The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) now has an ongoing display here at the AACA Museum, Inc. with the ability to share a variety of historically significant vehicles throughout the year with visitors to the Museum. This ongoing exhibit features significant vehicles that will change several times each year.
This 100-year-old vehicle traveled from Detroit to San Francisco and stopped in 35 cities during a Road Trip Century Celebration in 2015. The model T is easily one of the most versatile two-wheel-drive, commercially available vehicles ever produced. It can tackle trails and perform unbelievably well in a multitude of circumstances. We’re fortunate to have it in view here at the AACA Museum, Inc. for a limited time.
The exhibit has been extended until March 24, 2019, by popular demand.
Ernie’s GMC Taxi from the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be on view through February at the AACA Museum, Inc. This vehicle is on loan from The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage in partnership with the Historic Vehicle Association.
Used in the movie released in 1946 “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when taxicab driver Ernie drives the main character George Bailey, played by James Stewart, around his Bedford Falls hometown. Bailey was ready to commit suicide when an angel shows him how the life of the people near him could have been different for the worse without him.
This taxi had been the property of an older gentleman that for years had refused to sell, in the hope that one day he would restore it. At 82 years of age, he realized that he didn’t have the strength or the financial resources to start the restoration, so he decided to sell it. The vehicle was purchased in May of 2008 as a complete vehicle in good exterior shape but needing an extensive mechanical restoration, and it became part of The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage collection. The decision was made to leave the exterior and interior in unrestored condition, to preserve the patina and the soul of the famous movie vehicle, but treat the mechanicals to a complete restoration.
The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage is an institution dedicated to preserving America’s automotive heritage through its commitment to craftsmanship, education, and good stewardship. Located on 27 acres in east Allentown on the site of the former Boulevard Drive-In Theater, the many buildings of this private facility not only provide a home to over 150 vintage American automobiles, they house restoration shops and a dedicated track for this collection which is ready to be driven. The focal point of The NB Center is what is commonly referred to as “The Lodge”; a strikingly beautiful facility handcrafted from wood and stone salvaged from 2-period barns in-state. It houses the new state-of-the-art projection and audio system which can be used with the restored drive-in screen on the property. Another very important part of The NB Center is the Historic Vehicle Association’s National Laboratory. Additionally, to share the collection with other enthusiasts and those who will enjoy them, The NB Center automobiles continue to be displayed at public car shows and events, as well as on loan to various institutions.
The idea of painting taxicabs in high visibility yellow belongs to John Hertz, a salesman who joined the Walden Shaw Livery Company of Chicago in 1905. They bought used cars and modified them for use as a taxicab, painting them in yellow so they could be easily noticed in the traffic of the big cities. Starting as a salesman, and becoming a partner in 1908, John Hertz convinced his associates that building a strong chassis with a body made on purpose for this job could be a good business. In 1910 Hertz founded the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago, which soon grew to gain a nationwide presence, so he knew that modified passenger cars did not have the ruggedness to withstand harsh use as taxicabs. Hence in 1915, the Yellow Taxicab Manufacturing Company was born, to manufacture purpose-built taxicabs. In the initial years, the engine was a Continental four-cylinder, with a three-speed Brown-Lipe transmission. The body was made in-house and was specifically designed for use as a taxicab, with more space for the passengers and better protection for the driver. The first 150 cars were built in 1915, and they had a huge success, so many thousands more were built in later years. The taxicabs were sold directly to the operations, or the company sold them on a credit plan, with a share on the taxicab operator income.
By the mid-twenties, there was a ferocious battle between the Yellow Cab Company and the Checker Cab Company, another taxicab business that had started to build its cars for this use. The fight between the two companies became illegal, mainly in the city of Chicago, with many shootings, deaths, and explosive attacks. John Hertz had gained full control of the Yellow Cab Taxi Company and the subsidiary Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company, and in 1925 he decided to see the car-making business to General Motors. He maintained interests in the taxicab business, until a raging fire destroyed his racing stables, with eleven thoroughbred horses killed. Disgusted, he sold off all his interests in the Yellow Cab Taxi Company, concentrating on the Hertz Rental Car Company. General Motors marketed the taxicabs under the Yellow Coach name until 1929, when the name was changed to General Motors Cab Company. Since the GM acquisition, the powerplant had been changed to a Buick overhead cam six, instead of the old Continental four-cylinder. The frame was very similar to the Buick unit used on the larger cars, while the body had many reinforcements in the door hinge area and on the running boards.
