Museum Musings

by Don Desmett, Museum Executive Director

Previous articles by Carol Vogt

November 2019

The CCCA Museum Mascot Collection
Now Available on Museum Website

The CCCA Museum’s extraordinary collection of nearly 700 mascots has been individually photographed and is now available for viewing on our website here . This collection was generously donated in 1996 and 1998 by CCCA charter member, Marvin Tamaroff.

It was an Englishman who first thought of a mascot for his vehicle. On the dash of his 1896 four-cylinder Daimler, Lord Montagu of Beaulier placed a bronze statuette of St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers. The mascot idea quickly caught fire. By the turn of the century, examples could be purchased in fine jewelry shops and a few accessory stores. Motorcar owners did not necessarily ascribe to the mascot selected for them by the manufacturer for their vehicles. Often they preferred one of their own which more specifically reflected their taste, their lifestyle – or their station. The earliest dated American mascot design was a small gnome-like fellow called “Gobbo, God of Good Luck” whose likeness was copyrighted by L. V. Aronson in March 1909. According to William C. Williams, in Motoring Mascots of the World, Aronson was also responsible for the graceful diving girl “Speed Nymph,” which hit the marketplace in 1910. (Examples of both are in the Museum’s collection).

Eventually, mascots were located on the caps of the exposed radiator in the very front of cars. Some were “official” manufacturer mascots, for instance the “Flying Lady” for Rolls Royce, while others added personal distinction. All types of figures, animals, and symbols were attached to owner’s radiator caps. Once radiators were enclosed under the hood of a car, the radiator cap adornments became hood ornaments (mascots) on the front of cars. Among today’s production cars the traditional mascot survives only on the likes of Rolls-Royce, Mercedes and Brooks Stevens’ Excalibur.

The Museum’s collection includes rare, mostly European, priceless works of art, many of which are one-of-a-kind, dating back to the earliest days of motoring. Many were commissioned and are signed works by sculptors Aubert, Renevey, Eastbough, Monier and Bazin. There are beautiful women with flowing tresses along with various birds and animals depicting speed and graceful movement. Other animals and mythological characters that display strength and mystery are also exhibited. Customized designs include cats, dogs, elephants, women, men, children and World War soldiers as well as airplanes, yachts, cars, golf balls, wheels, globes, and auto emblems.


May 2019

A Peek At Cars Inside The CCCA Museum
Featuring: 1929 Cord L29 Town Car

This remarkable Cord Front Drive L-29 was originally purchased as a rolling chassis by Henry McVickar, a personal friend of E. L. Cord in October 1929. Wanting a Cord town car, Mr. McVicar transferred the Belgian custom coachwork by D’leteren Freres body from his 1927 Minerva, converting the body from a right to left hand drive. The skill of the craftsman, (likely of the coach building Brunn family), who made the installation is evident not only in the quality of workmanship but how well the Town Car coachwork from the much larger and taller Minerva is integrated with the low chassis of the front drive Cord. The completed Cord was registered for the first time on December 21, 1929.

The car remained with the McVicar family until 1940, when it was sold to Patrick Boyle. It remained unused in Boyle’s New Jersey garage until 1976 when it was acquired by Edwin C. ‘Ted” Jameson, remaining in his care until his death in the early 2000s. Its fourth owner, Jim Fasnacht, had the cowl touched up and carefully “aged” by LaVine Restorations to blend with the remainder of the paint. The roof, which had deteriorated due to age, was reworked by Sharp’s Upholstery. Otherwise, the entire car remains as delivered in 1929, having “avoided” every service update recommended by Cord. It retains its original factory four blade cooling fan, the smaller diameter early spoke wire wheels, unvented front drum brake covers, and under-hood battery location. This Cord has all its original factory parts and finishes throughout, indicating that its 25,000 miles are actual.

This one of a kind treasure was generously gifted to the CCCA Museum by Mark Hyman.


February 2019

Save the date! The 2019 Experience is just around the corner!

