Thomas Flyer at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum

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Thomas Flyer at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum

Among the internationally prominent Buffalo Companies, the Thomas Motor Company ranks high. Not only did they provide America with a line of reliable and popular motorized bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles, and automobiles, they also created a World Champion Automobile. Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum Co-Founder, James Sandoro, is dedicated to ensuring Queen City residents and beyond are aware of and take pride in the company and that champion car, the Thomas Flyer.

“Of all the stories that define Buffalo’s history, one of the greatest is the least well known,” Sandoro stated. “The Thomas Motor Company operated in Buffalo from 1900-1913 under the ownership of Edwin Ross Thomas. The company’s initial success came with production and sales of the first motorized bicycle made in America, the Thomas Auto-Bi, the first practical U.S. motorcycle. However, the company’s greatest renown came when they began building cars, particularly a Model 35 Thomas Flyer.

In 1908, the Thomas Flyer Car achieved an automotive feat that has never been equaled—winning a New York-to-Paris Race against five international competitors that took 169 days and 22,000 miles. I’m pleased and honored to announce that the original World Champion Model 35 Thomas Flyer Car has temporarily come home to Buffalo, and is being proudly displayed in our museum for the people of Buffalo, America, and around the world to view and enjoy.”

thomas flyer

The Thomas Flyer World Champion Car will be on display at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum through early August and will be celebrated through a series of events to be announced on the museum’s website and social media pages.

The display is part of an expansive exhibition on the Thomas Motor Company that includes a Thomas Auto-Bi motorcycle, memorabilia, photographs, car parts and company artifacts that Sandoro and his wife, Mary Ann, have collected over the years. He notes that the collection is a dual salute to the City of Buffalo, State of New York, our country and Southern Ontario where Thomas started in the 1890s, as well as the history of the automobile from a worldwide perspective.

thomas flyer

“For this exhibition we have reinvented the main floor of our museum to give visitors a real feel for this era in Buffalo’s and America’s History,” Sandoro stated. “ Using creative displays, photographs, videos, and of course, the original Model 35 Thomas Flyer Car as the crown jewel, museum visitors will witness how the Thomas Motor Company revolutionized people’s lives.

Added to that, the company’s stunning upset win of the New York to Paris Race against cars from France, Germany, and Italy, elevates the experience. Also, on May 19th we will welcome George Schuster’s great-grandson, Jeff Mahl, to share the stories of the race as told to him by great-grandfather, and which he has memorialized in his book, The Man and Car that Circled the Globe. Whether people have a love of history, collectibles, cars, world championship racing, the evolution of the auto industry, or simply enjoy a fascinating “underdog” story, this exhibition has something for everyone.

263 Michigan Ave
Buffalo, NY 14203
P: 
716-853-0084
Email: piercemuseum@roadrunner.com

Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum Admission:

Adults $20
Children 12 and under $10

Plan: 1-2hr

Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum Hours:

Summer hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm

pierce-arrow.com

thomas flyer

ABOUT THE BUFFALO TRANSPORTATION PIERCE ARROW MUSEUM:

The genesis of The Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum began in the 1940s, when museum co-founder Jim Sandoro wiled away his childhood by sneaking into his neighbors’ garage where they kept their Pierce-Arrow car. Those experiences jumpstarted Jim’s lifelong quest to learn about and collect everything related to the company and its automobiles. Years later his family moved closer to the shuttered Pierce Arrow Factory and Jim roamed the grounds searching for remnants of the great company. His youthful car passion never subsided as he grew up and met and married his wife, Mary Ann.

Together they traveled the U.S., fully establishing and expanding their car collection. In 1997,with their car collection far surpassing their garage space, Jim and Mary Ann founded The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, along with Robert Knoer, their friend and attorney, as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. They established the museum and their collections in several downtown Buffalo buildings. Today, the museum is located in a building that was once a Mack Truck showroom and repair shop.

