Hershey School ‘limbo’ wagon slated for restoration

This week's museum round up.

It was in 1959, during the 50th anniversary of the school and home for orphaned boys founded by Milton S. and Catherine Hershey, that the decision was made to provide a more home-style environment. Part of that change included purchasing a fleet of station wagons.

To replace the more formal school buses that had been used for student travel between housing units and the school, the school purchased a fleet of 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne wagons. Those wagons went to Stageway, a coachbuilder in Cincinnati, for conversion to hold a driver and as many as 13 students at a time.

The conversions stretched the wagons with four doors on each side. The initial purchase of seven wagons worked so well that another 20 were added to the fleet, which was used for three decades before being retired.

The station wagons quickly became a central element of MHS students’ lives. Students called them ‘cattle wagons’ and later ‘limbo wagons’.”

Now, the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is undertaking the restoration of one of those wagons.

“It was a highly welcomed change and the station wagons quickly became a central element of MHS students’ lives,” the museum said in a news release. 
“Students called them ‘cattle wagons’ and later ‘limbo wagons.’

“To receive the full experience giving these station wagons their nickname ‘limbo wagons’ required sitting in the coveted rear-facing backseat; in this seat, the car ride created the namesake swinging sensation,” the museum added.

“Eventually, MHS replaced the 1962 Stageway Chevrolet Station Wagons, but the history and memory these vehicles created is irreplaceable.”

The school, already integrated, went co-ed in 1976 and since has become a cost-free school offering pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade education to income-eligible families, with more than 2,000 students from across the country currently enrolled.

Three school alumni — John and Jim Hanawalt, and Rosario “Roy” Sollazzi –purchased one of the wagons and donated it to the AACA Museum, which will turn to the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport to restore the vehicle to its original condition and burgundy color.

Fund-raising for the project continues but was recently boosted by an anonymous donation of $25,000, provided that the museum can raise a similar amount from other donors.

The museum hopes to have the college’s vehicle restoration program begin work on the car this fall.

Artist’s rendering of AACA’s new Clyne Gateway

AACA Museum getting new Clyne Gateway gallery

Construction begins soon on the new Clyne Gateway Exhibition Gallery at the AACA Museum. The gallery, to open this fall, will be the visitors’ entry portal to the museum and will have the facade of a vintage car dealership. Inside, there will be room for as many as three vehicles, various artifacts and artwork.

“There are many marque-specific clubs and automotive organizations that have outstanding educational resources and no place to exhibit them” Jeffrey Bliemeister, the museum’s executive director, is quoted in the news release. “This space will be dedicated to serving that audience and used to build relationships between the museum and the automotive community it serves.

“We envision the space commemorating automotive milestones and anniversaries and providing exposure to the rich array of clubs that can be found throughout this vibrant hobby.”

The first such exhibit will feature the National Corvette Restorers Society. Next summer, the space will feature “The Road to Safer Cars,” an exhibition curated by Roger White of the Smithsonian. Next fall, the International Thunderbird Club will be featured.

The Clyne Gallery is named for Richie Clyne, long-time collector, co-founder of the Imperial Palace Collection and an AACA Museum board member.

Deadline nears for appraisal certification class

The Auto Appraisal Group will offer certification classes for would-be classic car appraisers September 20-23 at the AACA Museum. However, you must register by August 18. For details, visit the museum website.

Jay Leno’s visit spurs Symphony Place car show in Nashville

America’s funniest car collector, Jay Leno, is scheduled to present a stand-up performance Sunday at the Schemerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Lane Motor Museum is helping to organize a classic car show as part of the visit.

Leno’s appearance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Starting at 3 p.m., a classic car show will be presented at Symphony Place. Among the cars expected to be displayed are a 1929 Packard 645 Deluxe Eight Dietrich Phaeton, a 1952 Lincoln Coupe Panamericana, a 1952 Aston Martin DB2, the museum’s 1933 Dymaxion replica, a 1931 Auburn 8-98A, a 1971 Datsun 240Z, a 1938 Tatra T97, a 1989 Lamborghini Countach, and others.

