Category archives: Museums

It’s the Petersen’s turn to celebrate Mustang’s birthday

Eleanors from both Gone in 60 Seconds movies will be at the museum | Petersen photos
Eleanors from both Gone in 60 Seconds movies will be at the museum | Petersen photos

The big celebrations at the New York Auto Show and at speedways in Charlotte and Las Vegas may be over, but festivities staged to observe the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang continue.

This weekend, May 3-4, the Petersen Automotive museum presents Mustang Madness which will include:

  • An all-Mustang car show.
  • A look at the next-generation 2015 Mustang that doesn’t arrive in Ford dealerships until sometime this fall.
  • The unveiling of the museum’s Mustangs Forever: 50 Years of a Legend exhibit.
  • Live interviews with various “Mustang Heroes.”
  • A visit Saturday morning by Mustang RTR creator and world drift-driving champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. and one Sunday morning by Beau Boeckmann, president of Galpin Auto Sports (Galpin Ford is the sponsor for the special weekend Mustang celebration at the Petersen).
  • Additional appearances by Bob Fria with the first Ford Mustang, by Hollywood Hot Rods’ Troy Ladd with his custom Mustang, and by Pure Vision’s Martini Mustang.
  • A “Value of the Mustang” seminar Sunday afternoon by experts from Hagerty Collector Car Insurance.
  • Screenings of both the 1974 and 2000 versions of the movie, Gone in 60 Seconds, with the Eleanor Mustangs from both movies on display.
  • Food tents, live music and a play area and scavenger hunt for children.
  • A special museum rooftop Mustang Lounge.
It will be all-Mustangs at the show
It will be all-Mustangs at the show

Speaking of the all-Mustang car show, there will be prizes awarded, and Henry Ford III will present a special Ford Heritage Award.

For more information and a time schedule, visit the website.


Ruby 2: Corvette owner donates her 40th Anniversary car to replace the one damaged in sinkhole

Lynda Patterson delivers her cherish 40th Anniversary car to the museum | National Corvette Museum
Lynda Patterson delivers her cherished40th Anniversary car to the museum | National Corvette Museum
1993 'Ruby Red' 40th anniversary car
Damaged 1993 ‘Ruby Red’ 40th anniversary car

It was nearly 20 years ago that Mike and Lynda Patterson decided that someday they’d donate their Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette to the National Corvette Museum. Someday turned out to be April 17. Continue reading

British museum celebrates 21 years with 21 icons

Stirling Moss and the MG EX181 set speed records at Bonneville | Heritage Motor Centre photos
Stirling Moss and the MG EX181 set speed records at Bonneville | Heritage Motor Centre photos

Britain’s Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon, Warwickshire, celebrates its 21st birthday in May with a special exhibition, “21 Years 21 Icons.” We asked if we could get the list of the 7 vehicles, inventions and people who will be featured.

Not yet, we were told. It’s still a secret.

Curator Stephen Laing in the original cutaway Mini
Curator Stephen Laing in the original cutaway Mini

However, we did get a sneak peek in the form of three photographs — one of Stirling Moss, one of a disc brake and one of curator Stephen Laing sitting in a cutaway of the original Mini.

“Since the Museum opened on 1 May 1993, its collection has been renowned as one of the finest selections of British motor cars,” the centre said in announcing its anniversary exhibition. “The museum tells the story of the people that have shaped Britain’s love affair with the motor car and also houses some of the world’s best-known examples of automotive design and technology. “

The exhibition opens May 2 and runs through December.

“For each of the 21, the exhibition will explore their history and why they are so important to Britain’s automotive evolution,” the news release said.

Pub No. H 5837 Acc No. 90/42/63
The disc brake

“The Heritage Motor Centre has been celebrating the best of Britain’s car industry for 21 years,” Laing said. “It has been a difficult task to choose just 21 products, people and pioneering inventions that represent motoring, the motor car and its industry in Britain.”

In addition to its 21st anniversary celebration, the centre announced that it will receive more than $6.2 million from its Heritage Lottery and will use those funds to construct a new two-story building to house its reserve car collection, workshop and learning education zone. The new facility is scheduled to open in 2015.

“It will allow us to make our collections far more accessible,” said Tim Bryan, head of collections and interpretation.