The Sandoro’s collection represents their shared car passion that spans more than 61 years and includes many automobiles that were once produced in Buffalo. It is considered by car enthusiasts as one of the most unique in the world. For Jim and Mary Ann, they view it as a reminder to the people of the Queen City—and the world—that Buffalo, NY was once an influential city of industry and producer of outstanding vehicles. They proudly state the museum’s mission is to preserve and showcase that legacy and invited all to come along for the ride.
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ABOUT THE THOMAS FLYER CAR:

The Thomas Flyer Car was a 1907 Model 35 with 4 cylinders and 60 horsepower, built by E. R. Thomas Motor Company, a manufacturer of motorized bicycles, motorized tricycles, motorcycles, and automobiles in Buffalo, New York between 1900 and 1913.

The Thomas Flyer is renowned for winning the 1908 New York to Paris Race, the first and only around-the-world automobile race ever held. President Theodore Roosevelt called E.R. Thomas to encourage him to enter an American car in the race. Ellsworth Statler was a backer of the company. The race began in Times Square, New York, on February 12 and covered some 22,000 miles (35,000 km), finishing in Paris on July 30, 1908. Six teams started the race (one Italian, one German, three French, and the American Flyer.) Only three of the cars finished, the Thomas Flyer which won, the German car, and the Italian car.

In the initial leg of the race, the Flyer was the first car to cross the United States, taking 41 days 8 hours and 15 minutes, and the first to do so in winter with George Schuster the first automobile driver to ever make the transcontinental winter crossing of the US. Finishing the entire race in 169 days was considered a remarkable feat, considering the lack of roads and services in 1908. Schuster, one of three drivers for the car, was the only member of the Thomas crew to go the full distance. The Flyer survived and has been restored to its exact condition original condition. The E.R. Thomas Motor Company ceased operations in 1913.

ABOUT JEFF MAHL:

Jeff Mahl is the author of the book, The Man and Car that Circled the Globe. He is the great-grandson of Automotive Hall of Fame Member, George Schuster Sr, (one of three drivers for the Thomas Flyer Car that won the 1908 New York to Paris Auto Race) and the only member of the Thomas crew to go the full race distance. Mahl penned the book based on the stories his great-grandfather shared with him until his passing in 1972, at the age of 99. He notes that anyone who reads the book is hearing Schuster’s story in his own words, ,“…just as my great grandpa told them to me.”

Mahl’s never before published perspective includes not only Schuster’s personal memoir, but original photos and illustrations collected from around the world. It also includes a look at the E.R.Thomas Motor Company, builder of the World Champion 1907 Thomas Flyer, and the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum, home to a Thomas Flyer collection of exhibits.

For more information: pierce-arrow.com or thomasflyer.com

Image via Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum

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The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum in Hoschton, Georgia is a must stop for any automotive enthusiast, especially race fans. Not only is the Panoz hand made right on site but they also display various models in the museum, as well as some of the actual race cars and racing...

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Top 5 Most Ranked Automotive Museums in the USA

Top 5 Most Ranked Automotive Museums in the USA

There are quite a few lists on the internet from places like USA Today, Car & Driver, Road & Track, AAA, and more that tell you what the top automotive museums are across the United States. These are the automotive museums that are constantly ranked on almost every list you find.

This doesn’t mean these museums are the absolute best, but they are museums worthy of notation and visitation. How many of these museums have you visited?  Do you agree these should be the Top 5 automotive museums in the United States of America?

 

These are the Top 5 Most Ranked Automotive Museums, comprised of multiple lists of automotive museums.

LeMay - America's Car Museum - automotive museum guide
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lane motor museum
National Corvette Museum - automotive museum guide
National Automobile Museum - automotive museum guide

There are way more awesome automotive museums you can visit than what is on this list.  Explore all the museums you can visit by STATE, SPECIALTY, REGION, or by MAP.

Sean Mathis

Sean Mathis

Creator/Author

Sean Mathis is the Founder of the Miles Through Time Automotive Museum in Clarkesville, GA, and the creator of the Automotive Museum Guide.

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The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum in Hoschton, Georgia is a must stop for any automotive enthusiast, especially race fans. Not only is the Panoz hand made right on site but they also display various models in the museum, as well as some of the actual race cars and racing...

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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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The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum in Hoschton, Georgia is a must stop for any automotive enthusiast, especially race fans. Not only is the Panoz hand made right on site but they also display various models in the museum, as well as some of the actual race cars and racing...

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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.

