Friday, May 15, 2009

Coneheads in Canada

Museum docent Ron Allen and I went to Ontario Canada earlier this week to review, package and send home several of our Museum vehicles being restored outside of Toronto. On the last day of our stay we had a few hours before gettting on the plane and decided to visit the 'Canadian Automotive Museum' in Oshawa, Ontario. Now, I'm not quite sure how to describe the Museum building itself other than to say it is a historic building of original charm and character. They were likely quite limited in their lighting ability by the nature of the buildings' electrical system. But that being said, they have a very nice and unusual collection of vehicles - along with a funhouse mirror. :-)

Among their more unusual nameplates were -
1914 Galt - A gas/electric series hybrid that was designed concurrently with the (U.S.) Entz - the precursor to our Owen Magnetic.
1925 Brooks - A Steam powered vehicle modeled after the Stanley technology. The company turned out to be very short-lived, but their steamer unit was smartly packaged in a very stately, and large, vehicle.
1918 Chevrolet 490 - This typical Chevy was fitted with an unusual aftermarket snowmobile package that was far less sophisticated than our 'Snow Flyer' Model T - but very interesting to say the least.
One other namplate you won't typically find, outside of the Fountainhead Museum, was a 1911 Cartercar.

Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to fully appreciate and review the history of the vehicles on display. And I really could have spent alot more time admiring and photographing their very nice collection of Rolls'. I really was not expecting to see so many Pre-War Rolls Royce vehicles, not to mention an Isotta Fraschini, Bentley 3-litre, Hispano Suiza, Vauxhall, '08 De Dion Bouton and of course numerous rare 'Canadian Manaufactured' nameplates that you just don't see everyday.

And last but not least, honorable mention should be recognized for their 'Historical Spark Plug Display'. Now I should tell you (more like warn you) that we are working on a spark plug display of our own. Numerous people (to say the least) have been skeptical of how to make a spark plug display that is actually interesting and informative - and there has been not less than a few good jokes said about it. But the sparkplug display at the CAM was without question as elegant and informative as you will ever find. Ours won't be as elegant, but it will be 'interactive'. So if you're checking it out and Willy says, hold your hand right here while I give this generator a crank, you might want to pass on his offer.... :-)

Derik Price

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