Thursday, December 31, 2009
Stay tuned to this blog for an exciting announcement about a VERY special car that we are planning to exhibit starting in 2010. We also plan on showing off some new arrivals, finishing more of our exhibit panels, rotating some beautiful new vintage outfits out onto the floor, developing some fun hands-on displays, and hosting a very exciting old-car event at Wedgewood Resort next year. If you love old cars and have always wanted to travel (or return) to Alaska, 2010 would be an excellent year to do so (helpful hint: check out the low introductory airfares to Fairbanks on Frontier Airlines that start in May)!
If you have ideas or suggestions for our museum, please let us know. We hope to see you all in 2010!
Have a happy new year,
The Pit Crew
Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
P.S. Check out our more recent blog post about Fordson Snow Motors at http://fountainheadauto.blogspot.com/2010/02/more-snow-motors.html
2/23/10 Update: We just bought a Fordson tractor, so now we have some missing parts to get this Snow Motor running.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This month you can sneak a free peek at this lovely sleigh in the Wedgewood Resort Visitor Center. Keep in mind, though, that Santa has reserved it for Christmas Eve!
Friday, December 4, 2009
While we continue to work on the Stevens-Duryea I thought I'd post a quick update on the progress made on our 1921 Heine-velox. A link to our last Heine update can be found here -
Right now we're going through the decision process of what color to paint the vehicle.
In describing the development of the Heine-Velox automobile, the company issued this statement -
"Heine Velox Motorcars in Beauty have been pronounced the CLASSIC CREATION of the century. The object of constructing this car was to manufacture an automobile superior to anything that had ever been built, about twenty years of thought and experimental work was carried on before the first model was completed." It goes on to list 13 features which were highly advanced for the day and some even revolutionary. We probably won't get to see the Heine here in Fairbanks until the end of Summer, 2010. But keep an eye out here on the blog for updates. We'll plan to post another once it get's painted.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Willy and I uncrated the Stevens this afternoon. As anticipated, it was a couple hours and a whopping big mess to remove the foam. We anticipated some foam blocking and cushioning, what we received was a completely encapsulated vehicle! Which was a good thing, really, because it was a long trip up for a very old original car. So this picture doesn't look too bad until you see the scale of it....
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I just wanted to give a quick update about the vehicles we received in Fairbanks today! Three vehicles and a host of Museum items arrived in one 40' connex. Included were a 1934 American Austin, 1898 Hay & Hotchkiss, 1904 Stevens-Duryea and several bicycles (including a bone shaker!)
Sorry the photo quality is so lousy but here's the 1898 Hay & Hotchkiss. Aside from it's stunning combination of deep burgany paint and polished copper, this vehicle is truly one of a kind, and a remarkable addition to the Museum. The engine was referred to as the "Hay frictionless gasolene (sic) Motor." It is an 8 cycle, horizontally opposed 4 cylinder that produces 5 hp. It was also touted as not requiring oil or water to run. It is the oldest know surviving 4 cylinder American made vehicle.
This car is just too cute. Started in 1929, the American Austin company produced these miniscule vehicles in hopes that due to the Depression Americans might buy small cars. And these vehicles are SMALL - 16 inches narrower and 28 inches shorter than any other car in American at the time. It has a 45 cubic inch 4 cyl. engine and guaranteed 40 mpg. Unfortunately the vehicles were simply not taken seriously, and were considered just a novelty.
Well ok, the packing crate is all we get see today. This vehicle was purchased from it's original owner in 1932 by Charles Duryea, the brother of Frank Duryea, and donated to the Museum of Science and Industry. It is complete and in all original condition. This is a true time warp vehicle and we look forward to opening it up in the next few days. Due to it's 105 year old, original, paint and wood bodywork this vehicle was crated and 'foamed in place' for it's trip to Alaska. We also shipped it up in stages and will allow it to warm up to 'room' temperature slowly before we open it. I anticipate a long, messy, unpaking process but the results should be well worth it.
