May. 14, 2012 at 10:34amCarroll Shelby, 1923-2012... A Personal Short Story

ShelbyYes, he was a snake oil salesman... and a flim-flam man and, from time to time from what I've read and been told, an olympic class truth stretcher. But he was also an "American Original"... an irrepressible individualist... an unapologetic iconoclast... a man with no use for focus groups and market research. Carroll Shelby probably would never have made it in today's mamby-pamby, hyper-sensitive and over-regulated market place... but if anybody could, my chips would be on him.

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Mar. 12, 2012 at 6:30pmA Piece of American History Uncovered

Researching the cars here at ACM often reminds me of genealogy research, where you look at people’s ancestry, birth date, marital status, immigration, residence, military, professional, fame/infamy, and, finally, death records. Similarly, vehicles have very comparable records, a birth date, place they were created, licensing history and, perhaps, histories of being moved from state to state. There are records showing ownership changes and whether the car has been restored. The titles are just like our own birth records and can tell us volumes concerning past ownership.Simplex badge

While researching the records for ACM’s 1917 Crane Simplex Chassis No. 2358, I found a small reference that the car had possibly been owned by the J.D. Rockefeller Family. John D. Rockefeller founded and built the Standard Oil Company empire in the late 19th century, eventually becoming one of the most prominent and wealthiest men in the country, so it was likely this fine luxury automobile built in New York might have been in his stable.

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Jan. 18, 2012 at 12:09pmTo Craft the Finest Automobiles in America

The 1956 Continental Mark II

"To craft the finest automobiles in America" - was the motto of short-lived Continental Division of Ford Motor Company, and during its two year production run, the division produced the Continental Mark II series.
Boone Continental 1

Our newest addition to the collection is this 1956 Continental Mark II, donated to America’s Car Museum by Steve Boone, owner of Northwest Harley Davidson in Lacy, WA. Steve, who has been a tireless LeMay- America's Car Museum supporter, is a member of the Museum's Board of Directors and the Chairperson of ACM’s Collection Committee.

The Mark II is a beautiful display example of Ford’s forward thinking in engineering design and attention to quality. When Steve acquired the car he said it caught his eye for its sleek look and luxury interior. “I thought it was just a beautiful car!”, Steve tells us.

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Jan. 11, 2012 at 4:47pmAvanti Rescue Update-Green Sparkle Gone!

After 40 years, the First Avanti is no longer Green Sparkle and is on its way back to its original Avanti White.

Over the past couple of months, ACM’s Avanti has undergone some major changes and our monthly updates on the ACM’s Collection pages have been showcasing the recent progress. The car has been completely stripped by our all-volunteer rescue team in Bellingham, Washington, under the direction of James Bell of the Bell Studebaker Museum. In final preparation for paint removal, James and his crew cleared out everything under the car-- the driveline, brake and fuel lines, exhaust, etc. so they wouldn’t be in the way of soda blasting the frame. The volunteer crew, who are all members of the Whatcom County chapter of the Studebaker Driver’s Club, have meticulously dismantled the car taking care to label and bag all parts. The rear end was swapped out with a temporary one and the refreshed rear-end, new leaf springs plus suspension from the A-arms out in front will be replaced once the car has returned for re-assembly.
Read More --->

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Dec. 28, 2011 at 5:14pmBeautiful Bullet Nose Coupe

1951 Studebaker Champion Starlight

America's Car Museum received an extra special gift in our stocking this year from Dick Hannah of Vancouver Washington. This 1951 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe was lovingly restored by Dick Hannah Dealerships (under Mr. Hannah's direction) in 2009 and was frequently on display at the dealership's showroom.

Studebaker's design team created the Starlight under the direction of  legendary Raymond Loewy and final designs were executed by Virgil Exner.  The daring 1950-51 Bullet-nose Studebaker has become one of the most iconic American automotive designs.
Hannah 51 Stude

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Nov. 16, 2011 at 2:12pmHot Rod Shop Deuce Delivery

1932 Ford Sedan Delivery

Greenfield Deuce
...is our newest addition to the collection generously donated to America's Car Museum by Gerald Greenfield and Family, of Lake Tapps, Washington.

