Halderman Museum Barn

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Halderman Museum Barn

The Halderman Museum Barn is a tribute museum to the late Gale Halerman who passed away in 2020.   Gale was one of the head designers at Ford Motor Company and is the one responsible for the design of the original Mustang in 1965. Halderman’s sketch which was done in the middle of the night at his kitchen table was chosen by Lee Lacocca to become the new Mustang.

The Halderman Museum Barn is made up mostly of Gale Halderman’s personal collection and pays tribute to Mustang. The museum is open to the public but only appoint by appointment.

6476 US-40,
Tipp City, OH 45371

Halderman Museum Barn Admission:

Donation

Plan: 1hr

Halderman Museum Barn Hours:

By Appointment

haldermanmustang.com

Image via Darlene Marrs

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Museo Nicolis

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Museo Nicolis

One of the most exciting private museums in Europe, Museo Nicolis in Verona tells the story of twentieth century technology and international design.

Museo Nicolis exhibits the treasures of Made in Italy and international mechanics in an itinerary that, hall after hall, presents valuable and plentiful collections that vary from cars, motorbikes and historical bicycles, to cameras and typewriters, musical instruments and even a few aeroplanes.

Besides being an unmissable stopover for tourists, machine-lovers and the curious, with its absolutely unique exhibits, Museo Nicolis is also a symbol of innovation and development and plays an active role within Museimpresa (Italian Association of Archive and Museum Companies).

The Museum owes its foundation to the enormous passion of Luciano Nicolis for collecting unique technical and mechanical items. A collection that represents the history of life and that obtained its first 6000 square-metre exhibition area when it opened in 2000. A Car, Engineering and Mechanics Museum based on historical technology all housed inside an ultra-modern and entirely accessible building. His treasures are subdivided into eight different collections in order to provide an organized and structured itinerary to suit every visitor.

It houses 10 collections, whose numbers are incredible: 200 cars, 110 bicycles of the great champions, 100 motorbikes, 500 cameras and movie cameras, 100 musical instruments and jukeboxes, 100 typewriters, 100 Formula 1 steering wheels and turing steering wheels but also small airplanes and instruments, a military area with relics of First and Second World War, models of cars, motorbikes and trains, and original works of human talent. On one side of the exhibition building the museum provides a Meeting Center, the “Room of Ideas”, tourist activities, a Documentation Center, a Library and a one of the best stocked Bookstore concerning the motoring world.

Viale Postumia, 71,
37069 Villafranca di Verona VR, Italy
P:
+390456303289
E: info@museonicolis.com

Museo Nicolis Admission:

Adult €14.00
Seniors €12
Kids €6

Plan: 1-2 hr

Museo Nicolis Hours:

Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 6 pm

museonicolis.com

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A Visit to the Museum of Automobiles and Fashions, Málaga, Spain

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A Visit to the Museum of Automobiles and Fashions, Málaga, Spain

Located in a medium-sized city on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, the Museo Automovilistico y de la Moda (Museum of Automobiles and Fashion) combines a large assortment of cars (about 90) with a collection of women’s fashion, both spanning most of the past century.

The museum seems like an art museum, in a building with high ceilings, a spacious interior with inner columns, and a number of works of automotive art displayed among the cars.  Many of the dresses, gowns, coats, and other items of clothing are displayed alongside cars of the same period, with many more in a separate room. Vintage luggage also is on display with some of the older cars, and some cars include mannequins in period costumes.

Some of the vehicles are grouped by decade and others are grouped by theme (designer cars, prototypes, customs, etc).  Some don’t seem to fit into any theme, but all appear to have been chosen for their historical significance as well as attractiveness or interesting features.  The collection is all private cars with no trucks or other commercial or emergency vehicles.

The largest group is from the 1930s, but all periods from the very early days of motoring through the 1980s are represented. A couple have been left purposely in original “found” condition – one of them is a Belgian Minerva (which looks much like a Model T) that served in World War I and still has bullet holes in the rear seat.  Several of the cars are unique prototypes or experimental cars, and others are probably the only surviving examples of their type. Several cars are custom creations by the museum staff and others that evoke the American hot rod and customizing scenes.