We wish to thank Horizon Lines and Weaver Brothers for accommodating our special transport needs on this shipment!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Particular care was given to the finish of Moline-Knight bodies, which were as smooth as glass and as lustrous as a mirror. Repeated coats of elastic varnish made of pure oils, japans and imported gums were applied. Each coat was given ample time to dry and then rubbed down with the finest sandpaper, curled hair, pumice stone or steel wool before the next coat was applied. As a result, the paint would not crack or flake due to expansion or contraction of the metal.
This is a beautiful car and we'd like to acknowledge Murray Motor Car for doing such a great job with the restoration work. We hope you'll come see our Moline-Knight soon! We're open every Sunday from noon to 6 pm.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
It was great to have a crowd of new visitors in the building. Many Fairbanksans have no idea just how nice the museum is and it's fun to see their jaws drop as they wander past the cars. Alas, only a few folks were brave enough to throw on some dusters and climb into the 1911 Everitt for a photo (Dennis tried to wear a lady's hat but we wouldn't let him).
Kudos to the folks with IBA and many, many thanks to our awesome docents!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We should be ready to install the engine back in the Pierce-Arrow in the next couple weeks, so keep watching for that event.
Willy and Devon
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
A quick background on Traction Engines -
Traction engines, also known as road locomotives, were the predecessors to today's modern farm tractors. These self-propelled steam engines were used to move heavy loads, or serve as power plants for threshing and other farm duties. They were also used in Alaska to power conveyors and other mining support functions, as well as Lumber and Timber cutting.
This particular machine was produced in Battle Creek Michigan in 1910. The Advance Thresher Company sold more than 12,000 steam traction engines between 1881 and 1911, when they were acquired by the M. Rumely Company. The reorganized company continued to make traction engines until 1917.
Height - 130"
Length - 220"
Weight - A lot!
Two questions for our readers: Does anyone know how much this engine weighs? (we do have the big smokestack and bell for it.) Also, does anyone have any history on this engine?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Apparently there are some very rare and funky plugs in that case. Willy helped me identify most of the them yesterday but these three stumped us. Is there a spark plug expert out there that recognizes any of these? Willy has added some comments. You can click on each photo for an enlarged view.
The last plug has no markings except for the number 3 that you see here.
If I could just get Nancy to experiment with the magneto set up in the shop, I think we could get her fired up about spark plugs......
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The Hay's last owner, Ambassador William Middendorf II, had Sean Brayton and Peter Pitcher begin what would turn into a very lengthy restoration of this unusual little car. This is the only Hay Motor Vehicle ever made, as the car never made it into production. This is likely due to the 4-cylinder, 8-cycle engine's odd design: Walter Hay claimed that no oil or water was needed to run it, "the motor simply running a trifle harder when no oil is used"!
The 8 cycles of the engine gave two full revolutions to clean and cool the cylinders, giving it a pure mixture of fuel and air for complete combustion and obviate exhaust odor. The governing of the engine is done by holding the exhaust valves open and thus the admission valves are also open, so only air is exchanged. The cutout is done on opposite sides of the engine, and power requirements will cause the engine to fire as needed. Willy's opinion is that this engine would never run very well, due to its design and complicated nature. He spent a couple days with Sean Brayton of Red Star Restoration playing with this engine and it will run, but you probably won't see him taking any trips down the Parks Highway in it!
As best we know, our Hay is the earliest American four-cylinder gasoline-powered automobile still in existence. Sean just finished a complete restoration on it, and the car is now on its way to Alaska. We're pleased that the Hay was able to be shown in its birthplace of New Haven (pictured here) before beginning its voyage north. It is a striking vehicle, and you will enjoy seeing it when you come to visit.
