The Jim Taylor Car Collection Up For Auction

We were sworn to secrecy (sort of): during the AACA National held last year in Saratoga Springs, NY, attendees were offered the chance to tour a nearby private car collection. Upon arrival, our host, Jim Taylor, warmly invited us, but also cautioned us that while photographs were allowed, he did not want to see his name, face, location, and automotive particulars “splattered all over social media”. Taking his request literally, my posts from that event in June 2021 made no mention of the visit. Did my fellow visitors also comply? I have no idea, but I generally follow the rules when requested.

Jim Taylor greets his visitors

This was not my first visit to the Taylor Collection. While on the 2013 edition of the New England 1000 classic car rally with my rally brother Steve, we were granted access to the huge facility. At that time, there was no request to keep things quiet; perhaps social media’s outreach was not quite as far-reaching eight years prior.

In both instances, the impression left by visiting his four-wheeled treasures was the same: complete awe. Not only are the cars in immaculate condition; most of the collection is represented by sporting machinery of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, which strikes at the center of my own passion. Even so, the variety of cars cuts across numerous domestic and import brands, so no matter your taste, you’re sure to see at least one car that will make you smile.

I have broken Jim’s privacy request very simply because Jim himself has. In recent weeks I have received several emails letting it be known that he plans to auction off his entire collection. The auction will be conducted by Broad Arrow Auctions in October of this year. With the exception of Jim’s Jaguar D-Type, the collection will be offered at no reserve. Here’s some verbiage from the auction company’s website:

 

Broad Arrow Auctions, a Broad Arrow Group Company, is thrilled to announce the single owner offering auction of Mr. Jim Taylor, taking place this 14-15 October in his hometown of Gloversville, located a short distance from Albany, New York. The grouping of more than 120-motor cars represents one of the finest assemblages of European, British, and American sports and vintage cars including an impressive selection of Allard, Alvis, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Cunningham, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, and Shelby motor cars.

 

I don’t pretend to know Jim, but I met him and heard him speak at some length, both in 2013 and in 2021, and frankly, I’m surprised he’s doing this. Of course, one never knows another’s full personal situation. He’s had the chance to enjoy his cars over many years, and his family situation may warrant that a selloff now is better than one in the future.

Jim in his ‘lounge’ – he collects more than cars

Jim and his family have owned and operated Taylor Made Marine products for years. A quick Internet search revealed one change that occurred between my first and second visits: the company was bought out. Whether this has anything to do with the liquidation of the collector cars is not for me to guess. However, I assure you that based what I’ve seen and heard, these cars are pristine and are kept in top-notch mechanical shape too, so bidders, bid with confidence!

Below is an assortment of photos from my most recent visit in June 2021.

 

JAGUARS

Jaguars are obviously one of Jim’s favorite brands, as verified here by his collection of XK-120/140/150s, E-Types, and ’60s-era sedans.

 

 

ASTON MARTIN ZAGATO:
BUICK:

 

CHEVROLET CORVAIR STATION WAGON:

 

PRE-WAR ALFA ROMEO:
MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL ROADSTER:
FIRST- AND SECOND-GEN FORD GTs, BOTH IN GULF LIVERY:

VOLVO 544 AMONG BRITISH SPORTS CARS:

A FULL SERVICE SHOP IS ON THE PREMISES:

 

BUGATTI:

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

The Alfa Club Visits the Simeone Museum

Last week’s post covered my first visit to the Simeone Museum, which occurred in 2011. This post features a return visit, which happened on Saturday, February 12, 2022, as the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club organized a tour of the museum.

Each of us paid for our own admission, and once inside, Jim, a museum docent and our guide for the day, began the tour promptly at 10:30 as promised. He was extremely knowledgeable and more importantly, spoke enthusiastically about each vehicle, bringing the cars and their stories to life. Many of the cars in the Simeone Collection are singularly famous, having participated in or won racing events around the globe. As such, they are arranged by theme, typically displayed together based on the race track or racing event where they competed.

