HomeCar CultureCommentarySimeone salutes British cars with shows indoors and outside

Simeone salutes British cars with shows indoors and outside


Through March 3, 16 Bentley automobiles, ranging from a 1924 3 Litre to a 2018 Flying Spur V8 S, are featured in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum’s annual “Best of Britain” exhibit, which this year celebrates the Bentley Motors centennial.

museum, Simeone salutes British cars with shows indoors and outside, ClassicCars.com Journal
1924 Bentley 3 Litre

“Bentley became widely known as a builder of premium luxury cars and has held that position for the last century, not to mention their legacy of racing heritage earned by winning the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1924, 1927-1930 and again in 2003,” the museum said of its display.is

Bentleys won’t be confined to the indoor display on February 23. One of the museum’s Demo Day scheduled Saturday, this one with  the theme of “Great Britain – Land of Sports Cars.” Cars to be exercised in the museum parking lot in Philadelphia include a 1927 Bentley 3.0-liter Speed, 1931 Bently 4.5-liter supercharged tourer, 1938 Jaguar 3.5-liter SS 100, 1933 Squire roadster, 1921 Vauxhall 30/98E Velox Tourer, 1934 MG K3 Magnette and 1936 Aston Martin Le Mans. The program begins at 11:15 a.m. with the driving demonstration from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Corvette-NASA link celebrated in exhibit

museum, Simeone salutes British cars with shows indoors and outside, ClassicCars.com Journal
The gold and black Corvette (shown above with a specialized NASA vehicle) is part of the exhibit at the National Corvette Museum | Photo courtesy of Danny Reed

museum, Simeone salutes British cars with shows indoors and outside, ClassicCars.com Journal
Astronauts with their Corvettes and the lunar rover | Photo courtesy of Danny Reed

With the 50th anniversary of man’s first steps on the moon, the National Corvette Museum has worked with NASA to put together a special exhibit, “Gas Station to Space Station,” which has opened and will run through June 30.

“This exhibit shows where we’ve gone since going to the moon and tells the story of where that transformative moment in history has led us,” the museum’s curator, Derek Moore, is quoted in a news release. “We’ll be looking at some stories about how one becomes an astronaut and look into how we landed on the moon, and how that is leading us into the future.”

One of the stories explored is that of Terry Wilcutt, an astronaut and graduate of the museum’s neighbor, Western Kentucky University. Another story is that of Betty Skelton, the first woman to participate in the testing program NASA later would use to qualify its astronauts. Yet another is the relationship between astronauts and the Corvette.

“It’s no surprise to anyone that those people who push the envelope in performance aircraft and rockets would want to drive high-performance cars when Earth-bound,” the museum notes. “For many, the natural choice was Corvette. Alan Shepard started the trend when he drove a 1957 Corvette to the astronaut training base. Later, when he became the first American to travel in space on May 5, 1961, GM President Ed Cole gave him a new Corvette to honor his accomplishment.”

Many of the astronauts took advantage of Indy winner-turned-Florida dealer’s offer of leasing Corvettes to them for $1.

“Rathmann just got it,” said Moore. “Being a bit of a thrill seeker himself as an accomplished race car driver, he saw Corvette as the perfect car for people who live on the edge. 

“Rathmann’s forward thinking on this wound up promoting Corvette at a time when the space age was in full throttle. To honor that aspect of the story, we’re bringing in a few of those cars as well.”

museum, Simeone salutes British cars with shows indoors and outside, ClassicCars.com Journal
Corvette museum’s salute to NASA runs through June 2019 | Museum photo

Australian ‘museum’ closes over tax issues

Australian media reports that the Gosford Classic Car Museum, which reputedly features the largest privately owned car collection in the Southern Hemisphere, is closing due to a dispute with the Australian Tax Office and the collection of more than 300 cars and motorcycles will be sold at auction.

According to the museum website, it already has closed and the auction is scheduled for April 6-7. The collection is reportedly worth around $70 million.

museum, Simeone salutes British cars with shows indoors and outside, ClassicCars.com Journal
Gosford Classic Cars owner Tony Denny and some of the vehicles going to auction | Museum photo

The business was founded in 2016 as Gosford Classic Cars, a large showroom for the viewing and sale of collector vehicles. Later, the word “museum” was added to its name, apparently to enhance its attraction to visitors. 

However, a tax audit found it to be a dual-purpose business and not exempt from certain taxes. 

On its website, the company claims, “The business has always cooperated with the ATO, diligently meeting its taxation obligations in full, and on time. In keeping with that (and despite their strong objection to the ATO’s position) Gosford Classic Cars implemented all interim measures suggested by the ATO…

“Those measures included dropping the word ‘museum’ from the trading name, not advertising the museum concept and dispensing with admission fees. Without admission fees and the ability to promote the ‘museum concept,’ the dealership has lost hundreds of customers. This drop in visit rate has had a knock-on effect on trade, with car sales reducing from up to 59 car sales per month to as low as just 5 per month.”

Gosford is located just north of Sydney in New South Wales.

Camaro pace cars return to Indy

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum invites owners of Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 pace cars and 500 Festival Camaro event cars to a homecoming event May 17-19. The 2019 Indy 500 marks the 50th anniversary of the Camaro as an Indy pace car. For registration details, visit the museum website.

Special events this weekend

LeMay – America’s Car Museum hosts its Bootleggers Blowout party from 8 to 11 p.m. on February 22.

The National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio, stages one of its “Coffee & Donut” series events February 23 at noon with “Motorcycle Competition Champions — Meet the Masters” featuring Paul Danik, winner of a gold medal in the 1973 International Six Day Trial and Frankie Gallo, a 6-day trial competitor in 1976-78. Meanwhile, the museum’s 19th annual vintage motorcycle exhibit runs through May 18 featuring 30 machines.

