In 2009, I received a call from Mrs. Lorna 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-America’s Car Museum's Collection. Following our review of the donation, we knew the vehicle would be a great addition.
The Burt family purchased the car in April of 1983 from Bill Gill Lincoln Mercury dealership in Tacoma. It was delivered 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.
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?
"Motor mouth - someone who talks incessantly!" Sometimes, it has negative context but I like to think of it as also meaning, "fresh, sassy, and insightful".
These ideas create a pretty good description of the new blog space for America's Car Museum (ACM). "Motor Mouth" will be a place where enthusiasts from all over the world will participate in a never ending conversation about our love for the car, and, ok, for motorcycles and trucks too.
There's a lot to be excited about at ACM these days because we're committed to help our supporters - members of America's Car Club (ACC) - with information, connections, and opportunities at the center of the enthusiast culture.
Here's some of what's going on:
We'll regularly participate in the conversation through blogs from members of our board of directors, executive team, collection staff and automotive media personalities. Many of these are key subject matter experts who you'll get to exchange ideas with.
Motor Mouth promises to offer you an insider's look behind the scenes of the Museum and of the broader automotive community.
Not at all stodgy.
Like car gatherings everywhere, Motor Mouth should provide an opportunity to enjoy all things automotive together. It will only do so if it's a two way conversation among enthusiast.
So, start your engine, let that motor run and let's talk!