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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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The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum in Hoschton, Georgia is a must stop for any automotive enthusiast, especially race fans. Not only is the Panoz hand made right on site but they also display various models in the museum, as well as some of the actual race cars and racing...

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Brothers Car Collection

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Brothers Car Collection

The Brothers Car Collection is a private collection of more than 600 cars. Over 335 of the vehicles, including muscle cars and exotic sports cars, are on display in a 117,000-square-foot warehouse turned museum that is not open to the public.

Unfortunately, only private tours can view the collection. The location in Salem, Oregon, and the identities of the owners are a closely-held secret.

This is why you won’t find Brother Car Collection listed on the map or in the state of Oregon as a car museum you can visit on a regular basis. However, the collection is so impressive, it is worthy of an honorable mention.

There are opportunities to visit the collection during fundraising events.  Most often tickets to visit are about $25.

Image via Susan Thorn

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The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum in Hoschton, Georgia is a must stop for any automotive enthusiast, especially race fans. Not only is the Panoz hand made right on site but they also display various models in the museum, as well as some of the actual race cars and racing...

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How to Make the Most of Every Automotive Museum Trip

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How to Make the Most of Every Automotive Museum Trip

The US is home to many car lovers. Insights from Statista on the US automotive industry note that the country has the most extended road network worldwide at just under 6.6 million kilometers, so it’s no surprise that over 76% of Americans reported having access to their own car. As such, this has also led to many people supporting a thriving automotive industry — which includes automotive museums where car enthusiasts can pursue their interests. Any car lover would enjoy walking around car displays and taking pictures, but there are many other ways to maximize your car museum trip. Today, we’ll explore how to make the most of every automotive museum tour:

 

Know the free and discounted days

 

Other than researching the basics of the car museums you are interested in visiting, it can also help to know the free or discount days for specific car museums. Museums like The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum offered free entry on this year’s Free Museum Day, for example, opening their doors to one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars. Free and discounted days are an excellent opportunity to learn and appreciate the hobby without spending much money. You can even use the spare cash on merchandise or memorabilia. Keep an eye on your favorite car museum calendars and announcements, and remember that even if they’re not offering free entry, they may have discounts you could be eligible for.

 

Plan a research visit

 

For those genuinely passionate and nerdy about cars, museum libraries and archives offer a wealth of knowledge and insights into the past, present, and future of automobiles. Maryville University discusses how archives contain firsthand facts, data, and evidence from letters, reports, notes, memos, photographs, audio, web, and video recordings about the past. Car enthusiasts will enjoy film archives detailing the history of automobiles, right from the days of the classic cars. Museums, in particular, do a lot of archive work, and automotive museums are no different. The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) has a extensive Library & Research Center that goes up to three levels, featuring rotating exhibits, antique cars, as well as an archive of service manuals, shop manuals, and marque-specific books.

 

Enroll in free courses

 

Museum visits can feel like a passive experience if you’re only going from display to display and snapping photos. One ideal way to make museum visits more immersive and interactive is by joining workshops and courses. These allow you to have a hands-on experience that transforms your museum visit into a fun and educational one. The Petersen Automotive Museum recently announced its free car design course, making use of their in-house knowledge to teach not only auto design but the history of automobiles as well. Any car lover above the age of 13 years old can sign up for the free instruction, which will stay live until December 17, 2023.

 

Continue the discussion at home

 

Lastly, it may take some time before your next trip to an automotive museum. One of the best ways to enrich your day is by extending the discussion and experience beyond the actual museum. Spend time after each museum visit to discuss exciting or impressive displays with your friends or family. The best thing about learning is passing that knowledge on, after all. It would also be the perfect way to show off your pictures from the museum visit as you enhance these with the valuable things you’ve learned.

 

To summarize our post today, remember that proper research and planning can help you make the most of your next car museum trip. And to end your enlightening day at the museum, remember to use what you’ve learned by discussing anything interesting you came across with friends and loved ones. Like any other hobby, sharing it with those around you can bring so much joy.

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Written exclusively for automotivemuseumguide.com

By Jessie Kai

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The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum

The Panoz Museum in Hoschton, Georgia is a must stop for any automotive enthusiast, especially race fans. Not only is the Panoz hand made right on site but they also display various models in the museum, as well as some of the actual race cars and racing...

Read More

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