1940 Packard 120 Station Wagon

Sebastian S. Kresge, the dime-store king, bought a Packard One Twenty station wagon in 1940.  The eight-cylinder One Twenty was the workhorse of the Packard sales line-up from 1935 to 1940.  As Packard’s luxury line lost ground to Cadillac in the mid thirties, and both lost ground to changing times, Packard opened up a new market, producing the One Twenty.  It may have compromised the prestige of the name “Packard”, but it also kept it alive and prosperous. Originally, the One Twenty was named for its wheelbase, 120 inches.  The eight-cylinder engine produced 110bhp, and it had a top speed of about 85 mph.   By 1940, the wheelbase was changed to 127 inches, but that year the horsepower was rated at 120, which was certainly fitting. Packard had flirted with the station wagon style on its junior cars in the middle of 1937, but production was crowded enough during the boom year, and the style was dropped.  It was resurrected in 1940, when Packard had greater need to cater to market niches. Before the war, station wagons were a symbol of country life.  They were rugged and inexpensive, but nonetheless they suggested relaxed wealth.  But by the 1950’s, station wagons lost their panache and became the most middle-class of conveyances.  One indication of this is the use of metal bodywork.  When Kresge bought his Packard station sedan, “woodies” were made of wood: mahogany and ash, with oak trim in the interior.  The company recommended that the paneling be sanded and freshly varnished once a year.  This was considered a job for a servant. SS. Kresge bought his One Twenty station wagon to use on his 26-acre farm in Mountainhome, Pennsylvania, in the Pocono Mountains, not far from his birthplace.   In 1953, Kresge donated the funds needed to build Kresge Hall at Harvard University’s School of Business.  At the dedication ceremony, he was asked to speak.  He approached the lectern and advised the students, “I never made a dime talking.”  That was his whole speech.  In the ‘50s, when Kresge’s five-and-dime stores evolved into the K-Mart empire, Kresge oversaw the change.  He didn’t retire as chairman of the board until he was 98 years old.  Kresge died in 1966 at the age of 99.  His third wife, Clara Kresge sold the station wagon in 1974.  At that time, it had 57,000 miles on the odometer.  Stahls Automotive Foundation acquired the vehicle in 2000.

There were 28,138 vehicles built on the Packard 120 chassis, less than 100 of them were given the station wagon body and of that amount it is believed that fewer than 25 have survived today.  Many of the “woodies” had rotted out.  

1932 Ford Bobtail Speedster

This circa 1932 Ford “Bobtail” speedster was built to resemble what would have been a typically created speedster or homebuilt race car assembled during the late 1930s.

This speedster competed in the Rookie Division of the 2015 Great Race commandeered by Trevor Stahl and Josh Hull.  The race traveled along Route 66 from Kirkwood, Missouri to the Santa Monica Pier in California.  The team of Stahl and Hull endured the grueling, long course to finish in First Place!

1939 Packard Model 1703 Convertible Victoria

Packard introduced a series of three distinctly different body styles late in 1939.  These body styles were created by the noted California designer “Dutch” Darrin and became instant sensations.  Built in very limited quantities, these bodies were designed with independent pontoon style fenders, reverse opening or “suicide” style doors, and v-shaped windshields with a dramatic rearward rake.  The three body styles consisted of a convertible Victoria, a convertible sedan, and an enclosed four door sedan.  These Darrin designed Packards were built from 1938 until 1942 and are the most sought after of all Packards.

This example, built in 1939, is likely one of the first Darrin-bodied Packards produced.

1932 Chrysler CL Imperial

Walter Percy Chrysler founded the Chrysler Automobile Company in 1924. Chrysler was the first affordably built automobile to use four-wheel hydraulic brakes and have a body that was constructed of welded steel as opposed to most automobile bodies that were framed in wood. By 1932, Chrysler was offering four different models and the Model CL was the top of the line luxury car. The CL models were powered by inline eight-cylinder engines and had custom bodies built by the coach building firm of LeBaron.

Only two hundred Model CL Chryslers were built in 1932.

1914 Locomobile Model 48

The Locomobile Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut was one of the most prestigious American cars in the early twentieth century.  They came into being in 1899 selling a steam-powered runabout that was based on the Stanley steam car design.  They switched from steam cars to gasoline powered vehicles in 1903.  Unlike most automobile companies that produced a low priced model, Locomobile continued to produce only expensive luxury vehicles.  The early reputation of the Locomobile Company was achieved through racing and technical triumphs.  In 1908, they were the first American automobile to win the Vanderbilt Cup race held on Long Island.  In 1912, the company introduced a superior straight six engine that remained a constant power plant until 1925.  Acquired by Billy Durant in 1922 and added as the most expensive car in the Durant line, production ended in 1929.

This seven-passenger touring car, built on a 140″ chassis was priced new at $6,000, nearly ten times what a Ford Model T would have cost.  It is one of the largest American cars built before World War I.  It’s equipped with a pair of rare Warner Autometers:  one for the driver – the other in the passenger area.