November 2018

A Peek At Cars Inside The CCCA Museum
Featuring: Our 1931 Cadillac 370A Convertible Coupe with Rumble Seat by Fleetwood

This exquisite Museum car, donated by Ray and Barbara Giudice of Baltimore, MD, recently won Best In Class at the Cadillac Museum Fall Festival, which took place September 20-23 on the grounds of Gilmore Car Museum.

Introduced in 1930, the new V-12 engine is a 45-degree, 370 cubic inch, overhead valve design creating 135 horsepower. This fully restored beautiful bodied model 4702 rides on a 140 inch wheelbase and features a small door for golf clubs on the passenger side. With all engine wiring hidden from view, this car was designed to make a statement.

Total Cadillac V12 sales in 1931 was 5,733, which included both Fisher-bodied and Fleetwood-bodied vehicles. This car was the most popular Fleetwood-bodied V-12, with a total of just 362 produced. Cadillac V-12s were last made in 1937.

In 1931, a gleaming white Cadillac V-12 Roadster with white leather upholstery and silver striping was the pace car for the 1931 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Cadillac test chief, Willard Rader, drove the Series 370-A Roadster to a 100 MPH+ record at Indy.

We thank Ray and Barbara for this generous donation to our Museum’s collection.


October 2018

A Peek At Cars Inside The CCCA Museum Featuring the 1933 Cadillac 370C Town Car
Your Museum exhibits a collection of 27 remarkable cars, some of which you may not be aware.

One such car is a 1933 Cadillac V-12 Series 370C Town Car by Fleetwood. Following the death of Carl Steig , CCCA past president 1978-1982, his wife Ann Marie donated their mostly original 1933 370C Town Car to the CCCA Museum in September 2015.

Total production of this 7-passenger Town Car on a 140-inch wheelbase was only 11. However, this is the only known survivor. The car is equipped with an overhead valve V-12 engine, dual ignition and dual carburetion producing 135 horsepower. Dramatic new styling for 1933 included fully-skirted fenders, front and rear, a wind-split V-type radiator shell and grille, and rear quarter windows replaced by vent windows.

Special features include a small lower left instrument on the dash that is indicator for the ride indicator regulator and adjustable shocks controlled by a lever below the gauge as well as a leather rear passenger compartment equipped with a call button and microphone for communicating with the chauffeur.

Originally shipped in 1933 to Don Lee Cadillac, exclusive west coast distributor, this car changed hands several times and was later purchased by Carl Steig in 1973. Although the Steig’s toured thousands of miles in it over the next 42 years, it remains in pristine condition.

Additionally, this particular car was featured in Beverly Rae Kimes The Classic Car, pages 142 - 143.


July 2018

CCCA Museum -- Continuous Improvement

We are happy to share with you that your Museum recently completed two projects.  One, a building improvement, and the other is a design addition, both of which have been in the works for almost two years.

First is installation of an elevator to the second floor of the Barrett Barn.  Although not required by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) to have an elevator, with over 100,000  visitors to the Gilmore campus in 2017, the elevator allows several thousand people that cannot climb stairs to see the extraordinary cars on our second floor.  Currently, displayed upstairs is our 1929 Lincoln 7-Passenger Sport Phaeton donated by Barbara Emmons in 1987, 1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet donated by Thomas Martin in 2010, 1926 Wills St. Clair Model T-6 4 door Phaeton donated by William Greer in 1986, 1937 Cord 812 Beverly Sedan donated by John Wasche in 1985, and 1931 Packard 833 Club Sedan donated by George Webinger in 2005. 
Second, we have embarked on telling the story, within the Museum, of the Classic Car Club of America and the Classic Era.  Upon entry into the museum, banners using key words describe the Classic Era and how to identify a Classic Car.  Manufactured Early (1915-1948), Elite, Stylish, Innovative, Rare, and Forward Thinking, along with further descriptions, are the words used to begin the story.  In addition, beautiful new cabinets display trophies, mascots, and memorabilia.  These additions to the entryway certainly create intrigue into what lies inside.


