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UglyKillerLee

Henry Austin Clark Jr. Auto Collection?

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Is it within possibility tha a moderator can extract my post #32 and get it to full length??? I have left the junk for now,,as it is a flag that something has happend,,, And thanks for making this an interesting spot to post,, And thanks especially for posting that vid of the museum,,Cheers Ben

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Ben, In 2008 and 2009, there was a 1918 Vim truck at Macungie, Pennsylvania. A board with the truck said it was owned by Andrew F. Worrell, Sr. & Jr. In 2009 there was also a 1913 Vim there that I assume was owned by the same people. Beverley Rae Kimes wrote a story about Henry Austin Clark, Jr. that appeared in Automobile Quarterly, volume 38-1, 1998. There was probably no one better qualified to write about "Austie" than Ms. Kimes. Why she didn't write a full length book about him we'll never know now.

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Back when I was a kid, my Dad would commemorate the coming of every spring season by taking our family out to Mr. Clark's <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com><st1:PlaceName w:st=</st1:PlaceName>Long Island <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Automotive</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Museum. </st1:PlaceType></ST1:pFor a car-crazy kid like me, this was the equivalent of Howard Carter wandering around inside King Tut's tomb.

Some of the cars in the museum were restored to pristine condition. Others were well preserved, unrestored specimens found in the proverbial barn somewhere. The paint would be faded to a dull patina and some of the leather upholstery dried out and cracked. To go ahead and do a sparkling mint restoration on these perfectly intact antiques would rob them of their history, so they were simply displayed 'as is.' Over the decades, these cars were always parked in exactly the same spot, so I assume they were never driven.

I'm told, when some of the cars were discovered, they were such a rusted, wet-rotting shambles, there was no choice but to dig in, take everything apart and use the old parts as templates for the creation of new ones -- and occasionally replace non-operational extinct equipment with modern replacements that could be hidden behind something. The resulting 'driver' automobiles may not have been 100% original and their level of restoration would be something less than immaculate, but these were the cars that lived and breathed, exhaling blue smoke as they were driven in parades or just exercised for their health.

One such living vehicle was the museum's hook & ladder fire engine. This machine was a real blast because it was used to give rides to us kids on the winding dirt trail behind the museum buildings. We young 'uns would take turns clanging the bell while that beautiful, dusty, faded-red, retired hero would belch gobs of smoke like an uphill freight train and chug-chug-chug its stalwart, ancient heart out for us, siren wailing like a London air raid. For the aforementioned car-crazy kid, few things were as much fun, and aside from holding the hand of a young lady by the name of Julianne during school recess, this remains my happiest childhood memory. It was a terrible pity when the museum closed its doors back in the mid-1980's and auctioned off its collection, but in its day there was nothing else quite like it -- at least, not nearby. When I last saw them a few years ago, the empty, derelict museum buildings were a pitiful sight.

Bob Coiro

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Does anyone know the fate of a "Ruggles" (possibly Rugby) bus donated to the Clark collection in the early fifties?

I saw a picture of it in a magazine article from the early 50s about the collection.

The vehicle was a bus from the early 20s. It had a very long wheelbase truck chassis with a row of seats, what they used to call in England a toast rack charabanc.

It was used in Toronto Canada for years and when they took it out of service, they gave it to Mr. Clark in Long Island. I think from there, he took it to Florida.

Does anyone know of such a vehicle?

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I do remember a rather large, double decker bus in a corner of the museum's "back yard." It was in a rather sad state, with rotted tires, missing windows, etc., and it sure didn't look drivable. Clark also had a "Seven Santini Bros." moving van, which seemed to be a very static display, as well as a number of other sleeping giants. I'd guess that transporting such behemoths out of there after the museum closed was an enormously expensive undertaking. How I miss that wonderful place.

Bob

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Henry gave a seminar every year on antique trucks along with George Norton at the annual meeting in Philadelphia.It was so immensely popular that they needed a grand ballroom and all other activity came to a halt.I remember their line,"Old truckers never die, they just get a new Peterbilt"He also was a regular contributor to "Old Cars Weekly"He had an interesting column titled,"Old nuts and young bolts" then he had a less frequent column.I don't know the name of that column.Anyway he loved to tell stories of how he acquired his extensive collection.He also had a series of postcards made up of the cars in his collection.A sad story is the fate of his literature collection which wasted away in a damp warehouse till it was all but unusable.I seem to recall that our library was able to salvage a good portion of this collection.If Chris Ritter is reading this he can verify this.

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I remember one of the books for sale at the museum was a 9"x12" (or so) booklet bound by brass button fasteners. It was entitled, "Antique Cars" and was more or less a picture book concerned with the cars at the museum. I had one as a kid, but somewhere along the road of life, lost it. I'd love to get xerox copies of its pages if it exists in a library somewhere.