Countries represented in the collection as of my visit in October 2018 included the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany and Czechoslovakia, and a wide variety of manufacturers were represented. Most brands have only one or two vehicles, but several Rolls-Royces, Cadillacs, and Jaguars were present.  Quite a few cars are American; for example, the museum has a pair of cars from E.L. Cord’s company, a 1936 Auburn Model 851 and a 1937 Cord 812 Westchester Sedan. The museum seems to have more pre-World War I cars than most auto collections, including a 1903 Dijon-Bouton, a 1910 Stanley Steamer and a 1916 Milburn electric car.

Museo Automovilístico de Málaga

In keeping with the idea of automobiles as works of art, there are some artistic impressions of automotive-related items on display, and some cars have been decorated in unusual ways.  Several separately-displayed motors are painted and decorated as objects of art. Swarovski crystals are widely used in the custom creations – adorning everything from a 1934 Ford custom to a 1987 Rolls-Royce – and a 1924 Unic in the museum was painted in bright colors back in the 1920s by famous French artist Sonia Delaunay, the first artist to decorate cars. Decorative human and animal skulls are another common motif, both incorporated into custom cars and mounted atop some of the dress models in a room full of gowns. Other dress dummies are topped by auto headlights.

All of the cars are interesting and most of them are very attractive – a couple are just weird. It was great to see some vintage foreign cars that one would be unlikely to find in the USA apart from some of the top concours events.  Some of the cars were a little hard to photograph because of uneven lighting or obstructions, but most of them were lit pretty well and were very accessible, with a fair amount of space between them which makes photography a lot easier.

Among the cars present during my visit, these stood out:

1909 Richmond Model J: One of only two surviving examples in the world, the car was manufactured in Richmond, Indiana, where the only other surviving example resides.

1914 American LaFrance racer: This racing car was built on a fire truck chassis and is the closest thing in the museum to a truck. This may be the only example in Europe, discovered in the 1960s by a British racing driver who was killed shortly afterward driving a Formula 1 car.

1916 Buick Model D44: Displayed with mannequins and luggage, it represents the arrival of the first tourists to Spain’s Costa del Sol (Sun Coast).

1923 Minerva Model 00 chauffeured limousine: This car cost more than a Rolls-Royce in its day. The rear panels are covered with wicker-like paneling and the interior ceiling in the passenger compartment is lined with silk. Minervas were made in Belgium and were the brand favored by the Belgian royal family.

1956 Chrysler Imperial C70 Crown limousine: Only 175 of these were made, intended for heads of state and other big shots. A Crown met Princess Grace when she arrived in Monaco, and another was the President of Portugal’s official car.

1939 Packard Twelve: This car is complete with a wooden “minibar” and glasses in the rear compartment.

1949 Delage 3-liter D6: To me, this car was the most beautiful one in the collection.  Philip Delage enlisted a couple of famous artists to make this car special, one of whom designed the crystal eagle radiator mascot. In addition to its beautiful lines and two-tone paint job, the car has ostrich leather upholstery and silver and ivory accents in the interior. It’s surprising to see right-hand drive on a French car, so perhaps this one was built for a British customer.

1938 French Talbot-Lago T23: This car was, in my opinion, the second-most attractive car in a collection full of good-looking autos.

Museo Automovilístico de Málaga

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K, one of my favorite cars – only 419 were made.

Bugatti 1939 Model 57 Galibier, the only Bugatti in the collection.

1937 Peugeot 402 “Eclipse:” Preceding the Ford Skyliner by exactly 20 years, this Peugeot 402’s retractable hardtop gave it the name “Eclipse.” The roof system, which was used on a number of models, was designed by a dentist, Georges Paulin, who became chief stylist for Carrosserie Pourtout, Peugeot’s coachbuilder, and later was a designer for Rolls-Royce-Bentley.  Paulin became a British spy after the fall of France in World War II. He was betrayed and executed by the German occupation forces in 1942. The museum says this car was “buried” during World War II and was one of the most difficult restorations in the collection.