There were two other highlights for us: first, it was a Demo Day, and the museum had chosen four cars to take outside and buzz around the back lot. The weather was in our favor, as after a particularly long stretch of daytime temps barely breaking above the freezing mark, Saturday reached 60 F, albeit with a stiff breeze. I had every intention of including video of the Demo Day, however, all my attempts to capture the cars while in motion are unusable. While I am proud of some of my photographic efforts, my skills as a videographer are quite poor.

The cars that raced at LeMans

Secondly, a special exhibit of English sports cars, all of them in British Racing Green, graced the walkway just inside the entrance. One downside was the crowd: in addition to the 40+ Alfa Club members, a British car club was also on hand. This led our docent Jim to remark that in his 10 years with the museum, he had never seen it so crowded on a Saturday morning. The museum’s insistence on 100% compliance with mask wearing helped alleviate any fears one may have had regarding the close quarters.

The photos below represent just some of the museum’s highlights. I’ve tried to avoid too much repetition with last week’s post. While about 90% of the museum’s collection is the same as it has been since it opened 12 years ago, some vehicles have been added to the mix. Another change worth noting is that the Shelby Daytona Coupe, known by its chassis number (CSX2287), is the very first car admitted to the National Historic Vehicle Register, quite an achievement over and above its performance accomplishments.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
Blower Bentley detail

 

Weber carbs atop a Ferrari V12

 

The ‘British Racing Green’ Collection
1934 MG PA

 

1938 Jaguar SS100

 

1950 HRG 1500

 

 

1962 Triumph TR4

 

1966 Sunbeam Tiger

 

1965 Morgan +4

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

My First Visit to the Simeone Museum, 2011

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.

1929 Alfa Romeo 6C

 

1950 Allard J2

 

1937 Cord 812 Supercharged

 

Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe

 

1933 Alfa Romeo 8C

 

1933 Squire Roadster

 

1936 Aston Martin LeMans

 

1966 Ford GT40 Mk. II

 

1967 Ford Mk. IV

 

 

GAUGES:

 

DEMO DAY DRIVE:
Dr. Fred Simeone addresses the crowd

 

The 3 Demo Day cars

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

AACA NJ Region Summer Tour, 2021

The New Jersey Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) has had a long tradition of holding summer tours. A tour, as compared to a rally such as the New England 1000, is conducted under much more relaxed circumstances. Tours typically involve leisurely drives along country roads to visit local attractions. Tour participants have the option to caravan together or to follow their own timetables. Planned stops will include sights like museums, parks, and of course eateries. (Rallies require more spirited driving and may encompass TSD [time, speed, distance] measurements of your ‘performance’ versus your fellow competitors.)

Having never partaken of a NJ Regional tour before, and continuing with my pledge to make up for the lost year of 2020, I signed up for my Region’s summer tour, which was held from July 29 through August 2, 2021. A trend I’ve noticed in recent years with both tours and rallies has been to conduct them as “hub tours” or “hub rallies”, which is to say that participants stay at the same hotel for the duration (the hotel effectively operating as the hub), with daily drives heading out in different directions and returning to the same hub each evening. So it was with this event: the Hampton Inn in Sayre PA (a stone’s throw from the NY border) served as the hub hotel, while our daily drives took us into the Finger Lakes Region of NYS each day.

All of the planned visits in which I participated were non-automotive in nature. There were plenty of opportunities to indulge in the local culture, and the significant others who were along for the ride weren’t forced to endure only automotive-related attractions. This tour was museum-heavy, as we stopped at the Corning Glass Museum, the Rockwell Museum (also in Corning), the George Eastman House & Museum and the Strong Museum of Play (both in Rochester), and the Soaring Museum in Elmira. The Corning Glass Museum and Eastman Museum visits were the two I was most looking forward to; the Rockwell Museum (not Norman, but Bob and Hertha, local business owners who collected art and gifted it to the city), and the Soaring Museum (the history of soarers and gliders AKA wingless flight) were pleasant surprises. The Strong Museum was akin to an indoor amusement park overrun with youngsters, but others in the group found it enjoyable.

