Formally known as the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, Dr. Fred Simeone founded it using the historically significant race cars that he and his father had been collecting for decades. Many of their purchases were made decades ago when old racing cars were seen as worn out and without value. The museum is further set apart from others by their “Demo Days”, during which a small selection of machines, tied together by some central theme, is taken outside and driven around the large paved lot behind the museum. While no top speed runs are attempted, the driving is as spirited as conditions allow. Dr. Simeone, the hands-on collector that he is, uses these Demo Days to grab a microphone and speak to the cars’ histories.
My first visit to The Simeone, located in an industrial area not far from Philadelphia Airport, was in 2011. It was a Demo Day, and while the exact years and makes of the vehicles driven that day were not noted, I clearly recall the thrill of seeing and hearing older cars used as intended, rather than staring at them while they silently sat. (At a subsequent visit, I chuckled and nodded my head in agreement when I heard Dr. Simeone state, “A car that is not driven is a statue!”)
Of course, during any particular visit, most cars are on display inside, as reflected in these photos from that initial visit. I’m not the biggest automobile racing fan in the world, but it is moving to read about the historic accomplishments of these cars. If you have not visited the Simeone Museum, I strongly recommend it. If it’s at all possible to get there on a Demo Day (always Saturdays), all the better.
DEMO DAY DRIVE:
All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.