1932 Helicron: A prototype French car from 1932, the Helicron was powered by a surplus WW 1 airplane engine, and its design followed an aircraft motif.  A similar car is in the Lane Motor Museum collection in Nashville, TN.

1932 Rolls-Royce wood-bodied “shooting brake” or hunting car.

1932 Ford Model B hot rod: Notable in this example is the exquisite flame paint job and the golden, crystal-encrusted skull on the radiator cap (the museum seems to have a thing about skulls and Swarovski crystals).

Museo Automovilístico de Málaga

1938 Lincoln Zephyr custom: Note the placement of the exhaust pipe.

“La Bomba” (The Bomb): This custom hot rod was built by the museum staff. Very little information was provided about the car, including the original source, but it looks like the body was entirely custom-built and probably just the frame was recognizable from the original source.  I spent a long time looking at this car and took a lot of photos of it.  Every part of it was fascinating, from the custom wheels to the dual windscreens and headrests, the pointed rear bumper, and the huge blower on top of the engine.  The firewall had nothing attached to it at all, just a hole for the steering column.  I looked all over the open engine compartment for a battery and gave up. All the components in this area are mounted on the engine itself. Of course they had to put a skull on it too; in this case donated by some animal.

1934 Lancia Dilambda: This was one of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini’s parade cars.  You can almost picture Il Duce standing in the back in his characteristic pose with upraised arm and his chin pointing toward the sky.

1939 Lancia Astura: It seems a lot more elegant and powerful than the earlier Lancia; this particular one was customized for an Italian countess by Pininfarina and included bottles of perfume and jars of makeup in the back seat.

1938 Panhard-Levassor: This French design takes fender skirts to a whole different level by incorporating them into the body fore and aft (must have been tough changing tires).  I love the paint job but I’m not sure about the skirts and the clunky-looking headlight screens. Note the three windshield wipers.

1930 Nash Ambassador Series 400: I loved the colors on this one. Other American cars from this period were a 1927 Paige Jewett sedan and a 1930 Pierce-Arrow convertible. The museum touted a 1931 Studebaker FD Commander as an example of the cars used by Chicago gangsters, which probably would be surprising to most Americans more accustomed to Lincolns, Cadillacs, Chryslers and Packards as typical gangster rides, especially in the movies.

German 1955 Fuldamobil S-1 and Czech 1967 Velorex 3-wheeler: These tiny cars are markedly different than the other museum cars of their period (for example, the ’55 Ford Thunderbird and ’55 Gullwing Mercedes-Benz) and would be quite at home in the Lane Motor Museum collection.  The Velorex reminded me of a child’s pedal car with a tarp, no doubt marketed as a “people’s car” during the period when that country was a “worker’s paradise.”

1929 Hotchkiss motor: This is only one example of the automotive “objets d’art” scattered around the museum.

 

Learn more at Museo Automovilistico y de la Moda

Images via Dick Williams

Written exclusively for automotivemuseumguide.com

By Dick Williams

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Museo Automovilístico de Málaga

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Museo Automovilístico de Málaga

Museo Automovilístico de Málaga is an extraordinary collection, presented in thematic spaces that describe the different styles that characterize the artistic evolution of the 20th century.

Wide variety of representative models of major brands: Hispano, Bugati, Delage, Packard, Auburn, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Mercedes, Ferrari, etc.

Upholstered in ostrich or crocodile skin, precious woods, lalique mascot, mother-of-pearl dashboard, ivory and silver handles, headlights and exotic accessories. The art of the automobile in all its splendor!

The Museum and fashion. A unique exhibition of “vintage” hats by Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Givenchy, Balmain, Oleg Cassini, Dior, Chanel, etc. Unpublished contemporary works of art, sculptures and installations conceived from parts of the motor world.

A factor common to all the great museums in the world: The perfect symbiosis between the collections and the building where they are found and complement each other.