The weather was outstanding for all but one of the days we were in the area. Unfortunately, the one rainy day occurred on the same day as a planned boat ride on Lake Cayuga, which necessitated the cancellation of our water outing.

There were about 25 people on the tour, mostly Regional members; some folks brought along friends and family members, which was nice to see, and made for an even more diverse group. Of the approximately 12 couples that I counted, 6 drove modern iron, and 6 drove AACA-eligible cars. Excepting the 1930 Ford Model A driven by my friends Dick and Bobbi, the other AACA vehicles were all from the ‘80s and ‘90s, including my 1993 Miata (NOT the newest car on the tour!). A personal thrill was my first ride in a rumble seat, which was offered to me when Dick and Bobbi drove to dinner. (It was easy to get into and less easy to get out of; agility with one’s limbs is a helpful trait when entering and exiting such a conveyance.)

The tour ended on a Monday, and I skipped that morning’s visit to a windshield frame restoration shop as I needed to scoot home a bit early. Would I tour again? Most certainly I would. It’s an additional and wonderfully relaxing way to indulge in the hobby. I would wish for a slightly more varied lineup of activities (not everyone prefers five museum visits in 2.5 days), but having helped organize and having participated in dozens of one-day and multi-day tours, I have great appreciation for the amount of work involved in planning such ventures. The NJ Region put in significant effort to make the event as enjoyable as possible for all.

 

The Corning Museum of Glass parked this Chevy pickup in its lobby and filled its bed with flowers made of glass; the flowers were available in the gift shop.

 

This automotive-themed display is from the Corning Glass Museum

 

A room from the George Eastman House

 

An engine-powered plane takes off from the Soaring Museum’s runway

 

 

This ’30s-era GMC pickup from inside the Soaring museum was used as a tow vehicle to bring gliders up to speed. Its winch held a rope attached to the glider, and there was a mechanism to disconnect the rope from the plane. In the event that failed, the guillotine was deployed to sever the rope!

 

 

 

 

 

Bill’s 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier

 

Brian’s 1994 Pontiac Firebird

 

Richard’s 1993 Mazda Miata

 

Al’s 1986 Ford Mustang

 

Pete’s 1985 Olds Cutlass

 

Dick & Bobbi with their 1930 Ford Model A

 

Your author about to embark on his first rumble

 

The view from the back

 

 

And the view from the Miata (barn doors up)

 

All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

NJ AACA Spring Fling Tour, May 21, 2021

After attending exactly one car show during the entirety of 2020, I vowed to myself that 2021 would be different, and would include greater participation in driving events. My vow got off to a grand start when I participated in my first NJ Region AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) tour on Friday, May 21, 2021.

The Region has traditionally hosted a multi-day “Spring Fling” just prior to Memorial Day weekend. While previous years’ tours included overnight travel, this year’s Spring Fling, capably hosted by club member Bill Pritchett, saw the event broken into three separate one-day drives. Those who wished to join in the fun could drive one, two, or all three days. My schedule allowed me to participate only in the first day’s drive on Friday.

We convened at the Hampton Diner in Newton NJ, with breakfast an option for those who wished to partake. There appeared to be about 10 tour cars in the parking lot, ranging from a 1930 Model A Ford to a ’67 Camaro, an ‘80s Mustang, a 1978 Ford Granada, several Mercedes-Benz SL models, and my 1993 Miata. A brief driver’s meeting revealed that the day’s destination was the “MotorcyclePedia” motorcycle museum in Newburgh NY. Bill handed out turn-buy-turn directions and said that the drive, plotted to be scenic, would take about two hours. Most vehicles had two occupants, so those cars each had a driver and a navigator.  

