Category archives: Museums

Simeone Museum offers auto photography workshop

Learn how to photographic classic cars from the experts at the Simeone Museum. (Photo: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum)
Photographing classic cars is the focus of workshop. (Photo: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum)

Learn the fine art of automobile photography at one of the nation’s premier showcases for historic race cars when the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia presents a full-day workshop Sunday, March 2.

The Simeone Museum encourages photography of its beautiful displays of vintage sports race cars and the workshop is designed to provide professional advice on lighting, photo angles and other aspects of automotive photography, both indoors and outdoors, and including video.

The workshop will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and will feature three leading automotive photographers — Michael Furman, Dom Miliano and Andrew Taylor.

The cost is $75, which includes lunch, and will be limited to 50 participants.

To register, visit Simeone Museum photography.

Mullin museum to unveil recreation of advanced 1930s Bugatti airplane

Photos courtesy Mullin Automotive Museum
Photos courtesy Mullin Automotive Museum

Classic car enthusiasts know the name Bugatti from the amazing racing and road cars created by Ettore Bugatti and his son, Jean. But did you know that the Bugattis were a family with artistic skills through several generations, creating everything from paintings to sculptures, furniture to cars, and even an ahead-of-its-time airplane?

On March 25, the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Calif., opens an exhibition, “Art of Bugatti,” that will feature the work not only of Ettore and Jean, but of  Ettore’s father, Carlo, a famous 19th century furniture designer, and of Ettore’s brother, Rembrandt, who was known for his paintings, especially of animals.

In addition to creating some of the world’s fastest racing cars, Ettore Bugatti and Belgian engineer Louis dMonge designed an amazingly technologically advanced airplane in the late 1930s. Their 100P, the prototype was built between 1937 and 1940, had forward-pitched wings, a “zero-drag” cooling system and even “computer-directed” analog flight controls, all pre-dating the development of the Allied forces’ best World War II fighters.

Bugatti 100P - rear overhead view
Photos courtesy Mullin Automotive Museum

Power came from a pair of 450-horsepower engines. The 100P could reach speeds of 500 miles per hour, a speed previously achieved only with twice the horsepower. The aircraft also was compact, with a wingspan of less than 27 feet and an overall length of less than 25 1/2 feet.

Work on the plane halted in June, 1940, and the 100P was taken from Paris at night and hidden in a barn to prevent its discovery by the German military. The original prototype survived the war, but was not in good enough condition to fly.

In 2009, retired U.S. fighter pilot Scotty Wilson, engineer John Lawson and business development specialist Simon Birney began work under the banner of Le Reve Bleu (The Blue Dream) to recreate the airplane using the same plans (at least those that survived), materials and processes used by Bugatti and de Monge.

The completed aircraft will be shown for the first time at the Mullin as part of the Art of Bugatti exhibition.

This incredible piece of engineering and design will receive the broad recognition it deserves, 77 years later.”

— Scotty Wilson


“We’ve searched for years to gather the best examples of the Bugatti family’s work and couldn’t be more thrilled to host the 100P at our museum,” Peter Mullin, museum founder, said in a news release.“Bugatti has always been known for their remarkable automobiles, but the 100P is one of the missing pieces that truly shows the breadth and depth of the family’s work.”

Mullin’s museum and his personal car collection focus on Art Deco designs. His 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne won best-in-show honors at Pebble Beach in 2011.

“For the first time, this incredible piece of engineering and design will receive the broad recognition it deserves, 77 years later,” said Wilson.

Plans call for the recreated 100P to make its first flight after its display at the museum.

Classic opulence on display at Petersen Museum

1927 Roll-Royce used by Fred Astaire among town cars at the Petersen. (Photo: Petersen Automotive Museum)

Town Cars: Arriving in Style, a new exhibit focusing on the grand chauffeur-driven limousines of history’s most rich and famous, highlights upcoming activities at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Opening this Saturday, the yearlong showcase of bygone opulence features the finest examples from 1900 through the 1960s of the ultra-formal vehicles known as “town cars,” a term which denotes an open chauffeur’s area and an enclosed passenger compartment. The name Town Car was later co-opted by Lincoln.

