HomeCar CultureCommentaryThey’re only original once: America on Wheels features survivor cars

They’re only original once: America on Wheels features survivor cars


The America on Wheels museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has opened a special exhibit — “They’re Only Original Once, Survivor Cars” — that runs through March 2018. The exhibit features a dozen vehicles.

“Original cars are very desirable as they become a learning tool concerning how it was painted at the factory or how the upholstered seats were originally stitched and even how the nuts and bolts were installed” Linda Merkel, the museum’s executive director, said in a news release.

The museum also noted the following criteria in considering a survivor car:

  • original paint
  • pampered life inside a garage
  • interior is original
  • all original equipment including spare tire
  • no damage to vehicle fabric

“These well-maintained original vehicles are the standard by which restored vehicles are judged,” exhibit chair Alan Gross added in the news release. “They are the definitive document on how they were actually assembled at the factory as well as the parts and finishes that were used.”

america on wheels, They’re only original once: America on Wheels features survivor cars, ClassicCars.com Journal
Boattails are featured at the ACD Museum | Museum photo

Boattails were ‘supercars of the golden age’

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in northeast Indiana opens a temporary exhibit this afternoon. “Boattails! Supercars of the Golden Age” will be celebrated with cars featuring the boat-like tail sections parked with their backsides proudly displayed in the Gallery of Excellence and Innovation on the museum’s third floor.

‘Rod-Tiques’ month in Kansas City

The Kansas City Automotive Museum in Olathe, Kansas, celebrates “Rod-Tiques” Car Club month in November and will feature hots rods, 1950s and ’60s cruisers and what is believed to be the oldest surviving George Barris custom — a chopped ’41 Ford.

The museum plans to continue a monthly theme through 2018. December 2017 will be Cadillac month, followed starting in January by Scouts Pinewood Derby month, Model T month, Custom Car month, Avanti month, Station Wagon month, and with the rest of the year’s monthly themes to be announced.

Virginia museum plans to rebuild

A fire November 1 claimed more than a dozen buses, about half of the collection of the Commonwealth Coach and Trolley museum in Roanoke, Virginia. The Roanoke Timers reported extensive damage to the 44,000-square-foot structure that houses the museum.

“The museum was not well-known, but its niche offerings attracted visitors from all over the country,” the newspaper reported.

“It opened in 1999 and housed transit coaches collected by the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Nonprofit organizations used the buses, and they were also brought out for community events, such as parades. They served as shuttles for Explore Park, Mill Mountain Zoo, the National D-Day Memorial and churches.”

The museum is seeking financial donations as it rebuilds. For information, visit the museum’s website.

Special events this weekend

The Saratoga Automobile Museum in upstate New York opens its “Wheels at Work” exhibit tonight at 6 p.m. with a special opening reception. The exhibition features a mail truck, Checker cab and other working vehicles. The centerpiece is a police Jeep that was crushed by debris on 9-11; while the driver, Lt David Lim survived, his canine partner was killed.

America on Wheels in Allentown, Pennsylvania, hosts the Dorney Park and Mahoning Speedway reunion Sunday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. On Tuesday, November 14, the museum will stage a special Homeschool Day for homeschooled students and parents.

Not this weekend, but on November 15, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia presents its Spirit of Competition award to five-time Le Mans winning driver Derek Bell.

Stahls Auto Collection in suburban Detroit hosts a Veterans Day open house Saturday and its annual Team Stahls vs. Detroit Red Wings Alumni hockey game on Sunday at the St. Clari Shores Civic Arena.

A BingeTokyo CircuitBattle (a “time attack” speed event) takes place Saturday at the National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park. Spectators are welcome and are charged only $10 to watch.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento offers “An Evening with Scott Pruett” today at 6 p.m. Preutt, a championship racing driver who has competed in sports and Indy cars, among others, will be the guest of honor.

The California Agriculture Museum in Woodland stages its annual Twinkling Tractors show starting Saturday and running through the end of the year.

Mark your calendar

On November 18, the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, Florida, stages “Sculpture in Motion: The Art of Pre- and Post-War Automobiles” from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“Throughout history, cars have been a reflection of innovation… kinetic art, industrial design, and skillful engineering created decades of rolling sculpture that enabled early transportation, elegant travel, and racing history,” the museum said in its announcement. “Automotive design is in fact a reflection of our imagination and what the future may hold. Design is everywhere, but a car is personal.”

During the day, the gardens will become unique automotive showroom for 12 vehicles, which have been curated by John Barnes, founder of the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic, the museum said.

Guests attending the day will be asked to judge cars for originality, elegance and picking a best in show winner.

For details, visit the sculpture gardens website.


Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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