Monday January 14, 2019
On Saturday, when going back and forth between The Ringling and our hotel, we saw a car museum at the corner of US-41 and University. Funny. The car museum was within just a short walk from the hotel.
Sunday, realizing that Linda and her sister had no interest what-so-ever in seeing a bunch of old cars, I invited my brother-in-law to come with me to the car museum Monday morning to be there when the museum opened. He thought that was a jolly good idea.
Monday morning, Linda’s sister rode with my brother-in-law over to our hotel. She stayed with Linda in the hotel. They spent quality time together while my brother-in-law and I toured the car museum.
Before entering the museum, I saw a Flintstones style car.
Without an owners manual in the glove box/rock, getting started with the footmobile test drive just wasn’t possible.
Visitors who had ever owned a VW Bug would first notice the classic sixties convertible Bug on the left as they entered the museum door. I once had owned a 1966 VW Bug in the same color.
Next to the VW Bug was a Donald Trump mannequin wearing a red “deplorable” hat. “What does this mean? For or against,” I asked my brother-in-law. He didn’t know either. I asked on Facebook. The best answer I got was from a Trump supported who said “The meaning of art should be decided by the viewer.”
Also included in the museum entryway is a modest gift shop.
Getting into the car museum requires paying a fee. The woman at the desk told us some important items. How to get around the museum without missing any cars. Vintage Motors of Sarasota is around the front to the South side of the building. Vintage Motors sells cars whereas the museum doesn’t. Be sure to tell the Vintage Motors people that the museum sent us over.
Misreading the sign in front of the Hearse, I thought the it was the one that carried President Lincoln to his grave. This historically accurate Hearse is a replica of the original built after the original was destroyed in a fire.
At Ca’D’Zan, both docents (both John’s and Mable’s Tour) mentioned that a few of the Ringling’s cars survived to the present day and could be seen in a local museum. John’s car, shown above, is the one he used locally around Sarasota.
Mable Ringling had her own car that she drove around Sarasota (shown above).
When traveling with the Circus, the Ringling’s rode around in this Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was also known as the Circus Rolls-Royce. The car was transported city to city by rail on a flat car. When this car was built, it cost $12,500.
The most impractical car I ever owned was a 1964 MG Midget. I had been fascinated with MG’s since my oldest sister bought an MG B in the late 1960’s.
The above convertible touring car appears to be from the 1930’s. The classic lines are most appealing.
The above looks like it came straight out of a 1950’s or 60’s spy movie set in France or Italy.
Growing up in the sixties, every red-blooded youth wanted on of the following muscle cars: Mustang, Camero, Firebird, TransAM or Charger. Fords were the family’s choice so naturally, we thought the Mustangs were the end all and be all. The Shelby Cobra Mustangs were at the pinnacle of all cars. What a HOT rod!
In the 1970’s, this replica was created from a 56 Bentley by the Movie World Museum to resemble the original Apple Corps car used by The Beatles. Very Sgt. Peppers.
In a large room off the museum, there are a number of cars in different phases of restoration.
This red Chevy Corvette is the 1986 Official Indy 500 Pace Car. 1986 Indy 500 was the 70th anniversary of this famous race.
The above car, fully restored in 1997, is one of only 900 built.
This classic Porsche design is reminiscent of early Porsche 911‘s.
Lagonda is an obscure car manufacturer owned by Wilbur Gunn, a Scottish opera singer who switched from singing to building motorcycles. After winning several races, Gunn started building and racing cars, also winning high profile races.
The above concept car was built in response to the 1973 Oil Embargo and the subsequent rapid increase in oil/fuel prices. Auto manufacturers were searching for appealing cars that met safety, reliability and fuel consumption demands at the time.
This smattering of museum cars on display isn’t meant to be a random sample of cars. These are just the cars that caught my fancy while selecting what pictures to include. There are more than 10 times the cars shown here and each car is both unique and historic in its own right.
After overloading on museum cars, we walked around the right hand side of the building to see Vintage Motors, the antique car dealer adjacent to the museum.
While there were fewer cars in the dealer’s showrooms, there were more favorites to see.