The spectacular Tabacalera building, a former tobacco factory from 1923, seems to have been made to measure to receive and value this group of more than 90 vehicles. A fantastic combination of history, art and culture.

One of the most interesting automobile museums in the world that contributes to making Malaga a great destination for cultural tourism.

Av de Sor Teresa Prat,
15, 29003 Málaga, Spain
P:
+34951137001
E: info@museoautomovilmalaga.com

Museo Automovilístico de Málaga Admission:

Adult €10.00
Seniors €8
Kids €5

Plan: 1-2 hr

Museo Automovilístico de Málaga Hours:

Friday – Wednesday 10 am – 2:30 pm & 4 pm – 7 pm

museoautomovilmalaga.com

Image via Dick Williams

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A Visit To America’s Packard Museum

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A Visit To America’s Packard Museum

In June 2022 I visited The Citizen’s Motorcar Company, America’s Packard Museum, in Dayton, Ohio. It’s amazing that there are two fine museums devoted to this single-marque in the same state, only four hours’ drive apart. (The other one is the National Packard Museum [NPM] in Warren, home of the Packard brothers.) America’s Packard Museum [APM] says it’s the largest Packard museum in the country.

Back in 2019 when I first read that, I interpreted it as subtle one-upmanship to the National Museum, but the APM founder’s wife told me they aren’t rivals and get along quite well.  In fact, at least one of the cars on display during my visit was on loan from the National Packard Museum.  APM really is the largest, however, with around 50 vehicles, all but one a Packard product (and the lone exception, a DeLorean, has a Packard connection, as you’ll see below).

The founder and original curator of the museum was Robert E. Signom II, a Dayton attorney with (obviously) a passion for Packards.  His first collector car, a 1928 Six Convertible Sedan with his father’s initials on the door, is displayed in the second showroom.

Mr. Signom, who founded the museum in 1992, passed away in 2019 but his son, Robert E. Signom III, is the current curator and his charming wife was working the front desk when we visited.  According to a 2010 story in The New York Times on the museum’s website, Robert Signom Jr. started the museum as a tribute to his father, who lost the 1928 Packard in the Great Depression.  Not “a” 1928 Packard, “the” 1928 Packard on display.

visit america's packard museum

Mr. Signom II. happened to see a classified ad in The Times for a 1928 Packard while on a business trip to NY and asked his dad if there was a way to identify his former car. The elder Signom had made a small slit in an unobtrusive place in the rear upholstery to accommodate his golf clubs. Sure enough, the Packard for sale had the slit and the son bought the car “for more than I should have,” according to the article.

Unlike the NPM, which focuses a lot on the story of the Packard brothers and the development of their cars, APM mainly is a showcase for the vehicles, with few other artifacts, mostly advertising and signs, on display and all of the information contained in the individual vehicles’ signs.

However, it’s housed in the former Dayton Packard distributor’s facilities with the original (still working) porcelain/ neon sign, which Mr. Signom found in the basement.  Buying the building allowed the museum to obtain some original advertising material and signs, and the showroom retains a checkerboard floor and large windows that really set off the pride of the collection on display.  Not visible to visitors, but mentioned in The Times article, are working hydraulic lifts and ceiling-mounted hose reels for oil and grease.

visit america's packard museum

The museum also houses the Turnquist Packard Library, named for Packard historian and collector Robert Turnquist and his wife.  A number of model and toy cars are displayed in the museum’s collection, including a group of large, vintage pressed steel cars and trucks and another group of models in about 1:24 scale that appears to be made of resin or maybe porcelain.

A nice touch in the informative signs that accompany each car is the cost of the car when it was new compared to the average cost of a car for that year, the average annual income, the cost of a house, and the cost of a gallon of gasoline. A few notable events in the year each car was made also are listed. As you’ll see in the captions to the photos, some of the Packards on display are quite rare, and some were owned by famous (or infamous) people. 

Among the cars on display when I visited were:

  • 1930 Model 734 Boat-Tail Speedster: Reminiscent of the similar Auburn speedster, the Model 734, which had a top speed of over 100 mph, was made in five body styles but only 150 were produced. The Boat-Tail on display is one of only 11 surviving examples of the total of 39 produced.

