After doing the laundry today, I decided to do some site seeing. I found a brochure for the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. As you might know from previous trip journals we always seem to find a car museum in an out of the way place. So off I went to the Antique Car Museum. What a treat. The Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, Inc. was established as a non-profit foundation for education to ensure the preservation of the history of the Packard Motor Co., and to show the progress and development of skills in American engineering (from the web site).
It’s a replica of a Packard showroom from the 1920's. When you visit, you will see a piece of this great American automotive history. There are 22 Packard motor cars from the 1900's to the 1940's on display. There are Roadsters with compartments for golf clubs, a doctor's coupe with a compartment for his medical bag, and a 1929 645 Dual Cowl Phaeton that can self-lubricate its chassis as it drives along the road. There is a great 50’s era Packard Hawk (looks like the Studebaker Golden Hawk but with a Packard label). According to the people they are all in full working order. The cars aren’t in concours condition, but they really are in great shape.
One of the great features of the pre-war Packards were the hood ornaments. There were 4 basic designs – a round medallion, the Goddess of Speed, the Courmarant, and the Adonis. Very early Packards had Eagles (the Museum has 4 of 20-some left in existence). Post war cars had stylized planes and locomotives.
In addition to the cars there are hundreds of old dashboard clocks, hood ornaments from all makes of cars, carburetors, magnetos, period side lamps, custom gear shift knobs, car badges, dashboard lighters, auto product signs, toy cars, and a lot more. They have a whole wall of tire ash trays. I remember when I was a kid we had at least one of those. I watch American Pickers and always wonder who would buy some of the auto memorabilia they pick up on the toad. Now I know its places like this.
Arthur Stone, former CEO of Buning the Florist, Inc., and his wife Shirley began collecting Packard memorabilia for the museum in the mid-1940's. In addition to his love affair with Packard’s, Mr. Stone apparently had a love affair with FDR. The FDR Gallery and Library has photos, literature, memorabilia, mementos, audiotapes and video footage featuring the life of Franklin D. Roosevelt, his wife Eleanor and family. A bust of FDR sits in the center of the gallery.
If you are ever in the Fort Lauderdale area, it’s worth the $8 ($5 if you are 65 or older) to go and spend an hour or two. If you can’t make it to Florida, their web site has some great pictures (http://www.antiquecarmuseum.org/site/about/about_main.html).
After the museum, I took a walk along the Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale. There were some awesome yachts docked along the river.