February 23 is Trivia Night at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, where the first of 100 questions will be asked at 7 p.m. Teams are asked to register in advance by calling the museum.

“Winning Numbers: The First, The Fastest, The Famous” is the title of a new exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, where board member Bruce Meyer will display 10 race cars from his collection through January 19, 2020. The exhibit opens February 23.

Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, stages its monthly auto flea market February 24 from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, continues its winter speaker series Sunday afternoon with automotive archaeologist and author Ryan Brutt discussing “Barn Finds.”

In conjunction with the February 16-24 school holiday in England, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu will host a Hands-on Half-Term event featuring its Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 Years exhibit with students invited to make like Caractacus Potts and create their own balloon cars and then see how fast they’ll go.

During the same dates in February, the British Motor Museum at Gaydon will offer special children’s programs on jet-powered cars daily from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., with children building third own “jet powered” (OK, it’s the air emerging from a balloon) cars. 

Mark your calendar

The British Motor Museum’s annual Mini Motorists program for those 5 years of age or younger starts February 25 and includes crafts, story-telling and playtime from 10:30 a.m. until noon.

The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine joins the MDI Historical Society for the Jeopardy Edition History Happy House from 5 to 7 p.m. February 27 at McKays Public House, where Car Talk and Auto Feats & Firsts will be among the question categories.

Registration closes March 1 for the Museum In Motion trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The dates for the trip are June 6-17 and the tour includes four nights in London, three in Angers for the race and then another in Paris before flying home.

The Brooklands Museum in England offers a presentation March 7 by author Matt James on the 60-year history of the British Touring Car Championship

The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine hots its Brass Club speakeasy gala on March 9 from 7 until 9 p.m.

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia hosts the second model car show staged by the Philadelphia Area Car Modelers from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on March 9. The theme for the show will be “Welcome to Woodstock! — It’s all about VW’s, Man!”

Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, hosts its 10th anniversary car show March 9 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The 31st induction ceremony at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona Beach, Florida, takes place March 11-12. Inductees will be Augie Duesenberg, Dario Franchitti, Phil Remington, Don Schumacher, Kevin Schwantz, Tony Stewart and Linda Vaughn.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento opens a new exhibit, Micro Cars, on March 15.

The National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park will be the site of BingeTokyo on March 16-17. Though it may sound as though only Japanese vehicles are welcome, organizers say all makes and models are welcome in what they believe to be “hands down the cheapest seat time you will get,” seven hours of track time over two days for $500.

LeMay Collections at Marymount participates in the Almost Spring swap meet and car show at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup, Washington, on March 16-17.

The Miles Through Time Automotive Museum in Toccoa, Georgia, stages a car club cruise-in on March 23.

“RADwood: Cleveland Goes Rad” is the title for an exhibit/experience running through March 24 at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland. Staged in partnership with RADwood car shows, the exhibit will celebrate 1980s and ‘90s car culture and will showcase vehicles, clothing, music “and everything in between.”

LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, hosts the LeMay Tea Party on March 30.

The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild will stage a reunion and model car exposition April 4-7 at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, where more than 100 of the cars will remain on exhibit through October.

“USAC Stars: From Dirt Tracks to the Brickyard” is the theme of a panel discussion at 6 p.m. April 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum featuring U.S. Auto Club racing champions Brady Bacon, Tyler Courtney, Dave Darland, Justin Grant and Kody Swanson. 

SEMA’s CuS.T.E.M. Car Experience visits the LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, on April 19. The program introduces middle school students to the automotive customization hobby through STEM education experiences. 

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts its annual “Simply Audi” car show on April 21.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is organizing a bus trip to the New York International Auto Show on April 27.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, opens a special “RCR 50: Only in America” exhibit featuring 50 years of Richard Childress Racing in May. 

The Simply Ford gathering May 5 at Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu will feature the 60th anniversary of the Ford Anglia 105E and the 50th birthday celebration for the Ford Capri.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens two new summer exhibits on May 18 — Studebaker Cool: 114 Years of Innovation, and Harley-Davidson: History, Mythology and Perceptions of America’s Motorcycle. Both exhibits run through October 20.

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts both its silver-anniversary spring autojumble (swap meet) May 18-19 and a 60th anniversary celebration of the Mini. 

LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, offers Model T drivers education classes May 18, June 8, July 7, August 4 and September 8.

The IMS Museum presents the 21st annual Indianapolis Historic Racing Exhibition on May 23-25 when around 70 Indianapolis 500 racing cars are expected to return to the track for exhibition laps and to be displayed in the museum parking lot inside Turn 2. The event is open to cars that raced at Indy between 1911 and 1994.

LeMay Collections stages LeMay Motorcycle Days from June 13-23 with 200 motorcycles on exhibit and with rounds of motorcycle soccer.

“The Car. The Future. Me” is the title of an exhibit scheduled to open July 13 at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, UK, to explore “futuristic car design and (to) challenge your idea of how we will interact with the cars for the future,” the museum said. 

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, inducts new members Sergio Marchionne, the late chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify as a driver in the Indianapolis 500; Richard “Dick” Dauch, co-founder of American Axle Manufacturing; and Patrick Ryan, creator of the first auto dealership finance and insurance department, on July 18 in Detroit.

On August 3, the British Motor Museum will be the site of the Classic Mini Mosaic world-record attempt that is expected to draw more than 600 classic Minis. The following day the museum will be the site of the National Metro & Mini Show.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, inducts racer Briggs Cunningham, Corvette designer Tom Peters, and Dollie Cole, Corvette enthusiast and widow of former GM president Ed Cole, into its hall of fame on August 30.

“Legends of Speed,” a showcase of nearly two dozen historic racing cars, opens November 2 at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email larrye@classiccars.com.

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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