Elegant town cars came from a variety of premium European and U.S. brands, and from the earliest days of the automobile. Usually, they were the most-splendid and most-expensive vehicles that the auto companies had to offer.

Many were custom-bodied by luxury coachbuilders, and they were as much about being seen in as they were about going places. Fred Astaire’s classically styled 1927 Rolls-Royce will be among the celebrity town cars on display.

Other upcoming events at the Petersen, located on the busy corner of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, include:

  • The Automotive Design Symposium: Celebrating Southern California Design, at 11 a.m. Sunday, February 23, with a panel of auto designers and industry experts. A Car Designer Cruise-In featuring concepts, classics, hot rods and creative customs starts at 9 a.m.
  • A special Movies and Milkshakes showing of the documentary film “Where They Raced,” featuring racing footage and photos from California’s golden age of speed, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 26. Admission and popcorn are free, and milkshakes are vintage priced at just $1. Click here for a preview clip from “Where They Raced.”
  • The fourth annual Women’s Day at the Petersen Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 8,  presents hands-on lessons in car care, maintenance, tricks and tips presented in an entertaining fashion. For more information, call (323) 964-6308 or email sreck@petersen.,org.
  • Continuing exhibits at Petersen include License Plates: Unlocking the Code, through March 30, and Pickups: The Art of Utility, through April 6.

For more information about the Petersen Automotive Museum and its programs, see

Auto-show ‘Sirens’ sing at AACA Museum

 mermaid reclines on the hood of a new 1967 Plymouth Barracuda during an auto show. (Archive photo: AACA Museum)
Mermaid reclines on the hood of a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda at an auto show. (Archive photos: AACA Museum)

The five most-dreaded words heard by an auto-show model:

“Do you come with that?”

Of course, that’s nothing new. Beautiful women have been used to sell cars since the dawn of motoring, and some variation of that come-on has been uttered repeatedly for more than a century.

The role of attractive models to promote automobiles is the subject of an upcoming exhibit at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pa., where Sirens of Chrome opens March 1 and continues through March 31.

athing beauties dance with a 1927 Packard. (Archive photo: AACA Museum)
Bathing beauties dance with a 1927 Packard

The exhibit, which runs during Women’s History Month, is based on a book by Margery Krevsky, Sirens of Chrome – The Enduring Allure of Auto Show Models, that traces the role of women not only at new-car shows but in advertising for print and TV.

And on the cars themselves. Hood ornaments that depict women in various stages of dress and undress graced the noses of automobiles throughout the classic era prior to World War II. Actually, they still do – take a look at the prow of a modern Rolls-Royce where the iconic Flying Lady still leans into the wind.

The AACA exhibit uses period photos, illustrations, programs, posters and other material to show the evolving roles of women in auto marketing, as depicted by Krevsky in her book. The author has plenty of inside knowledge about the world of auto-show modeling; she owns an agency that supplies models, both male and female, to automakers for shows and advertising.

As such, she says, she has helped lift the role of women at auto shows from booth babes to knowledgeable spokeswomen for the automakers.

The AACA Museum will host a book signing and reception March 6 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

For more information about Sirens of Chrome, see the website for the official museum of the Antique Automobile Club of America at

Update: First Corvette emerges from sinkhole, starts and is driven away


Editor’s note: Here’s the latest from the National Corvette Museum, where eight cars were swallowed recently by a sinkhole:

Construction personnel, media, museum visitors and staff cheered as the first of eight damaged Corvettes, the 2009 “Blue Devil” ZR1, emerged from the depths of the sinkhole this morning. Not only was the car recovered, but it started after only a few tries and drove some 20 feet to the doorway of the Skydome. Continue reading

Vroooom! Historic racers don’t have to keep quiet at the Simeone museum

Each month, the Simeone exercises its historic racing cars | Photos by Larry Nutson
Each month, the Simeone exercises its historic racing cars | Photos by Larry Nutson

The inscription above the entrance to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia reads: “The first race was conceived when the second car was built.”