M cars at the diner: Mustang, Model A, Miata
1978 Ford Granada
1967 Camaro
Mercedes-Benz 500 SL

We departed as planned at 10 a.m. and I, riding solo, was the last car out of the parking lot. It only took a few red traffic lights for me to become separated from the rest of the conga line, and I missed a turn or three. Before I knew it, I was well off the intended path. I pulled over, pulled out the phone, hit up Google maps, and ended up finding an equally scenic route which landed me at the museum about two minutes after the rest of the group pulled in. Everyone else stated that the directions were ‘easy’ so I’ll chalk up my misadventures to operator error.

Miata, Granada, and Camaro liven up MotorcyclePedia parking lot

Motorcycles are not my thing; however, the inside of this museum was gorgeous! The lighting was superb, the displays were creatively arranged, the bikes were spotless, and there was the perfect mix of mechanical intricacy and historical perspective throughout. Of special note: one entire room, about half the museum, was devoted to the history of Indian motorcycles (that’s a brand for those not in the know). Gazing at machinery from the first decade of the 20th century brought home the reminder that the first “motorcycles” were nothing more that “motorized bicycles”, with many of them still wearing a pedal-operated crank set and a human-powered chain powering the rear wheel.

1971 Olds Cutlass
A 60-year span of automotive history
This “A”, with modified engine, has no trouble cruising at highway speeds
Owner also has ’68 Mustang keeping company with this ’86

Several of us broke for lunch, and it was beyond wonderful to spend time in the company of fellow NJ AACA members again. The camaraderie returned almost instantly; it certainly did not feel like over a year since we had last spent time together in person. I headed home after lunch, while most of the rest of the group returned to the museum. If motorcycles or motorcycle history interests you, then “MotorcyclePedia” in Newburgh NY deserves to be on your itinerary. For me, I’m already signed up for the Region’s multi-day summer tour to be held in late July.

The MotorcyclePedia Museum

Since I didn’t document each motorcycle I photographed, and since I also know I have some blog readers who deeply enjoy motorcycles, I will post these photos without captions.

All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

2018 New England 1000 Rally, Summary Report

The 2018 edition of the New England 1000 rally was held during the week of May 21. The rally started and ended at our host hotel, the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, with additional overnight stays in Newport RI and Lenox MA. The group also visited Wayne Carini’s F40 Motorsports and Mystic Seaport.

In all, about 35 cars drove in the event (the number is estimated because first, not every car listed in the tour book showed up; and two, some of the cars spotted earlier in the week seemed to have dropped away by the end of the week). The oldest vehicular participant was a 1952 Cunningham convertible. Tied for newest set of wheels were a 2017 Audi R8 and 2017 Porsche 911.

For rally co-driver and co-navigator Steve Hansen and me, this year was a double-milestone: it was our tenth NE1000 (although not all 10 were driven with each other), and it was the 20th anniversary of our first such rally in 1998. We both recall that during our initial drive to Freeport ME in Steve’s Tiger, we pondered what other vehicles might be joining us. Instead of the resto-modded Camaros and slightly rusty Chargers we envisioned, the first car spotted in the hotel lot was a white four-door Bugatti. We instantly knew we were in for something special.

Rallyist extraordinaire Steve H behind the wheel

This year’s rally was different in several ways:

  • The semi-official featured marque was Cunningham. The realized dream of Briggs Cunningham, a total of 25 road cars were manufactured. Four were scheduled to run the rally, but only three actually did so. It was a rare thrill to see three in the same place at the same time, and even more rare and thrilling to hear them run and watch them move.
  • For the first time in our experience, one of the four “rally days” consisted of no driving events. Tuesday was spent in Newport RI; participants were given the option to ride on an America’s Cup yacht, visit an automobile museum or two, and/or tour the “cottages”, as Newport’s mansions are euphemistically called.
  • Also for the first time, there were no optional driving events, such as hillclimbs, gymkhanas, or drag races. In large part due to only three days of touring, we drove slightly less than our usual 1,000 miles. As per the tour book, the mileage total for the week was 837.

