Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Automobile driving museum





On a recent trip to southern California I finally got around to visiting a place I'd been hearing about, but not really believing, for a long time. The Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo,California. 

Located out near the LAX airport, the museum is right in the heart of a vast warehouse district. The streets are wide, straight, without much traffic, and actually allow the museum to do the unthinkable; take visitors for rides in various classic cars. You see now why I never quite believed this?

But it is true. You can schedule a visit to the museum and put in a request for a classic car ride. Between a very large open lot that is accessible from the rear of the building, and the surface streets that surround the museum, staff members can give people just enough of a driving experience to have a feel for what these old machines were, and are, like to drive and ride in. Nothing against '65 Mustangs ( I owned one for several years and it remains the most enjoyable car I've had ), but we're not just talking about a ride in a '60s drop-top pony car, we're talking about fully restored pre-war full classics...  and they have many to choose from. 

Some highlights would be the Stutz DV32 boat-tail speedster on display that had conquered the Great Race, a fantastic Oxblood Packard Darrin, 1916 Packard Twin 6 convertible, a really lovely '36 Packard V-12 convertible sedan...   just to name a few. Fortunately for me, my friend Mark Lambert, and pal Tom Sparks, this month's featured display is one on the great LA custom bodywork shop, Coach-Craft, and included a few of their unique pre-war custom creations. An added bonus was having Tom there to tell us stories about when he worked there as a young man right after the war. 

The folks there were more than generous, friendly, and helpful with answering any and all questions. No, we didn't get to go a for a drive in any of the cars that day, as a wedding was setting up during our visit, but you can be sure that I will next time. Because they keep just a few cars in rotation at a time, you don't exactly have your choice of what to take out, but thanks to the great collection they've assembled there aren't really any dogs. 

So, next time you fly into LAX, plan to set aside a little time to visit this unique museum and its collection. I mean really, when was the last time you rode in a 32 valve Stutz? 

2 comments:

Mblogger said...

Thank you so much for visiting the Automobile Driving Museum. Especially appreciate your kind words and testimonial about our collection. Glad you were able to visit and next time you’re out in California, be sure to enjoy a Sunday ride in one of our classic cars.

Steelworks said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this post, as I certainly enjoyed visiting your museum. That is truly great work that you are doing and I hope you're able to keep it up indefinitely. I can assure you that the next time I come by I will arrange for a spin around the block. Thanks again for checking in on the Steelworks blog.