HomeCar CultureLifestylePortland Art Museum to showcase ‘The Shape of Speed’

Portland Art Museum to showcase ‘The Shape of Speed’


Ken Gross has done it again. He’ll expose classic streamlined vehicles to yet another new audience when the Portland Art Museum features “The Shape of Speed” exhibition from June 16 through September 16.

The exhibition will showcase 16 cars and two motorcycles, as well as engineering drawings and period photographs that include the aircraft, railroad, ship and yacht designs that influenced automotive designers.

Portland Art Museum to showcase ‘The Shape of Speed’ | ClassicCars
Westfall Henderson motorcycle

This will be the second time Gross has been guest curator for an automotive exhibit at the museum. In 2011, he helped with “The Allure of the Automobile” that presented vehicles as rolling sculpture.

Gross, a hot-rodder, automotive writer and former director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, has spread interest in collector cars by convincing art museums in Phoenix, Houston, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Nashville, Atlanta and North Carolina to display classic cars as works of art. In seemingly each location, the museums have enjoyed not only first-time visitors, but have set attendance records.

Portland Art Museum to showcase ‘The Shape of Speed’ | ClassicCars
Bugatti Aerolithe

Museums line up for vintage model exhibits

Portland Art Museum to showcase ‘The Shape of Speed’ | ClassicCars
The Guild displayed many of its vehicles in Phoenix during Auction Week a couple of years ago| Larry Edsall photo

On a smaller but no less impressive scale, the alumni of the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild are being invited to display their surviving vehicles in a series of exhibits.

From 1930 through 1968, General Motors sponsored a national competition for high school and college students, who were invited to create hand-built 1/12th scale-model vehicles of their own design. Those whose models were judged to be best won college scholarships, and many went on to work in various automakers’ design studios.

The models they built have become cherished collectibles, and some are part of the permanent collection of The Smithsonian Institution. Interest in the models has been rekindled by occasional guild reunions and shows, and by two books about the organization by guild alumnus John Jacobus.

In his latest correspondence to the group, Jacobus identified the following opportunities to display and see the models:

•  7-8, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Maine
•  September 16, Daytona (Ohio) Concours d’Elegance
• September 30, Piston Palace Auto Museum, Warwick, Rhode Island
• October date to be announced, AACA Library and Research Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania
• April 1-October 1, 2019, Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners, Michigan

In addition, Jacobus reported that permanent displays of the models are planned at the National Route 66 Museum, Elk City, Oklahoma, and at the International Model Builder’s Museum, Sandy, Utah.

Simeone celebrates Super Bowl with free admission

As it opens its “Best of Britain” exhibit and celebrates the Super Bowl victory by the hometown Eagles, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum will offer free admission this weekend, February 17-18, to anyone wearing British Racing Green or Eagles’ Green and registering in advance through a special “World Championship Weekend” website, the museum announced.

Featured in the British car exhibit are “Forgotten Fiberglass Racers,” including those from Elva, Lotus, Peerless, Ginetta, Turner and TVR.

Special events this weekend

The Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine features “Niche Purveyors” on Saturday at 1 p.m. with presentations by “self-starters who have seen a need, followed their passion and made it in Maine!” They are toolmaker Thomas Lie-Nielsen, chocolatier Kate McAleer and baker Heidi Neal.

It’s “Hoods Up” weekend this weekend and again February 24-25 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island.

Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, hosts its 9th anniversary car show on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia opens its “Best of Britain 2018” exhibit Saturday. The exhibit runs through March 4.

The National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio, offers its Saturday “Cars & Coffee” lecture series with education director Charles Ohlin discussing “Colonel Jesse Vincent: Packard’s Master Motor Builder.” Vincent was a self-taught engineer who was awarded 162 patents during his 40-year career at Packard Motor Car Company. He designed the first V12 automobile engine in 1915 and is best known as the designer of the Liberty aircraft engine in WWI and Packard’s version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine and PT boat marine engine.

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, hosts its sixth annual beer-tasting fund-raiser, “Pint with the Past” from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday at 3 p.m., the museum’s winter lecture series offers an Automotive Lubrication Testing Seminar with David E. Persell.

Derek Moore, curator at the National Corvette Museum and formerly of The Henry Ford museum, and David Liepelt, who spent more than 20 years maintaining early Fords at the Ford museum, will talk about the Ford Model T on Saturday at the Kansas City Automotive Museum.

The Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, launches its “The Spirit of the Old West” lecture series on Saturday with Jeremy M. Johnston presenting “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” at 10:30 a.m.

To celebrate Enzo Ferrari’s birthday, the Cars & Coffee event Sunday from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, will feature Ferrari and Alfa Romeo vehicles. Enzo Ferrari was born February 18, 1898.

Also Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until noon, the Blackhawk Speaker Series will feature Derek Hill and the book Inside Track — Phil Hill, His Story, His Photos.

The LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, concludes its Education Month schedule Sunday when Todd Kelley talks about “The History of Car Emblems.”

Mark your calendar

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will be closed February 20-March 2 for building maintenance projects.

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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