Bob

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Bob, Welcome to the AACA Forum. That booklet turns up on eBay once in a while, yes there are two brass clips that keep the pages together. The Carnival of Cars in NYC was an expensive failure and Austie closed it on March 1, 1955, so I guess all the cars featured in the booklet were his before that date. The Milton Bradley picture and history card collection may have been the start of Austie's post card production, it was coyprighted in 1961. Each card had a brief history of the car, most were his, but other collectors cars were featured.

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Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)

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The Seven Santini Bros. van is now owned by Horseless Carriage Transport in New Jersey. Totally restored it has been at Hershey many times.

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The charabanc had been stored inside and was in good condition when given to Austin Clark. It was driven from Toronto to Long Island. This was about 1950 or 51. The vehicle was an early 20s model so it would be 25 or 30 years old at the time.

I think I heard he took it to Florida but whether he drove it or shipped it I don't know. It would be interesting to learn what became of it if anyone remembers such a vehicle. The magazine article was in Mechanix Illustrated in 1951 or 52.

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I remember one of the books for sale at the museum was a 9"x12" (or so) booklet bound by brass button fasteners. It was entitled, "Antique Cars" and was more or less a picture book concerned with the cars at the museum. I had one as a kid, but somewhere along the road of life, lost it. I'd love to get xerox copies of its pages if it exists in a library somewhere.

Bob

Bob,

May be worth your while to see if your AACA Library & Research Center would have an original to copy.

On the home page, click on "Library" and you will see instructions to request a search. Or, you could contact our excellent staff at the L&RC in Hershey, PA: 717-534-2082

Head Librarian: Mr. Chris Ritter crittter@aacalibrary.org

The L&RC retains an enormous amount of original materials. Hopefully they have what you are looking for.

Regards,

Peter J.

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Thanks for all the replies, fellas. Yes, 1937HD45, that's exactly the book I'm talking about. Holy cow, dorment memories are flooding back! Haven't seen that book cover since the Johnson administration. Yes, I remember the phrase, "Carnival of Cars," but can't seem to place it. I saw a 1915 Model T Fire Chief's runabout at the Southampton Fire Department's antique vehicle facility this Summer and it looks very darn much like the one that was in Mr. Clark's museum. It is in gorgeous shape. You can see some photos of it at this web address:

Model T Ford Forum: New Photos of 1915 Fire Chief's Car

Bob Coiro

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Thank you, Mr. Heizmann. Yes, I'll phone them up tomorrow.

Bob<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

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When Richard Paine Jr., founder of the Seal Cove Auto Museum, passed away he took many secrets to the grave, including the provenance of most of his cars.

As the Museum's director, searching out the 'who, what, when, and where' of our extraordinary collection is proving an ongoing and facinating challenge.

One of our autos, a 1904 Knox, has been such a challenge. The car sure looked like the one pictured in the Standard Catalog of American Cars attributed to Henry Austin clark Jr., the Knox in the Long Island Automobile Museum postcard, and the Knox briefly shown in the '50 Years of Progress' film strip featuring Henry Austin Clark Jr., but no records or proof.

Last Tuesday, July 20th, our staff mechanic and volunteers started up our Knox for the first time in years. While going through the car, they found, buried under the seat, its registration from February 3, 1970. Sure enough, registered to Waleta H. Clark, Austie's dear wife.

So, at least one of Henry Austin Clark Jr's cars is at the Seal Cove Auto Museum on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Yesterday, who walks in the door but Autie's son and grandson! They were on the Island for a wedding, decided to visit the Museum, and had no idea the Knox was here. This is what makes collecting cars such a special hobbyicon7.gif

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The 1904 Know Austie had came from Winthrop Mass. the original owner was a stair builder and at one time converted the car to a truck. He saved the original body, and it was reunited with the chassis and restored by the Antique Auto Shop. This info is on the back of the Milton Bradley card collection that I've had since 1961. The one exPaine collection car I'd like to see again is the 1911 MERCER he bought here in town @1963 for $15,500, those were great days in the hobby. Austie had family members living here in 1777, their house was part of the barricade on Main Street set up to stop the 2,200 British troops that had burned supplies in Danbury. The only land battle fought in Connecticut during the American Revolution.

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Just an aside, but I grew up in Glen Cove on Long Island, across the street from the private lane where Mr. Clark lived. As kids playing outside, in the late '60s-early '70s, we'd always keep an open ear for the sound of Mr. Clark driving one of his cars home. When we'd hear the singular sound of one of his cars, we'd run to the street and wave. He'd always wave back and frequently honk his horn, if he had one. For his daughter's wedding, he mounted an entire caravan of antique autos, with passengers bedecked in vintage outfits. It was quite a show!

