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Henry Austin Clark Jr. Auto Collection?


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Does anyone know what happened to the Henry Austin Clark Jr. Collection of Antique Automobiles that used to be on display at the Long Island Auto Museum?

I am specifically looking for information on the American LaFrance fire engines he had in the collection.

Thanks!

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Most of the cars sold at auction before the Museum closed. The fire engine may have gone to the Bill Harrah Collection at that time. Many of Austie's cars sold to some of the other great collectors of the time, tracing their current ownership is something I enjoy doing.

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Interesting fellow. Though trained as an attorney he was apparently never encumbered with the need to work. Met him several times at Hershey but never got to his museum. Wish I had. He was a legendary figure in the hobby.

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I thought Bob would be able to give us a reasonable list of present whereabouts. The Pierce Arrows should be known to Bernie Weiss of the Pierce Arrow Society. The Silver Arrow and the 66hp that was shipped to England and back for that Anglo-American Rally in the 1950's should be well known. The New York-Paris Race Thomas Flyer, restored fastidiously by Harrah's, is possibly still in Reno??? Does the T-head Mercer Raceabout still belong to his son, as also the chain drive pre-1910 FIAT Brevetti which they took to the 1980 Glidden at Bretton Woods??? The family possibly retained other favourite cars as well. Fred Roe would know the whereabouts of the 1916 16valve walking beam 4 cyl Duesenberg racing car. There was a review and road test of a 1910 Lancia in an issue of Auto Italia about four years ago. Peter Helck bought this from Austie. It then went to a museum in Holland, and is now in England. It is a 3.5litre Gamma. It is supposed to be a car that won the Tideman Trophy at Savannah, which is possible if the engine is a late replacement. Hillard won that race in 1908, probably in a 2.5 litre Alpha; and Knipper won the same rce the next year in a 3.1 litre Beta model. It would be nice if history of cars was not confused and obscured. There is about a 1909 serial number, which you would expect to be on a brass plate on the dash stamped of the front dumb iron of the chassis where I have never seen a Lancia serial number. Austie was deeply into Simplex and valued them highly; so this is another of his cars that is probably still in the family. Fred Hoch may know where cars are now, because he closely shared interest in both Mercer and Simplex. Morris Burrows was particular to introduce me to Austie on the Glidden in 1980, but the later Mercers I have were not his particular interest; so our conversation was brief and insignificant. That is 8 of his cars that I am aware of though I have only seen one, and I don't live in the country: You blokes might be able to do better than that.

Ivan Saxton

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Guest BillP

Ivan, your knowledge of old stuff is amazing. I'm grateful you choose to spend/waste some time here. Maybe you should just make a short list of the things you DON'T know.

Yes, Bob, how 'bout more than a one liner; this is right up your alley, no?

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The walking beam Duesenberg race car was in a disassembled pile in the back corner of Vintage Auto Restorations the day I started in 1970. We litterly chimbed over the pile to get to other things over the years. Austie finally swaped it even for a 3 liter Bentley to a fellow in Colorado who restored it. After he passed on it went to a collector in Mass. David Greenleas cast a new block for it and I finally got a ride it the car 2-3 years ago through the back roads around Sharron, Ct. GREAT Automobile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 2 years later...

I realize this is a late response to an old thread, but I couldn't e-mail 1937hd45 directly.

The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum in Fairbanks, Alaska has three cars that I believe were once in the Long Island Auto Museum: 1906 Compound, 1914 Moline-Knight and a 1918 Biddle. The Compound went to Harrah's and then Carl Schmitt of Washington purchased it. Parker Wickham of Long Island bought the Moline-Knight, and we bought the Biddle from Charles Riker of Cold Springs Harbor, NY.

Does anyone know if a book about the Long Island Museum was ever published?

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Ivan Saxton's thread has a question mark at the end of the sentence about the Around the World Thomas Flyer. It is in the National Museum in Reno. It was shown along with 14 other Thomas Flyers at the Amelia Island Concours a couple of years ago where the largest collection of Thomas had assembled since the factory closed. Harold COker

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Back around 1960 or thereabouts my father took me to the Long Island Auto Museum. I was under 10 years old at the time. I got a ride in an old fire truck and a 1903 Cadillac. They had a dirt road that ran behind the building, I think.

Lots of good memories of that day, and I'm still into cars!

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Nancy, the only "book" that I know of is the soft cover Antique Cars by Henry Austin Clark, this was a collection of photos of many of the cars Austie printed on post cards. It would be nice to know what the total number of cars was that passed through the Clark collection, he had the pick of the very best in the early years of the hobby. I never knew he owned the Compound, a really fine early car that I saw out at Harrahs and later in a private collection here in Connecticut. There was a Milton Bradley post card size photo collection box set that Austin put together in the early 1960's, and of course his many post cards of his and other antique cars. The total number of cards is unknown but it must be in the hundreds. Many of his cars are now restored or RErestored and may have lost there distinctive ID an an Austie Car.