The Heritage Motor Centre is home to the world’s largest historic collection of British cars and draws together the collections of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust with more than 300 vehicles.

Last — and most badly damaged — Corvette freed from sinkhole beneath museum’s Skydome

Mallett Hammer Z06 is loaded for transport to the exhibition hall |National Corvette Museum photos
Mallett Hammer Z06 is loaded for transport to the exhibition hall |National Corvette Museum photos

“It looks like the worst one… a lot of parts and pieces,” Mike Murphy, chief executive of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction, said as the last of the eight Corvettes swallowed by a sinkhole emerged from the abyss beneath the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum. Continue reading

Only one Corvette remains in sinkhole

1.5 Millionth Corvette emerges from sinkhole  | National Corvette Museum photos
1.5 Millionth Corvette emerges from sinkhole | National Corvette Museum photos

After removing the 1.5 Millionth Chevrolet Corvette from the sinkhole beneath the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum, the work team spent the rest of the day Thursday searching for the last car remaining in the abyss, the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06. Continue reading

Worst fears proving true as another Corvette emerges from sinkhole

ZR-1 Spyder is loaded onto a flatbed for transfer to display area | National Corvette Museum photos
ZR-1 Spyder is loaded onto a flatbed for transfer to display area | National Corvette Museum photos

“We have always feared that as we dig further into the hole, that the cars would continue to be in worse shape. Unfortunately those predictions were accurate.”

— Katie Frassinelli, communications manager, National Corvette Museum

Continue reading

Porsche Museum features Le Mans racing history

908/02 Spyder LH known as 'Shark Fin' is part of the special Porsche Museum display | Porsche photos
908/02 Spyder LH known as ‘Shark Fin’ is part of the special Porsche Museum display | Porsche photos

Porsche celebrates both its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its record 16 victories in the French classic with a special display, “24 Hours for Eternity. Le Mans,” at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany. The exhibition, which includes more than 20 Porsches that have raced at Le Mans, opened today and runs through July 13.

As a special event within the special exhibition, the museum will be open throughout the running of the race June 14-15 with visitors able to follow the progress in a public viewing on monitors both inside and outside the museum. Admission fees will be waived for the Le Mans-viewing weekend.

No. 46 356 was first Porsche to race at Le Mans
No. 46 356 was first Porsche to race at Le Mans

Throughout the exhibition, the interior of the museum has been turned into a miniature version of the famed Le Mans circuit with various Porsches placed not only to be viewed but to be seen in simulated racing situations. The exhibition includes full-scale wall art.

Porsche made its debut at Le Mans in 1951 when Auguest Veuillet and Edmund Mouche drove a 356 with skirted front and rear wheels to win the 751-1100cc class while finishing 20th overall. They repeated the class victory in 1952, when they were 11th overall.

Other class victories ensued — Paul Frere and Richard von Frankenberg drove a Porsche 550 coupe to victory in the 1101-1500cc category in 1953.

No. 64 Porsche 908 was runner-up at Le Mans in 1969
No. 64 Porsche 908 was runner-up at Le Mans in 1969

Porsche scored its first overall victory in 1970 — in fact, Porsche’s ran 1-2-3, and also took 6th, 7th and 9th that year — with Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood winning in a 917L. Not only did Porsche win, but it showed the depth of its engineering with a 917L, 917 LH, 908, 916/6 and 911S among the first nine in the final standings that year.

In addition to the cars, the exhibit includes helmets and other pieces, including Ferry Porsche’s personal diary.

As part of the exhibition, the museum’s shop will offer 1:43 scale models of all of Porsche’s 16 Le Mans-winning cars.

No. 23 917L was Porsche's first overall Le Mans winner in 1970
No. 23 917L was Porsche’s first overall Le Mans winner in 1970



Revs reopens famed Collier Collection museum

Revs Institute's Collier Collection includes several historic Porsche racers | Revs Institute photos
Revs Institute’s Collier Collection includes several historic Porsche racers | Revs Institute photos

The Collier Collection, one of the world’s best automotive museums, reopens today after being closed to visitors for 20 years.

“There has been an ever-increasing number of requests for tours of the automobile collection, and we will now be able to accommodate those eager to learn more about the cars we hold in our Naples (Fla.) facility,” Scott George, vice president of The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, is quoted in a news release about the museum’s reopening.