April 2018

Museum Cadillacs

With Cadillac and LaSalle as featured marques at this year's Experience Concours, I would like to spotlight Cadillacs in the CCCA Museum.  Of the Museum’s twenty-seven cars, we are fortunate to have four beautiful Cadillacs in our collection.  They include:

1930 Cadillac 353 Convertible Coupe
1931 Cadillac 370A Convertible
1933 Cadillac 5312 Town Car
1947 Cadillac 62 Club Coupe
The sporty 1930 Convertible Coupe was designed by General Motors designer, Harley Earl featuring a 353 cubic inch V8 90 HP engine.  Given this engine generated twice the power of a Ford Model A, there was concern for night safety. Thus, at over 12 inches in diameter, the headlights were the largest ever made on a production vehicle. The Fisher body interior features leather upholstered seating for two and a sunburst style instrument panel while outside is a rumble seat for two additional passengers.  At the time, this car was popular with country club goers so for their convenience, golf club storage was created with access by a small door in the passenger side body.  This beautifully restored car was donated to the Museum by Margaret Dunning in 1993.
Another sporty Cadillac, the 1931 V12 model 4702 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood, sits on 140” wheel base with a 45 degree 370 cubic inch overhead valve 135 HP engine.  The elegant interior offers leather upholstered seating for two with beautiful wood trim and an engine-turned polished aluminum instrument panel. As with the 1930 Coupe, this ‘31 sports a rumble seat and small side door for golf clubs. Not much history is known about this very fine example of Cadillac engineering excellence and design style other than when Ray Giudice purchased the vehicle, the seller was to mail Ray his file of documents. Unfortunately, a week after Ray bought the car, the seller passed away.  This beautifully restored car was donated to the Museum by Ray and Barb Giudice in 2015.

The 1933 Cadillac Town Car model 370C rides on a 140” wheelbase with an overhead value V12 engine including dual ignition and dual carburetion that produces 135 HP. In 1933, this was nearly twice the HP of a Ford V8 engine.  The leather upholstered drivers compartment has an open top with fabric that snaps into place in bad weather while the sophisticated rear passenger compartment is upholstered in wool broad cloth and trimmed in fine wood.  The rear compartment also features two upholstered jump seats and a window that divides the front and rear compartments.  This feature allowed for passenger privacy but opens for communication with the chauffeur.  This car is one of just eleven Fleetwood Town Cars sold in 1933.  It was found in 1973 by long-time car club member and past president, Carl Steig, who preserved it in mostly original condition. Today, it is the only 1933 Cadillac 12 cylinder Fleetwood Town Car remaining.  After Carl’s death, his wife, Anne Marie, donated the car to the Museum in Carl’s honor.

The 1947 Cadillac Series 62 2-door Fastback Coupe sits on a 129” wheelbase powered by 346 cubic inch 150 HP flathead V8 engine coupled with General Motors Hydramatic automatic transmission. This modern style body featured a simple interior of chrome, plastic, and simulated wood finishes.  It was originally purchased new by Mr. Henry Ilg of Cleveland Heights, OH who later gifted it to his son, Mr. Gary Ross Ilg.  Mr. Ilg sold the car in 1989 to Mr. Robert Richner of Hudson, OH who later sold it to Mr. Jack Bascom.  With the exception of driving the car just 500 miles, Mr. Bascom kept it in total storage from 1962 – 1988.  On July 21, 1994, CCCA member Mr. David Miller of Ohio bought the Cadillac and drove it for five years before donating the well preserved and beautiful unrestored car to the Museum in 1999.

See these fine examples of the Classic Era during this years’ Experience June 1st – 3rd.

January 2018

The Experience -- Including an Overnight Driving Tour -- June 1st through June 3rd

As beautiful aging cars often need restoration, so too do longtime car shows/events.  That is what we aim to do at this year's Experience.  A new overnight driving tour, host hotel, banquet location are a few parts of the event to be refurbished.  Come experience the overhaul!

