Thursday, June 28, 2012

Midnight Sun Car Show

by Nancy DeWitt

Although we call our big biennial event the Midnight Sun Cruise-In, the mid-day sun stole the show in Fairbanks on June 23. What a glorious day for a car show! The beautiful grounds at Wedgewood Resort made for a perfect venue to display and admire the vehicles, and for their owners to set up chairs and tents on the lawns. Many thanks to all who brought cars, especially those traveling here from Anchorage, Wasilla and other points south.

Despite what we consider a hot day for Fairbanks (82ยบ F), thousands of people turned out to see the cars, ride in the hay wagon and see our steam and electric car demos. Alas, the Stanley Steamer didn't cooperate but the electric cars were a hit. Perhaps the biggest draw of all was Fred Keller & Judy Foster's Radio Flyer wagon-car, pictured here as they headed out on one of two tours during the Cruise-In.

The People's Choice Award winners were:
Best 1950s - 1955 Cadillac Coupe DeVille (Cindy Helms). Runner up - 1955 Plymouth Belvedere (Scott & Linda Grundy)
Best Vintage - 1936 Packard 120B Coupe (Rod & Birgit Benson). Runner-up - 1930 Willy-Knight 66B (Scott & Donna Culbertson)
Best Classic - 1961 Chevy Impala (Chad Young). Runner-up - 1973 Dodge Challenger (Bret & Cindy Helms)
Best Hot Rod - 1934 Ford Cabriolet (Al & Ruth Haynes). Runner-up - 1949 Buick Super (K.B. Bettisworth)
Best Misc - Radio Flyer Wagon (Fred Keller & Judy Foster). Runner-up - 1942 Dodge W-53 Carryall (Cary & Ruth Meier)
Best Motorcycle - 1979 Harley-Davidson Chopper (Brent Helms). Runner-up - 1977 Honda CB75OF (Art Casserberg & Marijo Beaird)

If we had given out a "Best Rumbledog" award, this one would have gotten my vote. Kudos to the Vernon L. Nash Antique Car Club for putting on such a fine show, and for all the docents who helped with the scavenger hunt and record-breaking crowd inside the museum that day.

For more photos from the Cruise-In, click here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

1933 Hupmobile: A Fish Story

by Ethan Lundy

This 1933 Huppmobile Victoria coupe is one of our "newer" cars here at Fountainhead Antique Automotive Museum. This gorgeous car is quite spectacular and has an interesting paint history. Hupmobiles of this era were among the first with metallic paints. In the 1930s the metallic sparkle was achieved by adding fish scales to the paint. Apparently, fish scales prevented the newly sprayed paint from running. Our Hupp was more recently painted with modern metallic flake

I was excited to have the opportunity to work on this car. Its new running boards were recently refinished, and we had to make rubber spacers to put between the end pieces and fenders.

The sloped roof, new running boards, stylish fenders and suicide doors really give this car an old-time "Gangster" look that I find appealing. We hope you can come see this beautiful car on display.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beetle Mania

by Nancy DeWitt

We just put one of our most unusual fashion pieces on display. This opera coat from around 1925 is decorated with wing cases from beetles! Like fur and feathers, beetles have been used as natural jewels and decorative objects for centuries.

The use of jewel beetles for personal adornment occurred throughout the world in places such as India, Thailand, Australia, Central America, the West Indies and ancient Egypt. Women in Victorian England especially loved to wear dresses, shawls, and fans embellished with glittering touches of the “exotic” from the Empire's far-flung lands. In addition to adorning their hats with beautiful feathers and even whole birds from other countries, many women wore jewelry that incorporated entire beetle bodies. Victorian ladies on the cutting edge of fashion even wore live jewel beetles tethered to their clothing by tiny golden chains, or decorated their hairdos with live fireflies!

A beetle's wing cases protect their fragile flight wings and also provided aerodynamic lift when held open. Called elytra, these were harvested by the millions in the hardwood forests of Burma where the beetles swarmed, mated and then died.

The brilliant metallic coloration you see in the elytra sewn onto the coat is not from pigment, but instead is caused by the microscopic texture of the exoskeleton. Multiple layers of cuticle in the elytra have minute spacings that allow light waves to reinforce, weaken, or eliminate each other. This phenomenon is called interference. The iridescence of the beetle wings is not easily replicated, and their seemingly magical coloration explains our centuries-old fascination with this most unusual natural jewel.

The most famous beetle-adorned garment is the recently restored dress that was worn by actress Ellen Terry in the 1888 production of Macbeth. Two more examples can be seen here, along with Charlize Theron's dress in "Snow White and the Huntsman". You can see our cloak on display next to our 1921 Heine-Velox.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Intern on the Crew

Welcome Ethan Lundy to the museum crew. Ethan is a 3rd year student at the McPherson Auto Restoration College in McPherson Kansas, and has come to Fairbanks to intern with us for the summer. Today marks his one week here with us, and we have let him get his hands dirty already. Now we will let Ethan put his comments in and his impression of what is happening up here in the north.

Willy and his crew of old friends and volunteers at the shop are even greater then what I expected coming to Fairbanks. The endless amount of knowledge I am constantly trying to pick from their brain is overwhelming and quite the task! I am still trying to take in all of the experiences I have already had here at The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. I have had the opportunity to ride in the 1928 Pierce-Arrow as well as the 1909 IHC. The Pierce drove like she was right out of 1928, brand new and ran like a top. The 1909 International was everything you would expect from a "high wheeler," bumpy and stiff but also quite the experience. I got my hands dirty and got to change the side engine cover on the Pierce, I thought this to be a readily easy task but, when it came to polishing time, I needed a few guidance tips along the way. The New-Old stock engine cover, being brass, gives the Pierce a whole new look, as much character as she had, she smiles a little brighter now. The staff and employees here at the Museum are all also very kind, and all are always smiling and ready to help. This was only the first week, its going to be a summer of learning and fun here in Alaska!