Inside, the museum showcases one of the greatest collections of racing sports cars in the world. Assembled over a span of 50 years by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Frederick Simeone, the museum contains more than 60 of the rarest racing cars ever built.

The quality of the collection is so outstanding that the Simeone recently was honored as museum of the year by the International Historic Motoring Awards.

The collection comprises sports cars with fenders and lights and bodywork that fully encloses the chassis. For the most part, the cars are two-seaters.DSC_2652

The cars are displayed in dioramas that represent the famous venues where these cars actually competed. The displays also illustrate the development of sports car road racing, here in the U.S. and internationally.

Displays include racing in the early 1900s, the pre-World War I era, Sebring, Watkins Glen, the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Mille Miglia, Targo Florio, Brooklands, Nurburgring, NASCAR, and more.

A unique feature of the Simeone is that the cars get driven. Once each month, visitors are treated to a specific lecture program that includes cars being driven by Simeone and museum curator Kevin Kelly around a paved, three-acre parcel in the rear of the museum.

Demonstration Days take place on the fourth Saturday of each month and are specifically themed to present a selection of three or four different cars that perhaps competed against each other.

Because the Simeone has had enormous success with its monthly Demonstration Days, it has expanded its schedule for 2014, adding a “Racing Legends” series at noon on the second Saturday of each month.DSC_2762

These events will be more technical in nature and will feature a lecture on the designated topic for that day. Cars from the collection, and from other collections, will be used to illustrate the presentation. Afterward, one or more of the cars will be demonstrated, weather permitting.

It is noteworthy that these vintage racers don’t run on today’s low-octane unleaded fuel. Sunoco is the fuel sponsor for the museum and provides high-octane aviation fuel to allow proper operation of the racers.

The Simeone also has a mobile phone app featuring more than four hours of audio about the cars and exhibits in the collection. Fred Simeone narrates the tour, which includes fascinating details about the history and the significance of each car.

The mobile app includes 86 stops on the tour, each accompanied by a photo of the car or venue, and a brief text description. The audio length varies for each stop, but averages several minutes.

The mobile app is free and is available for either Andriod phones or iPhones). To find the app, search the appropriate store for “Simeone Museum.”

Among other recent events, three-time Le Mans winner Hurley Haywood received the 2013 Spirit of Competition Award last November at a gala fundraising dinner at the Simeone Museum. The award is given annually to a person who exemplifies the “spirit of competition.”DSC_3720

Most recently, the Library of Congress has launched a national registry of historically significant vehicles, each of them certified by The Department of the Interior through collaboration with the Historical Vehicle Association. The first vehicle to be entered onto the registry is a 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe — CSX2287 — one of six such race cars produced by Carol Shelby to take on Ferrari in the global GT racing series. The honored  Shelby Daytona Coupe (see photo)  is owned by the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum.

To start planning your road trip to Philadelphia, visit The museum is located not far from I-95.


Ferdinand Porsche’s first car, built in 1898, ready for museum unveiling


The 1898 P1, displayed on a metal stand, will be unveiled Friday. (Photo: Porsche Museum)
The 1898 P1, displayed on a metal stand, will be unveiled Friday. (Photo: Porsche Museum)

The first automobile designed by Ferdinand Porsche when he was 22 years old was nothing like the iconic sports cars most associated with his name. His initial vehicle, branded by the young inventor as P1 to designate his No. 1 design, was an electric carriage that debuted on the streets of Vienna, Austria, on June 26, 1898.

The P1 was recently recovered from a warehouse where it had been untouched since 1902. On Friday, January 31, it will be unveiled in original condition at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, where it will be put on permanent display.