“We hope that increased access to The Revs Institute’s collections will further enhance people’s understanding of the automobile as one of the most significant creations of the 20th Century,” George said.

Collier houses one of five 1963 Grand Sport Corvettes
Collier houses one of five 1963 Grand Sport Corvettes

“The automobile is, quite simply, the most significant technologic object of the 20th Century,” added Revs president and collection founder Miles C. Collier.

“Our mission is to create awareness of the automobile’s role, past, present and future, in shaping the modern world. Through the preservation and conservation of important historic automobiles, through the collection of an extensive archive of documents and images, and the assembly of extensive book and periodical libraries, we comprise one of the most comprehensive historical automotive research facilities anywhere.

“And now, in partnership with Stanford University through the Revs Program at Stanford, we are also building an exciting online database that will allow access to select images and other archival material for the benefit of researchers, students and enthusiasts outside our respective institutions.”

Collier’s father, Barron, and his uncles, scions of one of the America’s leading publishing companies, were among the country’s earliest sports car enthusiasts and racers, founding the Automobile Racing Club of America that evolved into the Sports Car Club of America. For many years, the Collier Collection showcased many of the world’s best cars — especially racing cars — in diorama displays.

But the emphasis changed to collecting and preserving photographs and historical documents and an academic approach to automotive research and the launch in 2011 of the Revs Institute at Stanford.

1913 Peugeot Coupe de l'Auto revolutionized racing
1913 Peugeot Coupe de l’Auto’s four-valve engine revolutionized racing

“By creating educational programs targeted at curators, major collectors and opinion leaders, Revs was instrumental in shaping the accepted new paradigm that stresses preserving rather than restoring important collectible cars,” the news release reports. “Out of emphasizing the historic nature of important automobiles, the Collection’s mission emerged: using the automobile to trace the trajectory of modernity.

“While remaining accessible to scholars, students and researchers over the last twenty years, the Collection’s gradual development out of public view allowed the institute to use its time and resources to flesh out its current mission into today’s reality. During those years, the Collier Collection was carefully enlarged, many of the automobiles were conserved with cutting edge techniques developed at the Institute, the galleries were reinstalled with extensive interpretive materials to better reflect the mission, and the archive and research library were subject to major expansion and development.”

Collection includes 1935 Duesenberg SSJ original owned by actor Gary Cooper
Collection includes 1935 Duesenberg SSJ original owned by actor Gary Cooper

And now the collection has reopened, though on a limited, by-reservation-only basis, which simply means visitors need to call ahead and schedule their visit. The facility and its more than 100 vehicles will be open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. General admission will be $17 with discounts for students and active military personnel. A docent-led tour costs an additional $3.


Elliott Museum brings its antique car collection to you

Automated racking system brings cars to visitors at the Elliott Museum | Larry Nutson photos
Automated racking system brings cars to visitors at the Elliott Museum | Larry Nutson photos

Thoughts of Florida bring to mind sandy beaches, water sports, fishing, sun and loads of fun. Visitors from many parts of the United States, Canada and places around the world flock here to get away from cold winter climates. Not often do the thoughts of art, history and technology come up as a reason to head to the Sunshine State.

The Elliott Museum sits on Hutchinson Island in the town of Stuart. just off A1A not far from US Highway 1. It’s in an area of south Florida known as the Treasure Coast.

Part of collection
Part of collection

The Elliott Museum is a treasure itself. The museum focuses on art, history and technology. There are inventions by Sterling Elliott, an expansive antique car and truck collection, innovative exhibits detailing the history of the area, and a café that replicates the actress Frances Langford’s Outrigger Resort.

“The Elliott’s mission is to not only inspire creativity and preserve our history but also inspire a vision for the cultural life of our entire region,” said museum president Jennifer Esler.

The Elliott Museum reinvented itself with the construction of a new and expansive 48,000 square foot LEED-certified building that opened in March 2013. Within its expansive glass front and exterior finish that replicates the Anastasia rocks that dot the coastline are housed seven permanent exhibits including more than 65 antique and classic cars and trucks.

The auto exhibit is unique in the use of an automated method of moving a vehicle from a storage rack to a turntable that rotates it for viewing. The Elliott is the first museum in the U.S. to use this automated vehicle racking system.

John Giltinan, associate car curator at the Elliott, was kind enough to give us a behind the scenes look at the vehicle collection.