1919 Meisenhelder

Roy Meisenhelder owned Meisenhelder’s Sheet Metal, Auto and Body Works Company based in York, Pennsylvania where he repaired and customized cars.  It is said he built 4 unique, speedster automobiles using Paige-Detroit chassis.  Concept cars were built mainly generate enough enthusiasm in hopes of finding partnerships or funding to actually build them.  Sadly things didn’t go as he had hoped.

This roadster was built on a 1919 Paige Model 6-40 roadster with a 117” wheelbase.  The body was discarded and the chassis cut in half and stretched it by almost 2 feet, bringing the wheelbase to 140”.  Meisenhelder made his own unique patterns and cast many of the aluminum accessories seen on this car, including the hubcaps, interior items, and bumper brackets.  It is also equipped with a “Gas-O-Meter” on the instrument panel that shows five lights when the tank is full and fewer lights as the level dropped.  This unique and extremely rare automobile is believed to be the sole remaining example of the alleged 4 produced.

1910 Ford Model T Fire Truck

The Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 and the first production vehicle was the Model A.  Ford would build several different models during the following years, each of which were given a letter designation.  Their new vehicle, introduced in late 1908, was naturally called the Model T, as it followed the Model S from 1907.  The Ford Model T would become the most famous vehicle ever produced with over 15 million built and sold from 1908 to 1927.

 This 1910 Ford Model T is fitted with period firefighting equipment. Large cities often preferred to use the lightweight and agile Ford Model T’s for their fire truck fleets as they could easily be driven to areas not accessible by the larger fire trucks.

1909 Austin Model 60

Walter Austin, the son of  lumber baron James E. Austin, started the Austin Automobile Company in 1903 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The first Austin had been a big, tw0-cylinder vehicle on a 90″ wheelbase, and the car became bigger and more powerful with each passing year.  Not interested in mass production, the company produced a total of 575 cars from 1903-1920.  Celebrity owners included publisher William Randolph Hearst and boxing star Jack Johnson.

This Model 60 was displayed at the 1909 Chicago Auto Show and was bought off the floor for $5,000 by a Charles Herbst of Lima, Ohio.  The Herbst family sold the car in 1946 to Detroit trucking tycoon Barney Pollard, one of the earliest true car collectors.  Pollard entered the Austin in the Glidden Tours in 1947 and 1953.  It was later displayed at the Crawford Museum in Cleveland, Ohio for 30 years.  This impressive, brass era car was restored in 2003 by its third owner, but is nearly pristine, having never been dismantled.

Other than the dashboard, all parts of the car are original.

1904 Oldsmobile Model N “French Front” Touring Runabout

This attractive Oldsmobile differs from the cars the company was famous for in its early years.  The Curved Dash Olds’ signature look in this era, but this Model N has what is termed a “French Front” – a more traditional look styled after cars from France.  Available only in 1904 and 1905, the Touring Runabout was powered by a 7 hp, single-cylinder engine of 1.9 litres.  It was more upscale than the Curved Dash, featuring an Oldsmobile first: a steering wheel!  It cost $100 more than the Curved Dash at $750.  It was available in either dark green or dark red.  Oldsmobile built 2,500 cars in 1904 between the Touring Runabout and a related model, the Light Tonneau.

This car was part of the General Motors Heritage Collection until 2011.

1901 Winton

In 1897, a Scottish bicycle manufacturer living in Cleveland, Alexander Winton, set up a car-manufacturing company, the Winton Motor Carriage Company.  The 1897 Winton featured leather seats, rubber tires (made by the fledgling BF Goodrich Company), and a 10-horsepower engine capable of 33 mph.  As a publicity stunt, Winton hired a driver to take the car from Cleveland to New York, a distance of 800 miles.  By 1899, Winton was the largest automobile manufacturer in the US, and opened the first automobile dealership in the country located in Reading, Pennsylvania.  One of Winton’s customers was James Ward Packard who didn’t like his Winton car, complained to the company and was told by Winton to do it better – Packard went on to form the Packard Automobile Company.  Winton also had an ambitious young engineer from Detroit apply for a job in his factory, but turned him down, Henry Ford decided to start his own car company instead.  Winton continued to successfully market automobiles to upscale consumers throughout the 1910s, but sales began to fall in the early 1920s.  This was due to the very conservative nature of the company, both in terms of technical development and styling.  Only one sporting model was offered – the Sport Touring, with the majority of Winton’s featuring tourer, sedan, limousine, and town car styling.  The Winton Motor Carriage Company ceased automobile production on February 11, 1924.  However, Winton continued in the marine and stationary gasoline and diesel engine business, an industry he entered in 1912 with the Winton Engine Company, and became a supplier of locomotive engines, which the successor company, Electro-Motive Diesel, is still in business today.

This car was acquired in 1989 by Earl Snodgrass of Arizona as a wonderful original early chassis that had been stored for decades, with the remains of its original body, as well as a very accurate replica body that had been started on, but had never been installed.  Snodgrass completed the new body, installed it on the chassis, mounted the original fenders, and sorted out the mechanicals, getting this century old motor car back on the road where it belongs.  During the restoration, the Veeder odometer was removed form the rear axle, and it registered just 300 miles!

One of only a handful of surviving early Wintons, this is an important example of the dawn of motoring in America.