Officially named the Egger-Lohner electric C.2 vehicle, the car was designed and built by Porsche as a vehicle powered by a compact electric motor ranging from 3 and 5 horsepower that could reach speeds as fast as 21 mph. Porsche used an innovative Lohner alternating vehicle body system that allowed a coupe-style or open Phaeton design to be mounted on the wooden chassis.

The electric driveline produces 3-5 horsepower. (Photo: Porsche Museum)
The electric driveline produces 3-5 horsepower. (Photo: Porsche Museum)

Speed was regulated by a 12-speed control unit, and the range was approximately 49 miles between recharges of its 44-cell battery.

The P1 marked not only the first car for Ferdinand Porsche, but his first racing victory. A 24-mile race for electric vehicles was announced in Berlin in conjunction with an international motor-vehicle exhibition in September 1899.  Porsche, racing the P1 with three passengers on board, crossed the finish line 18 minutes ahead of the next competitor. More than half of the cars failed to finish due to technical problems.

The P1 also won the efficiency competition, recording the least amount of energy consumed during the race.

The unveiling of the P1 will be hosted  by Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the supervisory board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, and by Matthias Müller, president and CEO of Porsche AG, with an audience of invited guests. The following weekend, February 1-2, the P1 can be viewed free of charge as part of the celebrations to mark the fifth anniversary of the Porsche Museum.

For more information about the Porsche Museum, see

Technical Data, Egger-Lohner C.2 electric vehicle

Model year:  1898
Wheelbase:  63 inches
Gross weight:  2,977 pounds
Battery weight:  1,103 pounds
Motor weight:  287 pounds
Production:  approximately four units built
Power: continuous  3 hp,  overloaded to 5 hp (40–80 volts)
Battery: “Tudor system” 44-cell accumulator battery, 120 amp hours
Steering: stub axle front wheel
Driveline: rear wheel drive with differential gear
Brakes: Mechanical band and electrical short circuit
Wheels: Wooden spoke with pneumatic tires
Speed control:  12-speed controller
Top speed:  21 mph
Travelling speed:  15 mph

Blackhawk museum again welcomes enthusiasts and their cars with coffee — and more

Photos courtesy Blackhawk Automotive Museum
Photos courtesy Blackhawk Automotive Museum

Turns out the famed Blackhawk Automotive Museum in northern California is interested in more than just its own collection of some of the world’s finest collectible vehicles. With the start of the new year, the museum began hosting a Cars & Coffee gathering for auto enthusiasts and their cars on the first Sunday of each month.
cars n coffee jan 2014-376

The museum was hoping at least 100 or so Bay Area classic and exotic car owners might turn out for the first one . But those expectations proved not nearly optimistic enough as 415 cars showed up, including everything from a Lancia Lambda, Lincoln Waterhouse and Packard Roadster from the late 1920s to the latest 2014 models from Lamboghini, Porsche and an F-type Jaguar.Things got so busy that the museum’s executive director Timothy McGrane got pressed into service directing cars to available parking spaces (see top photo).

The museum’s second First Sunday Cars & Coffee is scheduled for this coming Sunday. The event begins at 9 a.m., and participating car owners receive free museum admission for two from event sponsor Cole European, with Scott’s Catering providing coffee and pastries.

Since it’s Super Bowl Sunday, the museum suggests spending the day at Blackhawk Plaza in Danville, with brunch at the Blackhawk Grille and viewing of the game on the big screens at Fieldhouse Sports Grille & Tavern.

The new First Sunday Cars & Coffee is just part of the museum’s 25th anniversary, which continues through July.

A Speaker Series opens February 8 with automotive columnist, European correspondent and Formula One editor Andrew Frankl of Forza magazine making a presentation and talking about his book, Frankly Frankl: Life, Love, Luck & Automobiles. In addition to covering F1 for 50 years, Frankl is European bureau chief for the Autochannel and has driven nearly every new production car introduced since 1996.

On March 15, the speaker will be Jim Wangers, the former advertising executive whom many consider to be the godfather of the Pontiac GTO and the Detroit muscle car era.