Those of you in the Northeast know all too well what disappointing spring weather we’ve had. Things were no better as we departed Neshanic Station on Saturday. We drove in a near-steady rain on Saturday afternoon, the trip made more bearable only by its brevity (Mohonk is just two hours away). Sunday dawned damp and cloudy, but by that afternoon, we saw the sun, and except for some sprinkles on Tuesday evening, we were spared further precipitation.

Our steed, my 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior, was in its fourth (2013, 2014, 2015, 2018) NE1000. Its performance was almost flawless. Tuesday morning, intending to drive into town, the car would not crank. The battery was drained, but the car instantly roared to life with a jump start. With the help of Peter and Keith from RPM (thanks guys!), we determined that the alternator was intermittently charging. It’s very likely that the Saturday drive, with lights and wipers on the entire time, helped accelerate the battery’s depletion.

The local NAPA store, in exchange for some credit card info from me, donated a new battery, and our starting problems were solved for now. From my phone, I ordered a replacement alternator from my preferred supplier, Classic Alfa in the UK. The alternator was on my front porch on Thursday afternoon, a day before we arrived home. How’s that for service?

Participation in multiple events has taught me that rally photography is a tricky proposition. Once the driving starts, opportunities for the camera can be few and far between; after all, I’m either driving or navigating. Below is a sampling of pictures, organized roughly chronologically by location. Please note that all these photos are different from the “Photo Gallery” pictures posted last week. Enjoy the shots!


ARRIVAL, SATURDAY & SUNDAY

Although the official festivities begin on Sunday afternoon, many participants (including us) arrive on Saturday to feel less rushed as we perform any final car prep. Here are some of the cars as they arrived in a lot set aside for the rally participants.

Lamborghini Miura

 

The ceremonial mounting of the rally plate


SUNDAY CONCOURS

Every year, the rally events begin with an informal “concours” on the hotel property, done as much for the owners to show off as to present our wares to the hotel guests and public. At Mohonk, we were crowded onto a narrow walkway.


F40 MOTORSPORTS VISIT

On Monday, we made a scheduled stop at F40 Motorsports, the home of Chasing Classic Cars starring Wayne Carini. Mr. Carini was on the premises, and gave a short informal presentation. Better still, he led us into the back shop where many treasures are hidden away. He was warm, gracious, humble, and obviously a very knowledgeable enthusiast.


THE AUDRAIN MUSEUM

On Tuesday’s “open” day in Newport, we had every intention of visiting two of the local car museums. Our battery issue, while fortuitously falling on the non-driving day, shortened our available time. We were only able to get to the Audrain Auto Museum, located in downtown Newport. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece. The smallish display area featured American muscle.


MYSTIC SEAPORT

Wednesday found us in Mystic CT, with about 2 hours to kill at the Mystic Seaport Museum before our scheduled lunch. As lunch ended, the parking lot served as an ideal staging area for our departure, and was also a great photo op.


THE RALLY ENDS

By Thursday, everyone feels a sense of accomplishment at just having driven the roads. That evening’s banquet dinner will reveal the final score, including how many teams “zeroed out” (this year, only one). As the cars arrived back at Mohonk, they were prepped to be either driven or shipped out on Friday morning.

All photographs copyright © 2018 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

The Alfa Returns From Its Stay At the AACA Museum

The AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) Museum in Hershey PA has both permanent and temporary automotive exhibits. In November of 2016, a 5-month long show was launched there, entitled Amore della Strada (“Love of the Road”), a tribute to Italian machinery of both the 4-wheel and 2-wheel varieties.

I was humbled to have my 1967 Alfa Romeo chosen as one of only about 20 cars for the exhibit. Aside from the honor of having your vehicle on display for the public to admire, there are the logistical challenges of getting the car there, and getting the car home. All transportation arrangements are the sole responsibility of the vehicle owner.

