Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cars Cars and More Cars

Tuesday we were on our own. We had hoped to travel to Reno with Kathie to see her school (University of Nevada at Reno) but that would have meant reveille at about 3:30am, and that was not realistic. Instead, we opted for a later trip to Reno to see the National Automobile Museum, which has acquired much of the well-known Bill Harrah's collection of classic automobiles. (After Harrah's death, his collection was dispersed; now it is coming together again, with new additions.).

The museum has the distinction of being one of the top 16 automobile collections in the world, and in the top 10 in the United States. They have in the neighborhood of 220 fine cars on display, some donated to the museum, others on loan. If you are a car buff, you gotta go there. Tell 'em Jerry and Suzy sent you, and it will cost you the regular price for admission.

We had particularly wanted to visit at this time because of advertising we had seen about a wonderful exhibit called "See the National Parks Through the Eyes of an Autocamper." Gosh, any RVer would want to see that! How disappointing. There was one little section with three vehicles and a bunch of camping gear. However, the rest of the museum was outstanding and well worth the $8 senior admission price.

In this post we'll show you some of the cars that we particularly liked, but to see other cars and some of the more involved stories, you'll want to go to our Web Album 2010 National Automobile Museum Reno. You can click on any individual picture to see it larger and with whatever information we may have added.

This was the "Autocamper" exhibit.

While it was interesting, we had expected more. The only mention of the National Parks was a National Park logo! But here are some of the beautiful, or perhaps unusual, cars in the collection.

An 1892 Philion:

A 1900 Packard

A 1914 Detroit Electric, powered by 40 batteries that would propel the car between 50 and 85 miles per charge. In those days, that was great!

Here's a 1921 Rolls-Royce with a body built from solid sheets of copper!

Now, this was supposed to be my car. I had always dreamt of owning and driving a bright red MG!

Now here is an interesting one -- it's a 1913 K.R.I.T.

Its swastika logo is deceiving. It is colored white with a blue background in the Greek and the American Indian style, signifying good luck. We had originally thought this was a Nazi car, but their swastika is red with a black border.

There were ever so many other cars! The exhibit we liked most was this 1907 Thomas Flyer, the winner of the 1908 New York to Paris Automobile Race!

The route was arduous even by today's standards. Six cars representing four nations -- only this one from the United States -- drove across the country from New York to San Francisco in mid-winter (in 1908, a feat never before accomplished by automobile), took a boat to Seattle, and from there they were to go by another boat to Valdez, Alaska, then cross the Bering Strait to Russia!

Because the crossing would be too difficult, the cars were called back to Seattle and transferred by ship to Yokohama, where they crossed to Kobe by a tortuous route (they were the first cars ever even seen in Japan!), to be then shipped to Vladivostok. From there they slogged across Siberia, Manchuria, Russia and Germany and ultimately to Paris. The American driver estimated they traveled over 23,000 miles, the entire trip taking 169 days!

What a car! What a story!

The E.R. Thomas Motor Company and driver George Schuster certainly deserved to be awarded this magnificent trophy -- said to be the largest sporting trophy ever made, weighing in at over 1600 pounds!

And that's the way it was this past Tuesday in ... Our Life on Wheels. Please take a few minutes to see more of our pictures at our website!


  1. What a deal--the special Jerry and Suzy admission rate--I think I will use that everywhere I go from now on! ;)

    Excellent pictures and information about all the cars. It sounds like you are having a good time!

  2. Thanks for the tour and the great pics - and the price of admission was perfect - free!! Can't be that.

    My fav was the copper Rolls-Royce.

  3. Always interesting to see man's engineering ingenuity from yesteryear whether it be trains, planes, boats or brains. Old cars are always a source of wonderment & it's good like minded people have come together to keep those old vintage autos alive & well preserved.

  4. What an interesting museum. And your commentary brings interesting stories to the enjoyment of the photos. Thanks for sharing.

  5. My favorite was the Rolls Royce made from copper!!! I love vintage cars..I guess we could consider Den's old blue 1989 Chevy truck an antique...the paint is "a peeling"...Have fun!!!!

  6. That museum looks fantastic. We love stuff like that, too. Your pics showing off all the vintage cars were great. Glad you're out for some fun times!

  7. Great site! If you enjoyed the history of the NY-Paris auto race, check out Cheers. Michael. PS: Happy motoring, come to Alberta!

  8. Nostalgic! I will definitely include this place in my bucket list. Look at those old, sleek autos – just great! Kudos to the caretakers for maintaining the cars’ glorious beauty until now! =)

  9. What a reminiscent car tour! These cars are proofs of the sophistication and gloriousness of the past. Each coupé just conveys a distinctive beauty! =)

  10. Well, with those gorgeous cars in display, you won’t regret visiting the National Automobile Museum! The Autocamper exhibit is awesome. The one that really stood out for me was the gecko-colored jeep! It’s really huge! It wouldn’t be difficult for you to go and blend in with the forest range environment with this vehicle.


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