Willy and Nancy
Thursday, November 5, 2009
At right is Carolyn Mustard, working on the upholstery of our 1928 Pierce Arrow Series 81. We are doing a complete reupholstering of the car with the correct leather and patterns. You might have noticed that it is missing the engine, transmission as well as the steering. We are doing a freshening of all the mechanical components on this car and will be able to put it back into like new driving condition.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I next visited the J.A. Cooley Museum, billed as "San Diego's Most Unique Collection of Antiques & Automobiles." You won't find a website for this place, and it doesn't look like much from the outside. However, Mr. Cooley and his wife, Carmen, have some great cars on display, including the only Hunt Special ever made, a 1900 Crest, 1912 Cartercar (pictured below), 1914 Woods Mobilette almost identical to ours, and a 1933 Olympic. While the Cooleys own over 170 cars, only about 20 are on display at a time.
The Cooley museum is also full of other neat antiques, including huge collections of old clocks, model trains, typewriters, cameras and the most impressive assemblage of phonographs I've ever seen. Be sure to ask James to fire up one of the wax cylinder players if you visit, and budget some time to sit and visit with him. He's a very interesting guy. The museum is located at 4233 Park Blvd., which is only a few miles from the San Diego Automotive Museum.
Now I'm back in Fairbanks, where it's 80 degrees colder than where I was 24 hours ago. Despite the chill and all the great cars in southern California, I'm happy to be back at our museum!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Mike has lovingly restored his Rochester and tricked it out to make it operable on today's streets. A good thing, since he fires it up every two weeks or so to take it out for a long drive. Following a lot of coaxing, Mike got the little car running. After giving me a ride through his neighborhood, I then got to take the tiller--what a hoot it is to drive what feels like a tall, rickety wheelchair! Watching Mike "blow off steam" after the ride was pretty entertaining, too. Many thanks to Mike for such a fun afternoon, and for generously donating a working engine from a 1900 Milwaukee steam car to our museum. It will be a great addition to our engine exhibit.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I stopped by the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, CA today to drop off some of our museum's brochures and to say hi to Skip Marketti, the curator. Skip, who has directed the Blackhawk Collection and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, also worked for Harrah's years ago and actually helped with the Gold Star restoration of our 1906 Compound. Skip and his staff were very helpful a year ago when I visited their museum's library to do research on some of our more obscure cars. He also gave me a private tour of their restoration shops and a peek at the Grand Salon across the street from the museum.
Call me a traitor, but I keep finding myself drawn to outrageously valuable foreign cars. First the Delahaye at Dragone's in CT, and now the Nethercutt's 1937 Talbot Lago T150 C-SS Sport Coupe. This beauty, which has won many Concours awards, is apparently the only "Tear Drop" with front fender skirts left. It carries a HEMI 6-cylinder engine displacing 255.3 cu. in. and packing 140 HP. Skip is now my best friend for letting me sit in this car, which once belonged to an Indian Maharaja's wife.
If you find yourself in the L.A. area, definitely swing up to the Nethercutt Museum. They have a great collection of gorgeous, mostly pre-war cars. Just be sure to schedule your visit when they are giving tours of the Nethercutt Collection (more cars!) across the street.
I'm off to see another fun collection tomorrow. I wonder which car will become my new favorite?Nancy
Monday, October 19, 2009
Since I'm the sales person for Fountainhead-I have to say that if you want a really memorable reception-have it at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum!
the museum in the past month: an 1899 Hertel runabout, a 1907 Cartercar Model A touring, and a 1927 Stutz Blackhawk boat-tailed speedster. Each is a VERY interesting and unique car.
The Hertel pictured here was made by the Oakman motorcar company and is sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as an Oakman. If you look closely you'll see that it is essentially a body and motor perched between two bicycle frames. The 3 HP engine drives friction pulleys which rotate against the inner rims on the inside of each rear wheel. Rumor has it that there are three Hertels still in existence, but I have only been able to locate one other (an 1898 runabout in Sweden).
As for what makes the Cartercar and Stutz unique--well, you'll just have to come to the museum and see for yourself. I guarantee that the Blackhawk will make your jaw drop!