By 1931 sales of the aging Model A were plummeting. Ford knew that they needed a modern design to revitalize the company. Working around the clock they designed and built the first economical V-8. The first of what was to become the "Deuce" models rolled off the line in April of 1932. The Sedan Delivery truck was only produced for the last two months of the year and only 402 were built making it one of the rarest Fords of all time.

This car's story has been featured in the June, 2009 edition of Rod and Custom Magazine, CarTech's America's Coolest Rides Station Wagons, and has won many awards including the 2011 Goodguys Pacific NW Best Commercial entry.

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May. 10, 2011 at 1:37pm1962 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia: Think of it as a Timex movement inside a Rolex case

This post comes from our own Autobiography article of OpenRoad; our quarterly publication for members. If you would like to receive this award winning publication, sign up to become a member today! Otherwise, you can download the full article from OpenRoad, here.

Karmann 2

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Feb. 11, 2011 at 4:04pmWhat's with the flames?

In answer to the first question, I can say without the slightest hesitation or equivocation, I have absolutely no idea and neither does anyone else. As for their meaning, the answer is both obvious"they look cool"and a bit more complex, involving how we, as human beings, are  visually and emotionally hard-wired.

Download a copy of this article here.

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Jan. 13, 2011 at 8:44amRetrieving Cars from Impossible Locations: That's what we do here at LeMay!

Bleacher 2For the last 25 years there have been about a dozen 1923 to 1931 cars perched on the bleachers in the old gym at Marymount. Seven of them were cars donated by the LeMay family to the museum. Following a meeting with Doug LeMay, the Museum was given a green light to access the cars provided a ramp could be used rather than a forklift in order to protect the new carpeting in the gym.

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Nov. 16, 2010 at 6:22pm1947 Packard Clipper

Bayley 1947 ClipperThis 1947 Packard Clipper Deluxe Eight sedan is our newest addition to LeMay-America’s Car Museum Collection. The car was donated by Club Auto Member, Christopher Bayley of Seattle. Mr. Bayley states “To me the Dutch Darrin designed Clipper is the most beautiful "modern" Packard. Some of us even think the Silver Cloud I Rolls Royce and comparable Bentley mimicked the look of these cars.”

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Sep. 7, 2010 at 5:13pmLost and Found overflow – Darrin’s Illian and GM proposals

  In the Lost and Found section in the issue of Hemmings Classic Car that should be landing in subscribers’ hands shortly (#74), I included a photo from Guy Cassaday of the full-size prototype of the car that Dutch Darrin designed for Israel-based Illian, a company that previously assembled Kaiser-Frazers there. I also noted that the photo may have been flipped, so I thought I’d also show it the other way ’round, as it was sent to me by former SIA scribe Leon Dixon. Benni Haspel, who lives in Israel, confirmed for me that Israelis have always driven on the right side of the road, which should make this version of the photo the correct one. By the way, does anybody know whatever became of this prototype?

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Aug. 12, 2010 at 11:02amJay Leno: American Cars Are Poised For A Comeback - Article

This post article was posted on Jay Leno's Garage

After decades of dormancy, American automotive engineering, design and technology are back on the bleeding edge. Jay Leno thinks it's finally time for the resurgence of the Great American Car, not in the form of boring hybrids, but with groundbreaking electrics.

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Aug. 10, 2010 at 3:55pmMurderdrome

This article came from Hemmings Blog:

Albert Shrimp Burns
If you want an outstanding history of early motorcycle  racing in America, you can spend the next few days with Pioneers  of  American  Motorcycle  Racing: Exclusive internet publication about the men who built and rode the first American racing motorcycles between 1900 1933, by Daniel K. Statnekov (including a chapter on Shrimp Burns).

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Aug. 4, 2010 at 2:47pmModel T tank, version 2.0?

This article was posted on Hemmings Blog:

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Aug. 3, 2010 at 9:44amAnother record for Speedweek?