The Alfa poses in front of its temporary home.

Bringing the car to them was easy, because my wife and I decided to spend the weekend in Hershey. The Alfa made the trek without incident (with the driver thankful that there was no early snow). My wife followed in her modern iron, so getting home was simple.

I knew from the start that the museum exhibit was scheduled to end the same April weekend as Spring Carlisle. My good friend Larry and I made plans to attend the Carlisle show together, and he generously offered to pick me up at my house, drive me to Carlisle, then drive me to the Museum. There had been previous email exchanges with museum staff that I would show up sometime on Friday to get the car.

Larry’s such a good friend that he stuck around to make sure my departure was OK.

Upon arrival, there was one hitch: my car’s battery, which the museum had assured me would be charged up, was not. When I sat in the car to crank the engine, the revolutions were so slow that you could count them. A 12V powerpack was brought to the scene, and the Alfa started right up. Any concerns about re-starting were alleviated when I turned off the car, and it immediately cranked back to life.

Day #2 of the Carlisle Auction was in action on Friday, and I wanted to be there. I drove to the showfield, and parked in a private driveway (five bucks, thanks Rita!) arranged by another good friend, Rich S. Then, back to my hotel Friday night, with the Alfa safely tucked behind the building.

Saturday morning, up bright and early, and I was on the road again in the little Alfa. Traffic was surprisingly heavy along Routes 81 and 78, but I’ve learned to stick to the right lane and stay out of the way. At 155 inches and 2,000 pounds, my 1300 Junior would be flicked off the road like a pesky bug should an SUV or 18-wheeler make an errant maneuver.

I-78 eastbound, somewhere in PA. At 70 mph in 5th, engine is turning just under 4k.

The car ran beautifully the entire way home. One hundred and thirty-four miles later, it was back in the garage that the car hadn’t seen since November of last year. Once some basic maintenance is attended to, we can start with the first of a number of events which have been scheduled for the car this year.

Back home, safe and sound

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

A Late Winter Visit To the AACA Museum

A 1958 Chevrolet Impala “on Route 66” inside the AACA Museum

 

On March 18, 2017, seven intrepid souls, expecting a delightful early spring day, ventured instead into the dreary dampness to visit the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) Museum in Hershey PA.

One of our rides for the day

The trip was planned weeks ago as a “rain or shine” event, and our travels were assuaged by riding in modern chariots, that is, two brand new Volvo XC90 SUVs. After an obligatory Dunkin’ Donuts stop, we were at the Museum by 11 a.m. Once there, Museum employees informed us that the basement had been emptied of many of its cars in preparation for an afternoon private event, so the daily admission fee was discounted. (AACA members are granted free entry.) But with the main floor fully stocked, there was plenty to see.

Hybrids are allowed to park up front, and recharge for free at the same time

In addition to the permanent exhibits, two temporary exhibits were in the house. “Amore della Strade” features cars and motorcycles of Italian heritage, and “Mopar Midsize Muscle” delivers big block excitement from the Chrysler Corporation.

A 1967 Plymouth GTX

Certainly, the most extraordinary permanent display is the “Cammack Collection”, a grand showing of Tucker automobiles, engines, artifacts, and history. The late David Cammack had begun collecting all things Tucker in the early 1970s. Before his passing in 2013, he willed his entire collection to the AACA Museum. The Museum in turn has done a marvelous job in setting up an interactive display to teach the public about this enigmatic automobile.

A Tucker in front of a reproduction Tucker dealership

Three hours or so after entering, we were on our way out. More importantly, we were hungry, and our stop at The Manor Restaurant & Bar up the street (thanks, Ted!) satisfied everyone’s hunger and thirst. To cap off a wonderful day, in spite of the cold, we made it (almost) all the way back without hitting any of the promised rain and snow. We each declared the day a success, and promised to make return visits.