On August 31, the museum hosts Jason Torchinsky of jalopnik.com who will do a presentation on “What Happened to the Fun Cars” at 7 p.m.

Henry Ford Museum plans special Dream Cruise program

On August 16, the Henry Ford Museum will be open late and will offer a special program, “Hot Rods & Design,” from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. featuring Ford exterior design director Craig Metros, pinstriper Angelo Cruz, artist Chris “Coop” Cooper, Galpin Auto Sports custom builder Dave Shuten, Marc Greuther, the museum’s chief curator of historical resources, and House Industries co-founder Andy Cruz. They will talk about their lifelong fascination with cars, their diverse career paths, and the present and future of automotive design.

The program, moderated by Mark Borden, creative-at-large for The New York Times, is being held in conjunction with Woodward Dream Cruise week in the Detroit area.

Corvette museum ready for 99.98 percent of solar eclipse

Located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the National Corvette Museum is just only a few hundred yards from the path of totality of the solar eclipse on August 21 and is planning several special activities for that day. Visit the museum’s website for details.

Lowrider car show set at the Petersen | Museum photo

Petersen sets lowrider cruise-in for August 27

In conjunction with its “The High Art of Riding Low: Ranflas, Corazon e Inspiracion” exhibition, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will host a special lowrider Breakfast Club cruise-in on August 27 and anticipates as many as 300 of the customized cars to on display at the museum’s parking structure. For information and to register your lowrider, visit the museum’s website.

Owls Head, Saratoga museums benefit from auctions

While the 40th annual New England Auto Auction takes place this weekend, consignments are being accepted for the annual Saratoga Auto Auction, an event that benefits the Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York, and its education, distracted-driver and exhibition programs. The auction is scheduled for September 22-23 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit the auction website.

The New England sale starts August 19 with an automobilia auction at 2 p.m., with more than 200 vehicles crossing the block at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine on August 20, beginning at 9 a.m. Visit the museum website for details.

Bunches of BMWs at Beaulieu

While many in the collector car community are on the Monterey Peninsula this month, Europeans who drive BMWs will be at Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu for the BMW Car Club National Festival. The event is the largest gathering of BMWs in Europe, last year drawing more than 800 vehicles. This year, it is expected to be larger, “including M Power, Alpina, Z’s, i’s,” the museum noted in its news release, “as well as modern, classic and modified models including Minis.”

There will be a large BMW motorsports display area, a concours and more. For information, visit the museum website.

Not-quite endless summer

The calendar pages turn and it won’t be long before the leaves on the trees turn color as well. LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, plans a Summer Ender Fender Bender event September 9 with a classic car and vintage motorcycle show, beer garden and music.

Scene at the 2016 Heritage ‘Cocktails for Cars’ | Museum photo

The following weekend, Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts, stages its annual “Cocktails for Cars,” concours-style gathering of “high-end” classics and exotics. Proceeds from the event support the maintenance and care of the museum’s automobile collection. The 1909 White Steamer displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., last year by the Historic Vehicle Association was one of the museum’s vehicles. For more information, visit the museum website.

Special events this weekend

At 6 p.m. today, the Seal Cove Auto Museum on Maine’s Mount Desert Island offers a lecture by Phil Morse of the Seashore Trolly Museum on “The Narcissus, Theodore Roosevelt, and W.S. Libbey: A Winning Combination.” Libby was the original owner of the Stanley K Semi-racer on display at the Seal Cove museum.The Narcissus is a luxurious, high-speed electric interurban coach undergoing restoration at the trolley museum in Kennebunkport.

Saturday, the Seal Cove Auto Museum hosts a cars & coffee featuring street rods and muscle cars. It’s also Kids Day at the museum with remote-controlled cars, toy car races, vintage car rides and more. A few days later, on August 15, the museum hosts its annual members meeting and on August 17 the museum will offer its August Demo Day featuring its 1910 Stoddard Dayton with curator presentations at 11 a.m., 2 p.m and 4 p.m.

Sunday, the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in Danville, California, will be the site of the 42nd annual Vette Magic car show, an event hosted by the Northern California Corvette Association.

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