 

  • 1953 Pan American: On loan from the National Packard Museum (where I saw it in 2019), this car was designed by Richard Arbib of the Henney Motor Car Company (another example, besides professional cars, of the Henney-Packard collaboration). It was meant to meet the postwar demand for new American sports cars (1953 also saw the debut of the Corvette). The car won awards in America and Europe and was well received, but the very high cost ($11,000 or $115,000 in today’s money) kept it from going into production.  Only six were made, of which this is the second.

 

  • 1940 Model 120 Convertible Victoria: Designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin (who designed the Kaiser Darrin among others), this was a production version of several custom “Packard Darrins” built for Hollywood celebrities after Darrin moved back to the USA from Paris in 1937. The body style is known as a Seneca coupe and was built in 1971 from Darrin’s molds and castings, thus becoming the “last Packard Darrin.”

 

  • 1952 Farina-designed coupe: After Battista “Pinin” Farina’s collaboration with Nash in the early ‘50s, Packard commissioned a design for a unique 1952 coupe from him (his name is on the front quarter panels). The car was never built, but in 1995 a car collector obtained the original plans and had this car built to their specifications. It has a 327 c.i. engine with a three-speed manual transmission.

 

  • 1934 Super Eight Model 1104 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton: This car was built for the New York Auto Show in a non-standard orange-yellow color called “Orello.” A West Virginia couple bought the car after seeing it at the show for their 16-year-old daughter. The museum said she “hated” the color and found the car difficult to drive (ingrate). This car is unrestored but in excellent driving condition. It cost $3180 compared to $700 for the average cost of a new car in 1934 (or $1600 average annual salary).

 

  • 1928 Six Convertible Sedan: The car that started the museum, Robert E. Signom Senior’s that he lost in the Depression and his son bought many years later in New York, is still in the family and on display. Packard made $21 million in profits in 1928 and beat its main competitor, Cadillac, which introduced the LaSalle line in an effort to compete with Packard’s smaller and less expensive cars that were its best sellers.  This was the last year for six-cylinder Packards as the company shifted production to 8- and 12-cylinder cars.  This car cost four times the average price of a car in 1928 ($600).

 

  • 1930 Convertible Sedan: With a body by Brewster & Co. of New York (which employed “Dutch” Darrin – see below – until he partnered with Hibbard, another Brewster alumnus). This was one of the most expensive Packards made in 1930, with a $7000 price tag, only $145 less than the average price of a house and ten times the average cost of a car in 1930.

 

  • 1932 Twin Six Convertible Sedan: One of two made with a body designed by the Walter M. Murphy Co. (who also designed cars for Duesenberg) with the “Murphy Disappearing Cowl,” the museum says this style is exceptionally rare. The museum’s car was built for the boat racing champion Gar Wood – the other one was destroyed in a fire in the 1940s.

 

  • 1947 Custom Super Clipper: This car is purported to be the last car Al Capone bought, since he cashed in his chips from syphilis in January 1948, nine years after his release from the federal slammer. By 1946, his doctor and a psychiatrist concluded that he had the mentality of a 12-year-old due to syphilitic paresis, but perhaps he also had a boy’s love for big cars.  The museum says his chauffeur/bodyguard, Herman David, a.k.a. “Motorcycle Mike,” used the car until the late 1970s.This car was the last of the Darrin-designed Clippers. The museum’s signage doesn’t identify the owner. I checked this out on the Internet and found a 2015 article in which collector George Holinga claimed he bought the car from Motorcycle Mike in 1979 for $3000 after two years of negotiation (Mike got out of prison in 1977, in his 90s).

    However, a post on “Turnerbudds Car Blog” in 2017 included two e-mails from Herman David’s grandson who said the whole story was fiction and his grandfather actually had bought the car for his wife in 1947.  He was a friend of Capone’s but not his chauffeur, and had in fact done a long stretch in prison himself (which is why the car was in such good shape).