 

Some of the oldest cars on display; the vehicles are arranged by decade

 

A 1932 Studebaker

 

The Italian motorcycles were in their own display room

 

Several of our group stand near the author’s ’67 Alfa, on loan as part of the Italian car display

 

The Tucker exhibit includes prototype engines against a photo of the engine manufacturing plant

 

Colleagues pose next to one of three Tuckers in the museum (out of 51 built)

 

 

First- and second-generation Dodge Chargers

 

1970 Dodge Charger

 

The basement includes buses and a reproduction 1950’s diner

 

A mid-60s Corvette is the centerpiece display of numerous Chevrolets

 

A wall mural pays tribute to Milton Hershey, whose businesses still dominate his namesake town

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

An Unplanned Visit to “Cadillac House”

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were in downtown Manhattan, where we spent a pleasant afternoon at the new Whitney Museum. Our trip into New York County was via the Staten Island Ferry, and while we had taken a taxi from the ferry terminal to the museum, the afternoon weather was pleasant enough for us to make the return trip to the terminal on foot.

Much of our walk took us south on Hudson St., through the West Village and SoHo. These areas are full of trendy bars, coffee shops, and galleries, and autumn’s Sunday warmth had lots of people out and about.

 

Just about the last brand name I expected to see in SoHo
Just about the last brand name I expected to see on a building in SoHo

 

I’ll be the first to tell you that my eyesight isn’t that great … except when it comes to spotting cars. A few blocks past Houston St., in the glass window of a building across the street from where I stood, was the unmistakable chrome face of a 1958 Cadillac. “Wait, wait”, I yelled to my wife, whom I knew would have no choice but to follow me. “What is this place? Wait, the Cadillac emblem is on the front of the building!”

 

The view that first caught my eye
The view that first caught my eye

 

My wife went in first; I wasn’t even sure they were open. But sure enough, they were. We scooted past two young adults who were building some kind of display, and entered the first floor ‘showroom’, all glass and mirrors and chrome. Oh, and several Caddies from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

 

Public area on first floor is all hard surfaces
Public area on first floor is all hard surfaces

 

We wandered around a bit. There was a hipster coffee bar, and a small clothing boutique in the rear. A large placard gave details about an upcoming Andy Warhol exhibit. The space is open seven days a week, and “hanging out” is encouraged.

 

Sit, stay a while, enjoy the views
Sit, stay a while, enjoy the views

 

Cadillac + Andy Warhol - who knew?
Cadillac + Andy Warhol = who knew?

 

We didn’t stay long, and on the way out, I asked the young woman at the desk if this was in fact Cadillac’s headquarters. “Oh yes” she exclaimed enthusiastically. “All the upper floors are where all the offices are. We like it here, because this is a great neighborhood.”

 

Fun with mirrors, part 1
Fun with mirrors, part 1

 

Fun with mirrors, part 2
Fun with mirrors, part 2

 

The Cadillac brand, in an attempt to establish independence from its General Motors parent, moved its national operation to New York in 2015. This is all part of brand chief Johan de Nysschen’s grand plan to take the luxury car maker upscale.

 

Say "tailfins", and most will conjure up an image of the '59 Cadillac
Say “tailfins”, and most will conjure up an image of the ’59 Cadillac

 

My presumption had been that their offices would be somewhere in Midtown: perhaps near Bloomingdale’s (and Trump Tower), or maybe around the corner from Rockefeller Center. So Johan wants to be where the young trendsetters are. Hasn’t this been tried before?

 

1963 Cadillac, in black, natch
1963 Cadillac, in black, natch

 

I had one more question for our hostess: “Where are the new cars?” She said that they had all been moved out in preparation for the Warhol event. For now, these behemoths from Cadillac’s heyday had the floor to themselves. Here’s hoping that Cadillac finds its muse somewhere in lower Manhattan.

 

The organic coffee sign symbolizes the distance between this '58 and its trendy surrounds
The organic coffee sign symbolizes the distance between this ’58 and its trendy surrounds

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.