The museum also launches a new Tours program with trips aboard the Snow Train and Fun Train to Reno to visit the National Automobile Museum (nee Harrah’s Collection). For details on those train trips, which run through March 11, visit

Also on the Tours schedule is a trip May 6-16 to the Monaco Historic Races and the Mille Miglia Tour. The trip includes a visit to the Enzo Ferrari Museum. Email for details.

And the Music at the Museum Concert Series continues February 14 with contemporary jazz singer and guitarist Bobby Caldwell doing a Valentine’s Day concert.

cars n coffee jan 2014-199

LeMay-America’s Car Museum celebrates VW


The simplicity of the Volkswagen beetle, such as this 1968 sedan, has wide appeal. (Photo: Volkswagen)
The simplicity of the Volkswagen beetle, such as this 1968 sedan, has wide appeal. (Photo: Volkswagen)


‘Vee Dub: Bohemian Beauties” is the unlikely name for a new exhibit at LeMay-America’s Car Museum that focuses on the little car that could: the classic Volkswagen in all its glory.

Opening Saturday, Jan. 11 with a public unveiling at the Tacoma, Wash., museum, the show features examples from private collectors and the museum’s own collection of Ferdinand Porsche’s simple “people’s car” that took the world by storm.

Volkswagen of America, which is partnering with LeMay in producing the exhibit, has lent three rare and significant VWs:

KdF-Wagen — Only a handful of KdF-Wagens were produced between 1941 and 1945 for use by the German army. The fully restored vehicle contains more than 95 percent of the original KdF parts.

Panel Delivery Type 2 — The panel-delivery variation of the rear-engine sedan was ideal for loading and transporting cargo with its large double cargo doors and low floor. Today, it is an enduring collector’s item.

Wedding Car Beetle — Volkswagen de Mexico built two of these wrought-iron-bodied beetles in recognition of the uniquely artistic effort by a private customizer in Mexico during the 1960s.

“We are excited to collaborate with Volkswagen to celebrate a car brand that has defined a culture of customization and entrepreneurship,” said David Madeira, president and CEO of the museum.

The opening Saturday includes a movie marathon showing three The Love Bug films featuring Herbie, the sentient VW race car.

The Vee Dub show also has a social media element: tell your own unique Volkswagen stories under the hashtag #VWACM. The best stories will be on digital display at the exhibit.

For more information, see Vee Dub: Bohemian Beauties.

Simeone Museum hosts Ford GT40 celebration

This 1966 Ford GT40 was on display at the Simeone Museum’s recent People’s Choice Demo Day. (Photo: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum)
1966 Ford GT40 on display at the museum’s recent People’s Choice Demo Day. Photo courtesy Simeone Museum

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum presents a celebration of the Ford GT40, the groundbreaking race car that famously beat Ferrari at Le Mans, in a special Racing Legends event at noon on January 11, 2014,  at the Philadelphia-based museum.

Well-known GT40 expert Greg Kolasa will lead a discussion on the development and history of the GT40. Kolasa, who wrote The Definitive Shelby Mustang Guide 1965-1970, is Shelby American Automobile Club historian and registrar.

The GT40, so named because of its roof height in inches, holds a special place in the history of American auto racing. After Enzo Ferrari had imperiously snubbed Ford’s efforts to acquire his automobile business, Ford set out to beat Ferrari at its most-hallowed racing venue, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Led by Carroll Shelby, who had already trounced Ferrari with the Cobra Daytona coupe for a GT class win in 1965, the GT40 team completely dominated the 1966 running of Le Mans with an outright win that saw them cross the finish line in first, second and third places. The GT40s were back the following year, and again won Le Mans for 1967.

GT40s were raced by privateers for years after, and today the GT40 remains one of the most hotly sought-after collector cars for vintage racing.

Both of the Simeone Museum’s GT40s, a Mk. II and a Mk. IV, will be displayed during the January 11 program and, weather permitting, they will be taken out for demonstration runs after the presentation.

For more information about the museum and the GT40 event, see