Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Wheels Arrive

by Nancy DeWitt

Christmas came early to the museum this year. Yesterday the BATS Motorsports truck rolled in from its trip up the Alaska Highway, and I always think of Santa's sleigh when that big rig arrives. We knew it was carrying two new cars for the museum; what we didn't expect was the other cargo tucked inside.

First off the truck was our 1917 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4. I had been told by many how big this car! Pictures don't really do it justice, but keep in mind the guy on the left is 6'4" (in fact, all those guys look like Hobbits next to that car). The top is around 7' high, so your head isn't much lower than that when seated in this big beauty.

A few other big things about this car: its tires are 4' in diameter, the wheelbase is 147.5" and the 6-cylinder engine displaces a whopping 825 cubic inches! Despite its massive size, the car is very elegant--especially the interior.

Our 1907 White Steamer Model G also made the trip north. She's a tall car too, although it's not as evident without her windshield & top installed. The big radiator on the front is actually the condenser. It cools and condenses the exhaust steam back into water, then returns it to the water tank for re-use. This allows the car to travel further on a tank of water than a non-condensing steam car such as our 1910 Stanley. 

And for our added viewing pleasure, we got to see a special car that's made the news lately. A couple from Wasilla, Alaska recently converted a pickup truck into a giant Radio Flyer wagon. It's awesome! It even has a big tow handle that attaches to the front, although that had been removed for the trip. You can read more about the car and see additional photos here.

Many thanks to the volunteers who helped us unload the cars. We plan to move the White Steamer and Pierce-Arrow on to the museum floor by Sunday. Hope you can all come see them!

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