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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Thanks to Dave Brownell, I was lucky enough to call Austie a friend and spent many hours with him at Hershey and while he was working with us on the Standard Catalog Series of books at KP. The old car world was never the same with his passing and the passing of the Long Island Auto Museum. He had a really great early teens big Austin touring, I would love to know where that one went to.

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He had a really great early teens big Austin touring, I would love to know where that one went to.

I believe that's the 1909 that was at Hershey last fall. A huge and amazing car.

Check for a private message.

Don

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Henry Austin Clark Jr wrote a series of articles (or was it a regular column) for Old Cars back in the late '70's early '80's as I remember. These were compiled in a volume of The Best of Old Cars. Very interesting reading, well worth reprinting in my opinion. Henry was not above "recreating" a very rare car from a few original parts. His story of resurrecting a Pungs-Finch from a few original parts is classic. This story came once again to mind when I saw a (the) Pungs-Finch at Amelia Island this Spring. Never met him personally but do remember him holding court in the flea market at Hershey.

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Austie Clark's column in Old Cars was called "Young Nuts and Old Bolts" (also known as "YNOB").

Bev Kimes has told me that Clark was a great mentor and influence on her writing. I think she might have gotten some or much of his literature and data.

When she passed away a year or so ago, I think she donated much of her literature collection to the AACA Library, which might mean the Museum also got the Clark material. Can someone like Wes Peterson confirm this?

Clark had in his collection a Model K Ford. The noted early car collector D. Cameron Peck in Chicago saw it on a used car lot in south Chicago about 1946, paid $100 for it and sent it to Austie on a railroad flatcar COD, without telling Clark in advance. Mr. Peck's mechanic was a friend of mine and recounted that story to me with a great laugh many years ago. Peck knew Clark wanted one, and thought Clark could easily afford it, so.......... (wouldn't we all like that surprise package today???)

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Austin Clark was an interesting person and we, on Long Island, were truly fortunate to have him in our midst. I remember, back in the '60s, driving out to Southampton many times to visit his museum. I bought a bunch of picture post cards of his cars that he had for sale. The auctions that were held at the museum were fascinating. I got to look out in back in the storage quonset huts. I almost bought a 1923 Franklin that was all there, but backed out because I questioned my own ability to restore it.

I remember a few years ago, Automobile Quarterly did an article about him. I think it was written by Beverly Rae Kimes. One thing about that article that stood out to me was his statement that the last pay check he ever received was when he was a Naval officer.

Of all the cars that he had in his collection, the Thomas Flyer impressed me the most.

Great memories.

Roger

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I have the 1911 seagrave chemical hose fire truck in Nevada that austin clark sold to harrah in the 1960s. it has a 6 cylinder 1,113 cubic inch engine in it. some of the americian la frances went to Bill Harrah & then to Bill Anderson also in Nevada years ago & have all been sold to new homes in the last 3 years. I dont know who bought them. hope this helps.

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A belated thanks to 1937hd45 for the information on Austie's book.

Our museum just acquired an 1899 Hertel runabout that was once in his collection. It then passed to Vernon Jarvis, then Bob Bahre, and then the Ward Brothers.

I'm pretty sure we have a few more of Austie's cars than what I mentioned in an earlier post, as a large part of our collection was acquired from J. Parker Wickham in Long Island. The problem is, the files are at work and the only time I have to surf this site is at home in the evening! I'll try to remember to look for more former Austie Clark cars when I'm at work.

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WOW!!!! You have the Hertell, a wonderfull one of a kind horseless carriage. Just pulled out my box of Milton Bradley picture cards that Austie produced and the Hertell is on one. From what I've seen you have a great collection up there. I really enjoy knowing the wereabouts of cars that were in collections pre 1960. So many of the great cars were in the early collections and made the rounds in other great collections. You can't go wrong collecting cars from great collectors IMO. It will be many years before I can afford it but I really want to get to Alaska, your collection sounds like a high light.

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My late father-in-law, Jack Pausewang (AKA "Mr. Cord") purchased an unrestored 1937 Cord Beverly Sedan from Austin in 1968. He finished it in a maroon color. When I got married in 1977, he chauffered us to the wedding in that car. What a beauty! It was sold two years ago, after he died.

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Actually, with the way the recession hit the Alaska travel industry, now is the time to visit (well, next summer anyway). I was amazed at how cheap a lot of cruise packages were this year--in some cases cheaper than flying, and with all your meals included.

Part of my job has been to research the history of the cars in our collection, and I can't say enough how disappointing it is to know nothing beyond whom the last owner was. My heart just sinks when the only paperwork that comes with a car is a bill of sale and some oral history that may or may not be true (God bless Carl Schmitt for assembling binders for each of his cars, which we have in turn done). Please everyone, keep a record of your car's lineage. It may end up in a museum some day!