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1907 Locomobile Type E Touring Car

Chassis no. 1322

Engine no. 1583

The Richard C. Paine Jr. Collection, 26 Sep 2008 to 27 Sep 2008 auction held at the Owls Head Transportation Museum, Maine

Richard C. Paine, Jr. acquired this Locomobile in a package transaction with a Rolls-Royce in 1988. It had been formerly part of the famous collection of sugar heir Henry Austin Clark, Jr. and its condition indicates it was probably restored for Clark’s Long Island Automotive Museum in Southampton. In a 1964 article in “The Bulb Horn” Smith Hempstone Oliver makes an intriguing reference to a “4-cylinder, Type E Locomobile of 1907” in Mike Caruso’s legendary Hicksville, Long Island salvage yard. In part it relates, “This car was ultimately wheedled away from Mike by Henry Austin Clark, Jr., who completely restored the car to its original condition and now exhibits it in his famous Long Island Automotive Museum at Southampton, Long Island.” - BONHAMS

Wish we still had this one at the Seal Cove Auto Museum. :(

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Received the nicest gift in the mail from Austie's son after his visit to the Museum... a complete set of prints published by the L.I. Auto Museum in the 1950s. Included were extra copies of the 1904 Knox print.

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Hello, looking for any pictures you know of the Harry S. Harkness Trophy or pictures with Harry giving out the trophy. Since he bought the

Sheepshead Bay Speedway in 1915 and he passed away in Jan of 1919 I don't think there are many pics of him giving out the trophy if any. There is a 1917 race of Louis Chevrolet winning and someone handing him a trophy but not sure if that is Harkness. I am involved in a project rebuilding Harry S. Harkness Steinway Grand see link Harry S. Harkness

Scroll down halfway down the page to see the piano and clik on.

Looking for anything and everything to do with Harkness and I have located alot of information but looking for more. I understand the Harkness Trophy was donated to the Henry Ford Museum in 1986 from Henry Austin Clark Jr.

Has anyone ever seen the trophy there? Anyone have pics on it? I can't find any pics on the Henry Ford Museum site in Dearborn, Michigan. I can also be reached by phone in California anytime 408 593 4262. Cheers Don

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My Dad knew Mr. Clark very well in the 50-60s . We would make many a trip from Phila. up to Long Island to see his fantastic collection in those days.

Over the years he must have had hundreds of cars.

I remember once Dad asked him how & where he found all those cars.

His reply~ "Most of them have found Me !"

I believe those postcards helped in getting the word out that he was ln fact searcing for Antique cars.

There was a reason he had them made-up !

People would search him out to sell him some old barn relic as a result as a result of seeing his post cards..

He was know as the nut who was buying these old cars by most people not in the hobby.

To most folks at that time they were just old junk !

Many he got for free or very little money.

He knew the story and purchase price of each & every car he owned!

Also he knew where the buried remains of old rare makes were all around the country!

On one visit to his museum I saw two guys there from a hobby model company there taking photos & measurments of several of his more interesting cars.

One was a Stanley, another was a Rambler as I remember.

They planned to make toy model kits from these cars.

Some of the very model car kits we built as kids were based on his cars.

Austin had tons of rare parts.

It is very true that he & others re-created cars based simply on a few engine & driveline parts he found burried in the ground. He would use old photos or visit another collector who owned such a car. In fact you might be suprised at how many rare brass era resortions we see extant today started as only a few pieces burried in the woods on an old farm !

His true love were the as-found survivor time capsule cars.

I once asked if he was going to restore some of these as found cars. He replied that they should & would be kept in their original condition for the future to see how they were in their day.I remember my Dad tipping him off on some great barn finds in the tri-county Phila & South Jersey area. Dad found lots of great cars~Because he had a young family Dad could not afford to buy everything he found. !

Some of the rarest and most fantastic brass era cars came from Austin Clark.

He also had a vast collecion of photos and car paper items. Those were really the golden days of early brass era car collecting !

You never knew what you might find in the next barn, garage, or chicken coop ! I only wish I had a time machine to pay one last visit to Mr.Clark's Long Island Antique Auto Museum !