    The grandson found it hard to believe the new owner had swallowed his grandfather’s story.  I guess, as the famous line from “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” goes, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

 

  • 1928 Jesse Vincent Speedster: This one-of-a-kind car was driven by Packard’s chief engineer; the company leadership gave him permission to build a car to demonstrate the banked oval track at the new Packard Proving Grounds. Vincent often used the car, which was clocked at a top speed of 129 mph on the track, to commute to work from his home.  The famous aviator Charles Lindberg once drove it at 112 mph and remarked that was the fastest he’d ever gone “on the ground.”

 

  • 1918 Model E Army truck: This represents Packard’s sizable contribution to the U.S. war effort in World War I. Packard made trucks from 1905 to 1923; in 1915, Packard made more trucks than cars, supplying many to Allied armies before the United States entered the war.  The U.S. Army bought more than 10,000 Packard trucks.  The only other truck in the museum is a civilian 1919 Model E 5-ton dump truck that’s accompanied by an ad that seems like a dig at Mack’s A-series chain drive trucks, as it touts Packard trucks’ “silent” chainless drive.

 

  • 1953, ‘55 and ‘56 Caribbean convertibles and a ’56 Caribbean hardtop: The museum said the Caribbean was inspired by the ’52 Pan American and was an attempt to bring the latter car into an affordable range. The ’53 convertible, the first year for the Caribbean with 750 made of all types, was once owned by singer Perry Como.

 

  • 1948 Henny Landau 3-Way Hearse: This hearse was used in the 1972 movie “The Godfather” in the funeral scenes for Marlin Brando’s character Don Vito Corleone. Henney built many professional cars on Packard chassis, and the museum has an “executive sedan” on display next to the hearse.  The hearse was called a “3-Way” because caskets could be loaded and unloaded from both sides as well as the rear door.

 

  • 1928 Custom Eight convertible sedan: Another Dutch Darrin design, this was a collaboration with Thomas Hibbard, also formerly of Brewster, in France where they had partnered to make custom cars. This is believed to be one of a kind, and was sold by a Parisian dealer to a customer in Argentina.

 

  • 1951 200 Club Sedan: French racing driver Jean Trevoux (four wins at Monte Carlo before and after WW2) settled in Mexico in the late 1940s and opened a restaurant. He drove several Packards in the grueling week-long Carrera Panamericana road race, including this one. His teenage Mexican mechanic in the 1951 race (in which he placed fifth) restored the car in 1995 with its original equipment and livery, allowing it to enter four more Panamericana vintage races in 1996-1999.  (The original race was cancelled in 1955 for safety reasons and resumed under more stringently supervised conditions in 1988 as a vintage car race.) The museum says the car still is actively raced.

 

  • 1950 Station Sedan (not wagon, although most people would call it a station wagon): It looks similar to Chrysler’s Town and Country design. Both the standard production car and a design study with wood trim only above the beltline that didn’t enter production are on display. Packard introduced the car in 1948 and it was the only model that didn’t receive cosmetic changes for 1950.

 

  • 1941 Clipper Six: Many Packards, such as this one in military olive drab, were used as staff cars in World War II, including by Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur during and after the war. MacArthur even ordered a 1942 Packard 120 eight Clipper custom at his own expense; however, Packard returned his check with a letter of gratitude for his confidence in their products and promised to deliver a car to him in Australia with their compliments.  Army Packards often were modified with racks for Thompson submachine guns, sirens, blackout lights and other military equipment, including air conditioning for Gen. Eisenhower and Gen. MacArthur.

 

  • 1981 DMC DeLorean: The only non-Packard car in the museum, the DeLorean is there because of John DeLorean’s Packard connection. He joined Packard as a 28-year-old engineer in 1953 and by 1956 was head of R&D.  That year he left the sinking Packard ship and moved to GM as Pontiac’s Director of Engineering, where he almost single-handedly revived the Pontiac brand, eventually becoming a vice president at GM before starting his own company.

Images via Dick Williams

Written exclusively for automotivemuseumguide.com

By Dick Williams

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