Monday, July 21, 2014

LeMay-America's Car Museum

During our recent trip across the United States we visited the LeMay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington State. LeMay Museum is reputed to the be largest car museum in the US. I'm not sure whether it actually is. The Tallahasse Museum collection in Florida seemed larger.  This may have just been due to the layout. The LeMay Museum certainly looks impressive in its modern, hanger-like building. Beneath the curvaceous exhibition hall are four more floors, reminiscent of a parking garage. That said, the layout of the collection wasn't particularly engaging because it felt like a parking garage. The cars were not arranged in any particular theme. There were veterans, vintage and classics parked beside each other. I think the collection would have been better arranged by year or at least by marque so that you could be a witness to their evolution. The photos below follow the sequence of the display, highlighting its lack of clear theme. There were however some great cars in the collection and it was a pleasure to visit.

The magnificent exhibition hall featured a display celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang.

1951 Nash. I'm a big fan of these distinctive American cars.

1937 Chrysler and 1942 Ford

1959 Chevrolet Impala.

1942 Chrysler Windsor Highlander

1952 Kaiser-Frazer Deluxe.

At the head of the exhibition hall - a Tucker Model 48.

Few American cars are as legendary as the Tucker. Preston Tucker's radical rear engined car was an American re-imagining of the Czechoslovakian Tatra. It was powered by a rear mounted, air-cooled, six-cylinder, horizontally opposed 5.5 litre Franklin helicopter engine and included many innovative safety features.

All the cars were built using components from other cars, such as the steering wheel which was from a Lincoln and the transmission from a Cord, as Tucker had yet to begin manufacturing its own components. All the cars that were built were basically pre-production vehicles. 51 cars were built (of which 47 survive) before the company was driven out of business.

1907 Pierce Great Arrow

1916 Pierce-Arrow

Franklin air cooled

Mercedes-Benz 220


Veteran high-wheelers - Curved Dash Oldsmobile and International Harvester.

One of my other favourite cars of all time - the Cord 812.

Front wheel drive, streamlined and ultra-modern for 1937

International Harvester

International Harvester, now beginning to look a little more 'car like.'

Chevrolet Corvette - I think the Corvette is a much better looking car than the Ford Mustang.

More Mercedes-Benz

1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia coupe

Detroil Electric car

1903 Stanley Steamer

Motorcycle collection