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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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 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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Aug. 2, 2011 at 2:56pmOldsmobile Down Under

Car collectors are the same world over.

Recently, I was contacted by the son of Mr. Peter Gifford of Dunlop Australia who restored ACM’s 1926 Oldsmobile Holden 4 door touring car in the late 1970’s. After several fun email exchanges between son Michael and Peter’s wife Connie, I received a package in the mail with photographs of the car’s restoration, along with documents, and the Canberra collector license plate which was on the car in many of the photos included with the package.

The following letter from Mr. Gifford was enclosed:

“Six months ago an old friend rang me and said he had seen the car in a museum in America. This of course started my son Michael tracking this information until finally locating it. It is a credit to those people who have owned the Olds since I sold it in 1981 to Darrell Cawthorn in Sydney.

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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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Apr. 21, 2011 at 11:43amIntroducing: The Avanti #1001 Rescue Project

ACM has launched the "Avanti #1001 Rescue Project" to restore our 1963 Studebaker Avanti (which is #1001/body 101), the first production Avanti in America.  If funds can be generated, the museum will cosmetically restore the car to display condition and complete a full mechanical restoration on the world’s first production Avanti.

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Feb. 22, 2011 at 3:40pmStrictly Continental

1942 Lincoln The first Continental was a customized Lincoln Zephyr built in 1939, at the request of Ford Motor Company President Edsel Ford.  The car was built to be for his use at his vacation home in Palm Beach Florida. As the story goes, upon returning from a trip to Europe, Edsel went to the Ford Company’s head designer, Bob Gregorie and asked him to build a “strictly continental” car for his personal use.

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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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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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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.


May. 20, 2010 at 1:25pmShow Me The Money: What's My Car Worth?

A classic or collectible car for many of us car collectors is not only like a member of the family, it is also a valuable asset. Looking at Kelly Blue book, NADA classic car pricing or recent auction valuations might give you a good ball-park estimate, but many times for older classics, high performance cars or cars that have been customized, these avenues may not be fully adequate. To protect your assets for “agreed or replacement value” insurance policies, an appraisal by a certified automotive appraiser is the way to go.

I frequently receive calls asking for information on auto appraisers and whom we would recommend for them to contact. Appraising an automobile takes a professional who specializes in your particular era of vehicle. Therefore, it would be difficult for one to recommend an appraiser for all vehicles. I usually recommend contacting verified appraisal organizations, and requesting a list of appraisers in their area.

Always interview potential appraisers before you give one the job. Before you hire an appraiser, ask each of them:

  • About their experience levels. Some appraisers cost more than others, particularly those with expertise in certain types of cars.
  • How long they've been appraising cars.
  • To see examples of their appraisals. You will want to be clear about the level of detail they will give before you hire anyone. I have seen one-sheet appraisals with minimal information and multi-page appraisals with historical research specific to the vehicle included with the appraisal.

Auto Appraisers Group (AAG), headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia is one such source for locating an appraiser qualified to assess the value of your vehicle. They have a very informative website on how to select an appraiser.

International Society of Appraisers (ISA), headquartered in Chicago, Illinois is another source one can explore. The ISA appraiser lists are not limited to just automobiles; appraisers of collectibles, jewelry furniture and more can be found.

International Automotive Appraisers Association (IAAA), headquartered in Montvale, NJ boasts a membership of certified Professional Appraisers from the United States, Australia, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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! 

Apr. 8, 2010 at 3:22pmWhere Are They Now? eBay Cars Get a Second Wind

The cars live again!  Vehicles that have been released for sale by the Collection committee have been going to good homes and we are receiving regular updates from many of the new owners with regard to their restoration efforts of vehicles purchased from the museum.

Recently, for example, the collection committee released for sale a 1956 Studebaker Goldenhawk which had turned out to actually be made from parts of two Goldenhawk years, 1956 and 1957. The front end, frame and interior was the 1956, the rear fins, trunk lid, doors, dash and engine was from a 1957. 

This car turned out to be quite controversial among Studebaker purists, but new owners felt the car had merit. The car was purchased by Jim and Stephanie Bell from Bellingham, Washington for the Bell Studebaker Museum. The Bells have started a museum full of rare or unusual Studes, currently housing 75 Studebakers, going as far back to the days when Studebaker was a premier maker of wagons.  The Bells were thrilled to be able to add this car to their stable. Jim has all the parts to get the car running again, which will include re-fitting the engine with the missing supercharger, putting back the stock transmission, and some of the missing trim, finishing the interior, and driving it every day he can!

Jim and Stephanie spoke fondly of Harold LeMay and mentioned two cars Harold had acquired from them in the past, and are thrilled to add this specialty custom to their collection.

Our selling account on eBay lists donated parts, car donations as well as cars released by the Board of Director's Collection Committee.  To find our listings, go here.  Those with eBay accounts can save us as a “favorite seller” to receive email notifications of new listings directly from eBay.


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