Sterling Elliott’s son, Harmon, started the museum to honor his father and bought many vehicles from the Salem Auto Museum in Massachusetts. Sterling Elliott’s company, which manufacturers some of his inventions, was based in Massachusetts.

The Elliott Museum collection grew considerably when Elliott Donnelly — Chicagoan, great-grandson of the founder of the R. R. Donnelly Company and passionate collector of the Ford Model A, the car on which he learned to drive — donated $8 million and his collection of 55 cars to the museum.

Others also have donated vehicles. Some that may be duplicates or not part of future exhibition plans have been sold to generate additional funding, some of it to buy cars the museum wants to add to the collection. For example, Giltinan seeks a Cord, which was noted for its innovative technology and streamlined designs and would be an important asset in the story the museum wants to share.

Today, the museum owns about 90 vehicles, with those not on display housed in two remote storage facilities.

The three-story automated racking storage system that can hold 55 vehicles. Sterling Elliott invented an early automobile turntable. The racking system was developed by Boomering Systems of Provo, Utah.

When we visited, there are 51 vehicles in the racks, including the large collection of Model As. Among the Model As wa s a 1931 aluminum-bodied funeral coach, a very rare police Paddy Wagon and a woody station wagon. We also saw a 1920 Hudson Super 6 owned by Enrico Caruso, a 1930 Lincoln Model L Brunn-bodied Brougham, a ’55 Ford Thunderbird, and a ’54 Chevrolet Corvette.

Two touch-screen displays flank the center turntable for vehicle display and viewing. Museum visitors can scroll through the entire collection to learn about those stored in the robotic rack system. A docent operates the second touch-screen to call a specific vehicle to be brought out of its rack space. During the vehicle’s trip to the turntable, a video explains the news headlines, music, movies, fashions, sports, and other aspects of life during the decade of its use.

One floor display includes a 1902 Stanley Steamer Runabout, a 1914 Detroit Electric and a 1903 Cadillac Roadster one-cylinder gas car depicting the “Struggle for Power.”

Hanging high above another grouping — a ‘64 Chevrolet Corvair Monza, a 1905 Olds Curved Dash, a ’56 Porsche 356-C coupe, and a several classic boats, including a 16-foot, 9-inch 1929 Dodge Water Car — is a full-size replica of Hugh Willoughby’s Pelican bi-plane.

Photos by Larry Nutson

A 1-of-5 1953 Cunningham C-3 Continental cabriolet and a 1925 Rolls-Royce Springfield formerly owned by Prestley Blake, the founder of Friendly’s Ice Cream, also can be seen. Noteworthy is that the Rolls was built in Springfield, Mass., where Elliott also manufactured and invented.

The Elliott merged with the Classic Boat and Maritime Museum and now displays classic wooden runabouts as well as vintage Evinrude outboard engines. Ralph Evinrude was the husband of Frances Langford. His 1914 Packard 2-38 Seven-Passenger Touring Car is on display. Another display showcases the Whiticar Boats Works and includes G. Curtis Whiticar’s  own boat-making hand tools.

Not to be overlooked, a few motorcycles are in the mix. Included is a 1951 Indian Warrior with 426 original miles that was given to Vaughan Monroe, who was a spokesman for Indian.

Each year the Elliott Museum invites those who live in and visit the Treasure Coast to celebrate the art, history and technology on display at its annual juried car show, Classics at the Beach. Proceeds from the show support year-round programs and exhibits at the Elliott. This year, the show is Sunday, April 6.

The Elliott is open 360 days a year and is staffed by a team of professionals as well as about 200 volunteers who use their expertise to guide and inform individuals, adult groups, auto and social clubs and students who visit. More information on the Elliott can be found at

Something for everyone can be found at the Elliott including a Baseball Gallery and a local history gallery. Curator John Giltinan recently hosted a Cocktails and Curator evening sharing is expertise and knowledge with vintage auto enthusiasts.

Corvette museum puts sinkhole survivors on display

Sinkhole survivors on display | National Corvette Museum photos
Sinkhole survivors on display | National Corvette Museum photos

As work continues to stabilize the walls of the sinkhole and the spike-like red tower that soars with and through the roof of the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum, the five cars that have been removed from the hole have been put on display in the museum’s Exhibit Hall. Continue reading