This 1959 Chevy Corvette was one of my brother-in-law’s favorites. In my mind, this classic car represents the the heyday of the Corvette brand. For $159,900, this car can be yours.
The early Ford Thunderbirds represent one of my dream cars. I thought they were so glamorous.
This dashboard, simplistic from a control standpoint compared to today’s cars, was considered highly advanced in its day. This car is a four speed manual transmission. They are only asking $43,900 for the car.
This car was built in the rocket age – big on rocket fins and cones with a splash of chrome. $159,900 makes it yours.
I had only seen the Suburban truck body style in a panel truck formulation. No side windows behind the front seat. I was surprised to see a panel truck as a two door with windows like a station wagon. It didn’t have bench seating in the second or third row spots. How much later did GM decide to make the Suburban a four door? They are asking $59,900.
Station wagons with wood paneling on the door panels were popular in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. On the early models, nicknamed woodies, the wood paneling was made from real wood. In later years, real wood gave way to fake wood textured or colored vinyl (e.g. 1973 Pontiac Grand Safari Station Wagon). This Chrysler station wagon has the most elaborate and beautiful woodwork ever seen. The station wagon seats 9 and has a four speed automatic transmission.
The “Barrel Back” moniker comes from the way the trunk/rear door is fashioned. Given the $384,900 price tag, this car is fairly unique.
This Mercedes-Benz 300TD replaced John Lennon‘s Chrysler Town and Country Station Wagon. This was the was the last car John Lennon owned before his death in 1980. There was no price listed on this car.
Available for $49,900. I got to drive a similar Bronco a short distance when I was in high school. There is no comparison between these old Broncos and 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. The newer off-road vehicles do so much better off-road and on blacktop. This bronco caught my eye for a number of reasons. It is orange like my Jeep. I’ve driven one of these before. Ford is reported to be working on a new Bronco version to be based on the new Ranger. I’m currently “shopping” the new Ranger.
Chrysler has recently reintroduced the Power Wagon brand name. The original Power Wagon brand represented reliable robust work trucks. These are big shoes to fill. The above truck was originally used by the US Forest Service and can be yours for only $49,900.
The Ford Edsel, made between 1958 and 1960, was a commercial failure. Nevertheless, today Edsel cars are cool.
Too bad Edsel cars weren’t cool when they were introduced.
Like the museum, the dealer had too many cool cars to include pictures of each and every one here.
My brother-in-law and I went back to our hotel to pick up our wives and take them to lunch.
O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill is at Bayfront Park on Sarasota’s waterfront. Patrons order food and drinks then pay for them at a counter.
Patrons pick up their order at a window after their pager goes off.
The covered open air dining area is reminiscent of a Hawaiian Beach bar from a bygone era. Patrons can see the water while being shaded from the sun by a thatched roof.
Patrons can also eat on picnic tables on the beach under palm trees. The Hawaiian vibe is very strong here.
Live entertainment is common. During lunch, Georgia and Mike sang sixties and seventies standards.
I had a tasty simple fish and chips meal with good quality deep fried fish, curly fries and coleslaw.
After eating, we walked around Bayfront Park. There is a moorage where a number of smallish sailboats and cruisers. Smallish would be under forty feet.
I was asked if the people in the boats ever left their boats and if so, how they got to shore. “They have little boats they row to shore,” I replied. “Look, there is someone rowing in now.”
The park is near the Ringling Bridge. The park is on a tiny peninsula.
Walking around to the other side of the peninsula revealed a marina.
Some of the marina’s slips are large with expensive boats/ships moored there. Ships which dreams are made of…
There is also a boat rental outfit that rents modest boats powered by outboard motors.
Boats were the original RVs and were used for personal overnight travel well before modern times. I’ve heard of RVs using windmills for power generation but not seen one. Here is a sailboat with an attached windmill for charging batteries.
Unfortunately, the Aero6Gen, a quiet and reliable 12 volt power plant, is no longer in production. Maybe another manufacturer will begin production of similar units in the future.
After wandering about the marina, we left for our next attraction which will be covered in the next blog post. Stay tuned.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!