Great barn finds are rather rare these days. Especially rare brass era cars ! BRAD HUNTER

215 947 4676

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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I have one of Mr. Clark's postcards, copyright 1970, of a 1934 Bugatti T59 (erroneously captioned as a 1936), chassis #59124, which at the time was owned by Dieter Holterbosch of New York City; it had previously been owned by F. R. Ludington of Pelham, and Mr. Holterbosch passed it to Robert Sutherland. While I have collected quite a lot of images and information on this car, I wonder if Mr. Clark had any additional photos of it, and where I might find them. The car no longer exists in this road-going form, and I'm trying to replicate it as a scale model. This car had earlier been photographed by Irv Dolin for Sports Cars Illustrated in 1957 and his pictures appeared in Ralph Stein's 1967 book, "The Great Cars."

Thanks for any assistance.

T5959124postcardcopy.jpg

Edited by Skip Jordan (see edit history)

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A sad story is the fate of his literature collection which wasted away in a damp warehouse till it was all but unusable.I seem to recall that our library was able to salvage a good portion of this collection.If Chris Ritter is reading this he can verify this.

As Dave mentions, Austie had piles of stuff, in disorganized mountains of piles, everywhere. Some of the outbuildings at the Southampton museum had dirt floors and no electricity,. During the day, with flashlights, he would allow some of us to go in and "mine" for parts. I remember a pile of rusty auto parts about four foot high and 10 x 15 foot wide. We dug out our BEST ever find, of a full set of the four (fronts & rears) hubs and knockoffs and spindles labeled from Jimmy Murphy from his "racecar". Other times, Austin sold us entire, rusty Model T rames, on the running gear, with frozen engine still mounted in the frame for about $50. We used the Model T front & 1926-27 rear axles and brake handles & cross-shafts for some of our pre-WWII race cars.

Our race car restoration shop, (founded in 1939)was only about 20 minutes away, in Riverhead. On one Great year, (in 1980s)the annual rally around Eastern Long Island, of the fabulous cars from his museum, AND other guest cars, used our vintage racecar shop and all the restored racecars there, for the lunch break/Rest stop, on their tour. All kinds of Mercers, Stutz, Locomobiles, Simplex, etc, DRIVING around our property! Wish I could find the photos, that are buried somehwere around here. Went to the incredilbe auctions too. Enough stories about hose to fill a long article.

But as to his literature..

Obviously a mine of fantastic rarities and treasures. And before the auctions, I remember climbing over piles of it, strewn all around the attic section of the museum. Others had obviously also been climbing over it, and some sad sights of torn & wet piles of rare lit. But additional clues to his BEST stuff, might be in the #70 post by Donald. Alec Ulmann, who needs no introduction here, was one of Clark's good friends over many decades. He even had his Summer place only about ten minutes out past the museum. When Alec passed away, his wife had asked me to help her with the deluge of requests for Alec's rare auto literature and historic records collections, from collectors and museums, all around the world. I made lists and appraisals for her, and handled a lot of the transfers etc. He had numerous runs of rare European auto periodicals covering the first decade or two of automobile history. I spent many days there, over a few months time.

His wife Mary, told me that Alec had been partners with Austin on some of the literature collections they purchased. She told me that Austin had somehow managed to get a tax write-off on his literature collection, with a document to donate it to the Henry Ford Museum. The ODDest part was that he got his tax deduction, but had a stipulation that his literature donation would not be shipped to Ford until he passed away. Sounds incredible, but I guess the Ford museum would be able to verify or disprove. So a lot of his best literature MAY be in the Ford library..

I have a few shelves of Alec's earliest WWI & earlier)auto literature, brochures, tech books, bound periodical runs, etc here. Gives me great memories of him, and great reference material, as well. I found his Hispano Suiza/Bugatti Club meeting registers from first day, to many years later, in the boxes, a couple of years ago. Sent them out to artist Jim Dietz to make a nice reunion presentation to re-unite them with the Club , where they belonged, at one of the West Coast premier auto concours. Great smiles for all, that day

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I too remember Austie's great gold mine of parts.

He would often just give rare needed Antique & classic parts to my Father !

If he did not have the part you needed hmself~~~ He would often find it for you !

He knew everyone in the old car hobby !

Austie lived for old cars~~~ Just like my Father !

Money was never a real issue with Austie !

He gave many rare cars & rarer parts away to his old car friends.

He was indeed a great & kind fellow !

Dad also supplied Austie with many great Brass-Era & auto finds from the Philaelphia & South New Jersey areas .

Many of Austie's parts also came from our old mutual friend Sam Adelman's great NY auto wrecking yard !

Sam & Austie were great life-long friends .

These two fellows were truly each one of a kind !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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Skip, Thank you for posting the photo of the exLudington Type 59 Bugatti, I never knew Bob Sutherland later owned it. I was the guy that removed the fenders when I was at Vintage Auto, they were very well made and matched the factory tail section design. The car is restored and in England now, there was a feature on it in one of the UK publications with in the last two years.

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