A visit to the Blackhawk museum in Danville California.
|The Behring Museum (the actual name of the museum)|
is not your typical car museum.
I had been anticipating attending the British car swap meet in Davis for months, so I was quite disappointed when it was cancelled due to rain. We have been having a lot of heavy rain. This is so uncommon this late in the season but I shouldn't complain. What we're experiencing doesn't compare to the parts of the country that suffers from tornadoes and other furies of nature.
Still I had to satisfy my car lovers fix, so I decided an hour long drive in the rain wasn't too much of a price to pay. The Blackhawk, museum is a quality place, much like the Petersen Museum of Los Angeles. Even though it's much closer, I find that I've visited the Petersen more than the Blackhawk. For many reasons I frequently find myself in southern California. I've been there three times in the last few years, while it's been over fifteen years since I've been to this museum.
The California Auto museum located in Sacramento, is another, almost local destination for the car enthusiast. I've only been there once so far.
I suppose that I should put together a listing of California car museums then I can plan attending events in the area.
This museum is a classy place! The floor is black granite. The background and walls are dark, and the cars are well lighted with focused spotlighting. Unfortunately these lights make it hard to take photographs ( at least for someone of my photographic skills!). Featured cars are displayed prominently while some others are clustered a bit close to each other.
Speaking of ornamentation, this Mustang suffers from this same affliction. Still it works in this case, no one is looking for subtly here. This is one of the actual star cars from the Gone in 60 Seconds remake starring Nicholas Cage.
This T-Bird the "Italien Coupe," was designed by Vince Gardner. It was displayed at the 1964 World's fair along with the 1965 Mustang. This show car previewed the fastback roofline that was going to debut on the Mustang the following year. It's interesting that the roof is made of fiberglass. I was curious how it was joined to the rest of the steel bodywork. I imagine that it meets the quarter panel under the chrome strip and at the forward opening of the trunk. This would minimize the area that the fiberglass would have to be blended with the steel panels.
This classic luxury car looks so dramatic and impressive in a jewel tone of green. Imagine the kind of person that could own a 1933 Packard Super 8 sedan.
The Hispano Suiza was a stylish auto that influenced the first Cadillac Le Salle. Bill Mitchell, head of design at Cadillac, was knowledgeable and familiar with contemporary.styling trends.
Here is another car that fired up my imagination as a budding young enthusiast. I grew up a confirmed big car fan. Cadillacs were always my cup of tea. Auburn Boat tail Speedsters were never known as shrinking violets, they were as big and bold as the American Dream. It just so happens that my interest in classic Speedsters has been rekindled as of late. I had hoped that I might find a Stutz Bearcat or Mercer Raceabout in the collection.
|This is the car that influenced Bill Mitchell when he|
designing the 1971 Buick Riviera.
Here is another expansive Classic that perhaps should have had it's design reined in a bit. It was a private commission so I imagine it satisfied the tastes of the wealthy patron. Constructed by famed coachbuilder Figoni et Falasci.
|1947 DelaHaye type 135. Narwhal?|
|Maybe the middle fin could have been omitted|
but arrows have three feathers.
|Now you see where the name narwhale comes in.|
I do love the enclosed front wheels.
|The front end resembles an angry cartoon character,|
"Hey, Where's the love!"
Here's a home grown creation, tastefully and colorfully done. It's a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr with a chopped top. A hot rodded Kustom with a very high level of finish. Certain modern customs achieve coach built levels of execution.
|1948 Bentley sport Tourer.|
|The reflections are hard to avoid!|
This is a 1955 Bentley Sports Saloon. This caught my eye because it is four years newer than the Jaguar in my sideyard. The two cars were similar in purpose and execution but the Bentley was aimed at a more expensive niche. The Jaguar was built to a price, and the Mark VII was often derided as a "Wardour Street Bentley," whatever that means. I can safely surmise that it wasn't meant as a compliment.
A 1938 Bugatti Type 57 coupe. This car was designed by Mr. Bugatti himself. I visited the Bugatti display at the Petersen museum, which was an unbelievable presentation. It's hard to believe that this name lives on as part of the Volkswagen empire.
I enjoy seeing vintage high performance engines displayed as the pieces of art that they are. This Duesenberg motor was displayed in an acrylic box. I suppose this was done to protect it from any light fingered patrons who might want to take home a souvenir. It did make it difficult to take a good photograph. The sign definitely wasn't up to the standards set by the museum.
There's still much more to see. You can see a lot of additional cars in the background of my photographs. These were all very interesting cars worthy of coverage, but I had my own favorites. That's the beauty of a museum, you can concentrate on the areas that you find especially appealing. I'll continue with another installment in a future post.