This article was posted on Hemmings Blog:

With 500 pre-entries and more racers expected to show up on the salt, officials from the SCTA-BNI may see a record number of entrants for this year’s 62nd annual Speedweek at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

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Aug. 2, 2010 at 9:43amThe most honest metalworking book in the world

This article was posted on Hemmings Blog:

Perhaps the greatest legacy of the nostalgia rod movement is the torrent of creativity it unleashed upon hot rodding as well as the urge among hot rodders to learn how to cut, shape and weld metal to push the envelope of hot rod styling.


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Jul. 8, 2010 at 1:33pmHealey Rendezvous 2010

Late June, early July saw the bucolic hamlet of Eugene, Oregon experience a British invasion… of the four-wheeled variety… and ACM (in the form of yours truly and wife Denise) was there to record it. Over two hundred Austin-Healey enthusiasts descended on the town as part of “Healey Rendezvous 2010.” Cars ranged from lovable little “Bugeye” Sprites to every iteration of the so-called “big Healey.” A large contingent of rare Nash Healeys also made the trip to Eugene.

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Jun. 20, 2010 at 12:15pmHenry Ford and All American Pastimes: Cars and BBQs

As we move into summer, Americans start polishing off the collector car and getting out the BBQ. I never put the two activities together other than they are both favorite summer pastimes, however they are both closely related thanks to Henry Ford.  I found the start of this article in our archives which was submitted by museum volunteer John Austin , who is the former President of the Galloping Gertie Model A Ford Club of Tacoma Washington

Model T’s Ford bodies are composed of a sheet metal skin over a wooden frame. Henry Ford produced over 15 million Model T’s over its 19-year run (1908-1927), and simultaneously produced vast quantities of wood waste.

E.G. Kingsford,  a relative of Mr. Ford who owned a Ford dealership and also happened to be a real estate agent, engineered the purchase of over 313,000 acres of land on the Michigan Upper Peninsula upon which a sawmill and wooden auto parts plant were built in 1920.  Soon after Ford, who was known as a notoriously frugal businessman, partnered with Kingsford and founded the Kingsford Company to reclaim saleable byproducts from the manufacturing  waste.  For every ton of scrap wood produced, this plant was able to extract 610 pounds of charcoal. This charcoal was manufactured into briquettes and sold under the name Ford Charcoal Briquettes. Now a ready source for outdoor cooking, this was the beginning of Americans cooking and barbecuing with charcoal.

Briquettes were re-named Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes (in honor of E.G.) a brand that still exists today. As a result of his entrepreneurial sense, Henry Ford is credited as forming the foundations of two industries both the automobile industry and the charcoal briquette industry.


 

Apr. 26, 2010 at 4:04pm2010 WA Hot Rod Hall of Fame Awards

I had the pleasure last night to attend the Washington State Hot Rod Hall of Fame’s Annual awards banquet at the Tacoma Convention Center.  For those of you who have not attended this event in the past, I would recommend making it next year:  the 2011 banquet will be held at the Everett Holiday Inn in conjunction with the Cruizin' to Colby show.

In addition to a  large and enthusiastic crowd (estimated to be over 600), there was a nice selection of raffle prizes and several new inductees were named, in addition to the 40+ past inductees who were honored:

Outstanding Young Hot Rodders: 
- Andy Patton
- Nick Lampert

50 Year Club Awards:
- Beach Barons
- Mo-Taters
- Pacific NW Region Porsche Club
- Pushrods of Hoquiam, Rakers

2010 Club of the Year:
- Seattle Rod-Tiques

Inducted Members:
- Don Amundson
- Larry Berkovich
- Jon Byers
- Russ Divers
- Mike Mooney
- Henry Nelson

$7,000 was raised  for the favorite charity of the group, The Burned Children Recovery Foundation, and an announcement was made about the reforming of the Northwest Car Club Council. The Council was originally formed about 50 years ago to help legitimize the car clubs of the era and the stated mission today is to advocate the hobby to the many young people who will become the future of the hobby.

MC Lance Lambert did an outstanding job of both keeping the event going, and having some fun along the way! 


Mar. 30, 2010 at 1:50pmPlaying in the rain . . .

I had the pleasure last weekend of being one of three winning drivers in the wettest race I have probably ever competed in . . . and I grew up racing in Seattle!

