HomeCar CultureMercedes museum celebrates first petrol-powered bus, and those that followed

Mercedes museum celebrates first petrol-powered bus, and those that followed

Our weekly roundup of news and notes from car museums


This photo shows an early Benz & Cie. bus that was used for transporting guests to and from the Hotel National

It was in March of 1895 that Benz & Cie. delivered an 8-seat bus to Netphener Omnibus-Gesellschaft, which placed the vehicle in use on its Siegen-Netphen-Deuz route. The significance was that the bus was powered by a rear-mounted, single-cylinder, gasoline-fueled engine rated at 5 horsepower.

The bus company was pleased enough that it ordered another, which was delivered that June. 

In celebrating the 125th anniversary of those first buses powered by combustion engines, Daimler AG noted that there was one difference between the first two: The second was equipped with a signal bell, presumably used to alert passengers of the bus’s arrival.

Those first petroleum-powered buses were based on the Benz Landauer, the company’s largest vehicle. 

1930s era Mercedes-Benz O 2600 all-weather touring bus

Six historic buses are showcased in Collection Room 1 at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany. They include a British Milnes-Daimler double-decker from the early 1900s, a Mercedes-Benz 0 2600 all-weather touring bus from the 1930s, an O 3500 all-weather tourer from the 1950s, a “brightly painted” Brazilian LO 1112 from 1969, an 0 305 standard service bus from 1980 and a recent Mercedes-Benz Travego.  

The museum also has, though in another room, an O10000 bus from the 1930s that was converted into a mobile post office, and yet another — an O 302 used by the German national soccer team in 1974.

Museums turn to internet during pandemic

With nearly all of the world’s automobile museums closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, several of them have turned to the internet to share their collections with virtual visitors.

In the video above, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum historian Donald Davidson shares his favorite car in the museum’s collection.

Coloring page from new educational section of Indy website | Museum photo

The Speedway’s museum also has added an “Education” section to its website with teacher and parent resources, including grades 3-6 lesson plans, as well as various at-home activities including a crossword puzzle and a draw your face on the Borg Warner Trophy page.

The Petersen Automobile Museum in Los Angeles is offering hour-long video presentations of the cars in its famed “Vault” featuring collection manager Dana Williamson. The schedule includes Performance cars at 11 a.m. March 27, a full tour of the vault at 11 a.m. March 28, Presidential vehicles at 2 p.m. April 1, pre-war vehicles at 11 a.m. on April 3 and another full vault tour at 11 a.m. April 4. All times are Pacific time zone.

The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, will stage free live and themed tours via Instagram on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. (Pacific time), starting March 31 when the theme will be Gabriel Voisin and his cars. 

The Phoenix Art Museum had cut short its “Legends of Speed” exhibition, but offers an hour-long online tour/lecture featuring Carter Emerson, car enthusiast and museum co-chairman.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers an online “Vettecademy” educational program designed for homebound students as well as the launch of its “Fully Vetted” video series of Corvette backstories.

Nash Healy like that used in the 1954 Audrey Hepburn/Humphrey Bogart movie ‘Sabrina’ is part of the Hollywood cars exhibit | California Automobile Museum photo

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento has launched a virtual membership that includes video tours of exhibits, interviews with car owners, and more. 

“Virtual Memberships are a way for the public to support and enjoy the museum even though we cannot physically host them in the building,” executive director Mark Steigerwald said in the announcement.

For details, visit the museum’s special website.

Also, while many museums are closed, many of their gift shops remain open through the various museum websites.

Mark your calendar…

… but be sure to check with the specific museum regarding the viability of the following listings.

The Miles Through Time Museum in Clarkesville, Georgia, will re-open in its new facility on April 4 but only for those who want to do self-guided tours. The planned grand re-opening and cruise-in have been postponed until a later post-virus date.

“Birds of a Feather: Studebaker Hawks” is the subject of the speaker series presentation at 1:30 p.m. April 15 at the National Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana, where museum archivist Andrew Beckman will talk about the history and evolution of the Hawk model.

The Mustang Owner’s Museum near Charlotte, North Carolina, is making plans for National Mustang Day with several days of activities, including a test and tune on April 16, at Mooresville Dragway; a driver’s choice cruise to various NASCAR race shops or to a winery, distillery and brewery before the Mustang Hall of Fame induction on April 17; a “day at the museum” program on April 18; and a cruise to Mustang specialist Innovative Performance Technologies on April 19. Just confirmed will be an appearance by the 1963 Mustang II concept vehicle.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will host a special Mustang Day program on April 17 with a cruise-in car show beginning at 9 a.m., with behind-the-scenes tours and a special presentation at 1 p.m. by Shelby engineer Chuck Cantwell.

The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona, Beach, Florida, hosts “An Evening with Dave Friedman” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 17. Friedman is well known for his motorsport photography, especially for his time with Shelby American.

The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, celebrates its 10th anniversary in April and starting April 17 will expand its schedule to be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, plans its first cars and coffee cruise-in of the season from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. on April 18.

The Classic Car Collection in Kearney, Nebraska, opens its monthly Cruise ’N Coffee season from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on April 19.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, re-opens its Performance Gallery on April 22. The gallery closed on November 20 for “a much-needed refresh.” 

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia hosts the fourth annual Philadelphia Concours d’Elegance on April 24-25.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, hosts “Paint Me A Magic Bus” family activity from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on April 25. The program will feature a hands-on painting experience with Bob Hieronimus, artist for the original Woodstock “Light” VW bus. For details, visit the museum website.

The Spring Open House at the Lingenfelter Collection in Brighton, Michigan, is scheduled for April 25. Among the cars featured will be the 1954 Duntov “test mule,” the first Chevrolet Corvette with a V8 engine.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, opens two new exhibits on May 7 — “a hobby gone wild” no caps? and “Wingless Wonders: Propeller Vehicles That Never Took Off.”

The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, California, hosts its 8th annual vintage trailer show from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on June 20. New this year will be seminars and restoration tips from experts.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City opens its “Automania” exhibition on June 28. The display is scheduled to run through September 7.

The Mustang Owner’s Museum is located near Charlotte, North Carolina, but it will host its Mustang Stampede in the Midwest in mid-August. Dates are August 11-16 with events starting in Dayton, Ohio, and ending in Dearborn, Michigan. 

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email [email protected]

Larry Edsall
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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts