It’s ‘Metal to the Pedal’ with pedal-car exhibit at Wichita museum

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes

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Ah, those were the days | Bob Guenthner / Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum photos

“Metal to the Pedal” may sound like someone got it backward, but that’s the title of a newly opened exhibit showcasing 50 years of American pedal cars at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum in Kansas.

The cars are from the collection of Wichita resident Bob Guenthner and will be on display through June 2021.

The museum set attendance records in 1996 when Guenthner shared some of his pedal cars under the exhibit banner “Tod Rods.” The new showcase includes 45 of his foot-powered vehicles, this time focused more on vintage vehicles.

Guenthner told the Wichita Eagle that he’s shifted his pursuit more toward pedal cars from the 1920s and ‘30s, in part because of their style and in part because he now can afford some of them.

Pedal-car collector Bob Guenthner and some of his cars in the museum display

“In the 1960s, pedal cars became pretty small, pretty plain and there wasn’t really much to like about them except they gave kids something to ride in,” Guenthner told the newspaper. 

“But as you go back through the years from there, particularly into the 1930s and the 1920s, you see much larger, much fancier cars that copied the features of full size cars – rear view mirrors, horns, speedometers, working headlights and handbrakes. That’s really what makes them fascinating.”

Highlights of the museum display include a 1927 American National Alemite Packard 6 believed to be the only one still in original condition, and with its working grease gun; a 1931 Gendron Packard 6-wheel car; a 1934 American National truck that converts into a dump truck, fire truck, wrecker, delivery truck or army field ambulance; and a cherry-red 1967 Ford Mustang.

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Porsches at the Petersen

Even though it remains closed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles not only pulled off its virtual Car Week during what otherwise would have been Monterey Car Week, but it is working on a new exhibit to showcase when the museum is allowed to reopen its doors.

“Redefining Performance” is the title of the exhibit that will feature three Porsches, which the museum terms “pivotal historic vehicles.” 

Presented in cooperation with the Porsche Club of America, the display will include a 1951 Porsche 356 SL Gmund coupe, the 1979 Porsche 935 Kremer K3, and a Porsche RSR. 

Vauxhall Heritage sets first public exhibition

Vauxhall XVR concept among cars to be on display | Vauxhall photo

For the first time in its 72-year history, Vauxhall Heritage, the British automaker’s private car collection, will put a group of its cars on public display, starting September 5.  Eleven of the “most iconic” Vauxhalls produced in the company’s 115-year history will be showcased at the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton, England. 

The facility is open Thursday through Sunday each week and admission is free.

Ten cars will be on display through Easter 2021, with a select 11th car joining the display for one month each. 

For more information, visit the Luton Culture Trust website.

BMW Museum extends ‘Escape’ exhibit

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the “Day of German Unity” on October 3, the BMW Museum in Munich announced that it will extend its “With the Isetta in Liberty” exhibit through the end of the year. The exhibit tells the story of how people used a BMW Isetta to escape East Germany during the Cold War era.

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Grillin’ & Chillin’ at the AACA Museum

Although “Fall Hershey” has been smacked by the coronavirus pandemic, the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will stage a socially distanced, one-day car show on October 10. 

The previous evening, the museum will be open and will offer “Grillin’ & Chillin,” with C&J Catering doing a BBQ dinner.

Special events this weekend

With the 2020 Indianapolis 500 closed to spectators, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum also will be closed on days that have on-track activity, including August 21-23. 

The National Corvette Museum hosts the East Coast Rat Fink Reunion August 20-22 in conjunction with the museum’s “Cartoon Creatures, Kustom Kars and Corvettes: The Art and Influence of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth” exhibition, which has been extended through April 2021.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers “The Corvette Experience” August 23. For $799, visitors can drive a new C8-generation Corvette Stingray Z51 around the 3.2-mile, 23-turn road course. It’s a lead-follow format that includes classroom instruction, track time, lunch and a museum tour. You must be 18 years of age or older to participate. The program also will be offered September 3, 10 and 18, October 9 and 16 and November 13. For information, visit the NCM Motorsports Park website.

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon hosts the Old Ford Rally on August 23, but the Buses Festival planned for that same date has been postponed.

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The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, England, hosts its “Simply Mercedes” car show on August 23.

Mark your calendar

The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, opens the third installment of its “South Bend: Then and Now” photographic exhibition on August 29. The “then” photos on display cover 1895 through the 1940s. The exhibit is scheduled to run through January 23, 2021.

The Porsche Club of America’s Northeast Region gathers for a show August 30 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island.

The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, England, hosts its “Simply Aston Martin” car show on August 30.

The National Corvette Museum stages its 26th anniversary celebration September 2-5. 

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has added a 15th event to its “Simply” car show lineup with “Simply French” schedule for September 6.

The Mustang Owners Museum in Concord, North Carolina, is organizing The Carolina Cruise, an inaugural event, on September 5, when a 14-mile stretch of Highway 29 will become the site of a rolling car show.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens two new exhibits on September 12 — “Yeah, It’s Got a Hemi!” and “Minibike Mania.”

The Miles Through Time museum in Clarkesville, Georgia, plans a “Cruise-In to the Museum” from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on September 12.

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

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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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