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Cruise ship or one of those "Deadliest Catch" crab boats? I know I'd fit in and feel better on the crab boat. Nice to know you have files on all the cars in the collection, good and bad it is good to have all the cars history. There is one car in your collection that has a rear axle that was once mine, and I can fill in some of the cars history.

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The best way to get to Alaska by boat is to travel on the ferry from Bellingham, WA. Not as exciting as "Deadliest Catch" but it smells a lot better.

Do please contact me about the car with your former axle. Every day I say "I wish these old cars could talk," but talking to folks that can help piece together a car's history is the next best thing. Thank goodness for the Internet. It's helped us discover why the Henderson roadster we got from Park Wickham's collection looks so funky.

By the way, I just bought two of Austie's postcards of the Hertel off of eBay. I thought some would come with the little "moto-cycle's" file but guessed wrong. We have postcards of the Biddle but I haven't seen one of the Moline-Knight. Is that in your collection? It might have looked too rough when Austie had it to put on a postcard.

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Nancy, I sent you an email about one car in your collection. In the process of finding your email link I found the list of cars in the collection. WOW! that is a very impressive collection, I had no idea you were into Pre War cars to that extent, nice to know were some of the cars I've admired for 40+ years are now. Whoever picks the cars to add to that collection has a good eye for it. That is a World Class collection.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Nancy and all,,,Hope i can help,,but this area could be problems,,,as my recollection is going to predate a lot,,,,,Who has the VIM truck,,,it is [ was] thought that there was only one left,,,I hve always wonderd where it went,,the spot where it was in CANESSA's Junk yard AYER <MASS,,[home of Ft Devens]]was bare,in the spring?? along the fence as you enterd,,,and next to the spot was a Mack pup,,,the old stand by,,Wilson's Lumber yard,Concord,Ma, ,,had no starter,,never did,,,but it got the hay and lumber deliverd all during the war,,,so i think this was about 1948--49,,Someone said someone from New York had bought it ,,,er,,,em,,,likely story,,,ive heard em all,,,,It was a screen side delivery body,,,bear in mind I was about 13 at that time,,,,but I still was saving for a real car,,my 4cyl Dodge was fine for the woods roads,,,[no body///farm wagon/ got an extea gas cupon during ///later/// now lets see,,HURTEL,,,havent heard about that one in a while,,,there could be 2 or 3,,,parts of one were pulled out of the town dump,,,town where it was made,,haha,,,Seems I heard of one going overseas,,,Did Baer research this,,,,E/M me on this ,,,there is ONE man alive that worked w/ H,Chauncey Wing in the machine shop,,1907 Mercedes,,,yes a real seventy,,,,these are the things that leagends are made of,,,there was one in RI also,,Its on Vmcca Anglo Am tour booklet,,on the club ,com thing,,,,They had trouble with how to lube the clutch,,it grabb'd and tore out several valve stems,, It slipped the wheel inside the tire,,,This was around 1948--49 Joe Knowles talked of this when I visited,,,this was when my transport was a Pope Columbia 1speed bike!!! I found a drive spring anyone missing a spring??? By 1951 Henry [Jr] had restored a beautiful Clement Bayard,,,,,there was also a 1cyl Olds,,,the paint had DEEP luster,,,a luster we were not to see again till the invention of CANDY--APPLE,,,,this was the paint and vernish of George Green,,Lambertville NJ,,,It also idled UNDER 70 RPM,,,This was at the fall meet of Major Guyette,,Peterborough Nh,, the Majors cars disapperd also,,,not a one was restored,,,Oh yes,,,Whose got the DeDion,,that was in a barn in Woburn,,,,,next to the Bleriott airplane,,,Metz as going to use it as pattern and sell planes,,That was the old Paris-Madrid racer I think,,,,Thats enough to get off thred,,,,Ill try for more later,,,,Ben

Edited by cben09
omission (see edit history)
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Gee where did a half hour of typi'n go,,The paris Madrid racer,,mercedes 70 and 2or3 hurtels,,,i think I will look for my Moores Lever type self filling fountain pen,,,the ink takes longer to fade,,,aaaaahh,,,,,,Be n

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do you know who the current owner of the old museum is?

Some towns have a website with tax info. I usually look up "plat map" along with the town name and state, on google. If a tax site exists for that town, it will show the owners name, but it may be a corporation or an individual.

You would need an address or at least know about where it is, so you can get the "lot number" to get the info.

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Howard Kroplick has done much reserch around there on the Vanderbilt Race,,,I ran into a view of the buildings as they are,,,on a site,,,think it was his,,,,just last week,,He has done some stuff,,,,,then // Now,,,really impressive,,,,Type,,,"" Vanderbilt Cup,,1908'' and go from there,,,The real stuff,,,,Pop quiz tomorrow,,,Cheers Ben

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