidid, the Collier Brothers race car (which I was after) sold for big money at the time -$9500.00. Old race cars weren't in vogue at that time. The last car auctioned was Austie's Simplex Speed Car. He had a $100 K reserve. It was bid to $95K. Austie asked for $100K bid and the bidder said "We'll talk" Austie's reply-"No we won't". The guy passed on a Simplex for $5K!

We always had dinner at Barons Cove in Sag Harbor which is still there. I have to say  we spent a weekend in the Hamptons and it is what convinced us to get married - 37 years and counting.

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Stan Nowak was a good friend, he found more vintage sports cars than anyone I knew. I may have the two cars and owners swapped around but he found the SECOND oldest Ferrari, and sold it to Austin, less than a year later he found the OLDEST Ferrari and sold it to another guy. Got to see them both on the second floor of Del's Auto Body side by side, wish I had a camera. Bob

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Bob I think Austin bought the oldest Ferrari- it was stored in a back storage building at the museum next to 1917 VIM 4 cyl small parts truck that I bought from him. He never really did anything with the Ferrari it just lay there getting dusty for decades.

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He had a Tanker truck on a WW1 Liberty B chassis. Do you know what the story was behind that? It recently turned up in a scrap yard in very bad condition with a broken chassis but has now been saved - probably for parts as the chassis do turn up but the drive train does not. I am surprised that it did not sell into preservation but i guess people were not interested in military trucks then.

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Lack of interest for larger trucks at the time of the auction was the issue mostly, if there was some interest and the person was several states away the ability and cost to get it transported was a problem. There were a few guys who liked larger old trucks here at the middle section of long island but again it was due to size and ability to store it .

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