In 1933 and 1934, Pontiac cars were modified to withstand taxicab use, while in later years, General Motors Cab marketed a modified long-wheelbase Chevrolet body with truck axles and a Chevrolet engine. Production was halted in 1938, and the Company was closed.
The iconic movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” has become an American favorite. Who wouldn’t want to take the day off and go for a joy ride in a red “Ferrari”? While we can’t let you take a drive, we can let you take the day off and get a selfie with this iconic car.
As part of an ongoing exhibit of historically significant vehicles within the AACA Museum, Inc., the Historic Vehicle Association has arranged for a temporary exhibition of this iconic replica Ferrari from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to be on view in Hershey from June 21 – November 17, 2018. This vehicle was added to the National Historic Register in April of this year. The HAER Number for this vehicle is MD-192, and it was constructed in the summer of 1985 by Modena Design & Development; Mark Goyette and Neil Glassmoyer. The present owner is Mr. Bob Winegard who purchased the car in April of 2010 and transported it back to the United States. The car was most recently on view in Washington, DC in early April as part of the 4th annual HVA Cars at the Capital event.
The HVA is dedicated to preserving and sharing America’s automotive heritage. In 2014, the HVA established the National Historic Vehicle Register in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Heritage Documentation Programs and Library of Congress to document historically significant automobiles in America’s past. The HVA is supported by over 400,000 individual historic vehicle owners, key stakeholders and corporations, as well as individual benefactors.
A Rare 1920 Anderson Six Convertible – One of only seven known survivors of South Carolina’s first automobile company that operated between 1916 and 1922. It was added to the National Historic Register for its local and regional historic significance. It is currently owned by Paul and Kathleen Ianuario of Duncan, South Carolina.
From 1916 to 1925, a total of approximately 5,500 Anderson cars were produced in Roch Hill, SC, in direct competition with offerings from the North. Featuring the motto, “A little bit higher in price, but made in Dixie,” Anderson cars were indeed the South’s luxurious alternative to Detroit’s mass-market vehicles, featuring mahogany, South Carolina hickory, premium leather and top-quality trim and materials. The cars also introduced exciting color schemes to the automotive industry, tempting buyers with the rich palette of purple, blue, yellow and other alternatives to the more fundamental color schemes of Northern competitors.
John Gary Anderson, the industrialist and inventor behind the company, was also a poet and sculptor. His cars featured numerous innovations, including an electric windshield wiper years before Ford offered the technology. Other firsts included power convertible tops, a floor-installed headlight dimmer switch (which he invented), and a unique review mirror. There was also an onboard air compressor driven by the car’s transmission for pumping up tires and a toolkit integrated into the side door for on-the-go-repairs. The radiator cap featured a thermometer know as a “motor meter,” that was visible to the driver. However, customers paid the price for all this innovation and luxury, with an Anderson ranging in cost from $1,650 for the five-passenger touring car to $2,550 for the sedan, compared to a $345 to $760 price range for the contemporary Model T Ford.
A 1933 Graham Blue Streak 8 Sedan was the first vehicle on view. It was on loan and was painstakingly restored by The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage. The Graham Blue Streak is likely best known for its streamlined body design by chief designer Amos Northup.
Brothers Robert, Joseph and Ray Graham began their automobile business with the acquisition of Paige-Detroit in 1927. The launch of the Graham-Paige automobile in 1928 was a huge success. The company sold over 70,000 cars; the second highest figure for a new company to that point in time.
By 1930, the nation was in the depth of the great depression, but the Graham brothers were optimistic that things would turn around. They decided to invest heavily in the new car that would be so far ahead of other that it would sell when nothing else could.
That car would be the 1932 Graham Blue Streak 8 Sedan. It was a new design from the ground up. The chassis was engineered to have the axle pass through instead of under the rear chassis. This made the car lower and wider which improved handling. The eight-cylinder engine with a high compression aluminum head produced 95 horsepower and made the car fast.
The body designed by Amos Northup was more elegant and streamlined than anything else on the road. For the first time, a production car had a grille slopped back, the fenders and sides (or valances) which were immediately imitated, and it was the first production car to use pearl-essence paint using fish-scales to create a metallic-like finish. The frame was concealed on all sides. The headlights were painted and not fully chromed to harmoniously blend with the overall design.
The car was an integrated whole not a mash-up of disparate elements, a design built for speed, handling, safety in an elegant, streamlined modern package. Ahead of its time, the Graham Blue Streak proved to be a tipping point from the old way cars were built to the new, modern streamline design. More than eighty years later, Northup’s design of the Graham Blue Streak would again make history.