Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The National Automobile Museum in Sparks, NV

 The National Automobile Museum was established from Bill Harrah's personal automobile collection after his death in 1978.

 The museum has an incredible collection of cars ranging from before 1900 to recent times. One remarkable part of the collection is that the cars are restored to factory condition -- as was required by Mr. Harrah when he developed the collection.
 This 1899 Locomobile was one of the earliest cars of the collection and shows how the very early automobile was closely related to a horse drawn buggy.

 This Stutz Bearcat was the Corvette of the early 1920's and was in perfect condition. With no windshield, getting bugs in your teeth was all part of the fun.

 Rick was in his glory in this place! He loved the early cars and could not believe the level of restoration that must have been involved in the display of these cars.

 Rick got his wish to try out an early Ford! He was surprised to find how small the car was - barely able to fit two folks in the front seat. He decided that he probably would prefer to drive his 2010 Buick instead!

 Here is a rare car -- the 1923 copper cooled Chevrolet. This was Chevy's first air cooled car and was a disaster. Unfortunately, the first 500 cars built performed so poorly that Chevy re-purchased (almost) all of the cars sold and replaced them with regular Chevrolets.  This car represents one of two of thecooper cooled Chevys' still in existence. The other, ironically, is in the Henry Ford Museum as Mr. Ford refused to return it to Chevrolet after he purchased it.

 Orinda liked this 1934 Chrysler Airflow sedan. While this car had great performance for the time, the public did not accept the advanced styling and the car did not sell well.

 Coming from the Airflow, we moved to this 812 supercharged Cord from 1936. Wow - what a car. This front wheel drive probably represented the high water mark in the automotive world for some time.

 Even the lower level cars looked great, as this 1939 Plymouth shows. Again, this car was perfectly restored and looked like it just came off the show room floor.

 Here is one of Rick's favorites -- a 1966 VW beetle! Rick has restored a couple of these over the years and really liked this car. Orinda laughed as Rick suggested he get another VW! Looks like a tough sell!

 Here is perhaps the rarest car of all -- a 1907 Thomas Flyer and winner of the New York to Paris automobile race. This famous race actually went from New York, across the USA, to Russia, then Europe and on to Paris. After 169 days, this car was the winner. Imagine the lack of roads, weather, and problems that must have been involved. It was very cool to see the actual car from 105 years ago!

Finally, here is a true, 24k gold plated car. This 1981 Deloran was marketed by American Express in their Christmas Catalog for $85,000 - and two vehicles were sold (and this is one of them). It was said that insurance rates were some $1,000 a month since even a door ding could cost thousands to fix and re-plate the gold.

This museum must be one of the best auto museums anywhere and is certainly worth a stop when in the Reno/Sparks area.

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