The event was the International Conference of Sports Car Clubs (ICSCC) 6-Hour Enduro, which is the traditional season-opener at Pacific Raceways in Kent.  The team was Lowe Group/Frost Engineering and we were driving the same Bridgestone-sponsored BMW M3/GTR that we raced in the 7th Annual NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill last December.  My co-drivers, Jim Gallaugher and Jerold Lowe, did a great job of taking an early lead and holding it, despite spirited challenges from some clearly fast competitors. Jerold handed me a car in the lead when the rains came -- and boy did they come!

It was really a matter of trying my best to see out of a very wet and dirty windscreen and maintain a pace to keep us in the lead.  I had a blast, and the soaked and tired team received a well-deserved victory. 

Next stop . . . Pikes Peak


Mar. 14, 2010 at 5:12pmOur "Marquis" Diamond

Last year, I received a call from Mrs. Burt, wishing to donate her beloved 1983 Mercury Marquis station wagon to the Museum.

Mrs. Burt was downsizing her home and the family car was an item that she reluctantly realized she needed to give up. She inquired if her Marquis might be welcomed at LeMay, and after speaking on the phone with her for a few minutes (along with at least one trip to see the car), I knew we would definitely want this vehicle and it would be a great addition to the LeMay collection. 

The Burt family purchased the car in April of 1983 from Bill Gill Lincoln Mercury dealership in Tacoma. It was delivered brand new to the Burts, equipped with every luxury option available on the Marquis at the time. It was obvious upon the first viewing that this Mercury Marquis only had one owner and it was almost like a member of the family. This Mercury had been meticulously maintained as well as garaged all of its life. The original faux wood grain siding looks new, the paint is original and all of the bright work is polished and beautifully shiny.

Mrs. Burt is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. A former elementary school teacher, she is the proud mother of three children. Both Mr. and Mrs. Burt were avid golfers, and enjoyed traveling around the country in the Marquis. The Burts revealed that their golf clubs fit perfectly in the back whenever they went to tournaments; it was one of the favorite things that they loved about the car. The cargo area also features bench seats which fold up and out, allowing additional passengers to ride along if desired. The tailgate is also an interesting mechanical innovation for the day, a two-stage operation that opens horizontally like a car door, as well as offering a traditional fold down, tail-gate style opening. 

Following a tour in the armed forces and his subsequent graduation from medical school, Dr. Robert Burt set up a general surgery practice within the city of Tacoma. On days off, Dr. Burt enjoyed taking his grandchildren out for rides in the Mercury Wagon. All of the Burt grandchildren remember that, when they would ask grandpa where they were going, he would always reply "Oh, let's just see where the car will take us".

The kids unanimously agree that grandpa's car almost always found its way to the local ice cream parlor.


Mar. 12, 2010 at 5:05pmAdopt-a . . . Bus?

The sights and sounds of a foreign country - even a familiar one - often jog our senses and transport us to another time. Coming from a land of SUV's and bland sedans that all seem to look alike, I'm always thrilled to see the kinds of vehicles embraced by our cousins "over the pond". What I love the most is seeing those wacky London taxis and the wild and wonderful Bristol double-decker buses - it's like seeing some long-extinct pterodactyl flying past!

Apparently, Harold LeMay must have felt the same way. Over the years, he managed to find and buy not one, not two, but three of the darn things. One of these fascinating machines was donated to America's Car Museum by the LeMay family and we are very proud to have it. So proud, in fact, that we elected to include it in our pool of vehicles for our Adopt-an-Auto program. The list includes all levels of vehicles we want to restore and allows people to donate the badly-needed funds to help us get them Museum-ready.

We added this great example of UK ingenuity to our list and within days, John Lyons, one of our newest Steering Committee members, scooped it up. John knew full well that he will be the proud "parent" of this bus for 5 years and will get to come to the Museum when it's done for a fun family photo shoot. In the meantime, we will display the Bristol at our new place in Fife - and allow the millions of people a year who drive past us on I-5 a short glimpse into the past and into the fun world of British transportation.

Cup of tea, anyone?