As hood ornaments are special features to automobiles, Cadillac and LaSalle Full Classics® and non-Classics (to 1965) are the mascots of this year’s show.  Owners need not be CCCA members to attend.  Additionally, all Full Classics® remain the frame of our show and are encouraged to participate in all weekend activities.

The driving tour will set off Friday morning for a beautiful drive through the southern Michigan countryside to a simpler life in Shipshewana, Indiana.  There, we will tour the world’s largest collection of Hudson automobiles including Essex, Dover, and Terraplane after which we will enjoy an Amish lunch followed by a play at the Blue Gate Restaurant and Theater.  After the show the tour will travel west to St. Joseph, Michigan for dinner and an overnight stay.  Dinner is at Tosi’s, a legendary restaurant surrounded by Italian gardens and imported Roman statues specializing in authentic northern Italian cuisine.

Saturday, the driving tour will visit a recently restored lighthouse and have lunch at Hawkshead Golf Course and Restaurant. The attendees not on the driving tour will enjoy lunch at Gull Lake Country Club followed by a tour of Gull Lake aboard fabulous vintage wooden boats.  Saturday evening brings everyone to the Museum where a friendly banquet unites everyone in Gilmore’s Heritage Center.  

Sunday events, in addition to the amazing automobiles on display, include a brunch, a comical presentation entitled Road Signs by Dr. John Geisler, WMU professor, Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, the legendary drive-by celebrating award winners, and a post-show farewell supper.  (Please note – no CCCA Grand Classic as stated in our November musing.  Sorry for the miscommunication.)

All lodging, meal, and activity reservations must be confirmed 30 days in advance so don’t delay in submitting your registration!  (I thank you in advance for early registration as it saves me a great deal of stress. 😊) 


November 2017

Save the Date -- The Experience -- June 1-3, 2018

Inviting all Full Classics®, along with Cadillac and LaSalles 1915-1965, to join us for an overnight driving tour, fabulous wooden boat tours of nearby Gull Lake, a Grand Classic, and The Experience.

Friday, we will travel the countryside unlike any other to Shipshewana located in the heart of Northern Indiana Amish country.  We’ll see white painted houses, crops in country fields, laundry blowing in the breeze, amazing flower and quilt gardens and the occasional stand selling homemade baked goods and home grown vegetables.  While there, we’ll visit the world’s largest collection of Hudson, Essex, Terraplane, Railton & Dover brands followed by dinner at a picturesque vineyard.

Saturday afternoon, we’ll board extraordinary wooden boats for a tour of the beautiful waters of nearby Gull Lake followed by a banquet at the Museum to celebrate friendships. 

Be sure to register your car for both the CCCA Grand Classic and the CCCA Museum Experience taking place simultaneously on Sunday.

Follow us on Facebook and watch CCCA publications for further details.

May 2017

All Club Magazines and Bulletins Since 1952 are Now Online

Would you like to search Club magazines and bulletins for information on a specific car, coachbuilder, technical information or other topics?  If you have all the printed CCCA magazines and bulletins you could look through every magazine table of contents or every page of a bulletin.  But that could take hours or even days to find what you are looking for!  What if you don’t have these publications?

Use the CCCA Museum’s website instead.  You can now search our CCCA National Magazine Database where there are over 750 issues of CCCA bulletins and magazines online.  We provided the ability to search by keyword, specific category, or by publication issue.  To begin, I recommend clicking on the specific category that may contain information you are looking for.  Categories include:

- Feature Articles on Specific Makes
- Historic Articles by Manufacturer or Make
- Historic Articles by Designer
- Historic Articles by Coachbuilder
- Historic Articles by Region
- Historic Articles, Other
- Biographical Articles
- Technical Articles by Make
- Technical Articles by Component
- Technical Articles, Other
- Judging
- Authenticity
- Tips
- Miscellaneous

After clicking on the category, you will see the list of articles written over the years.  To organize the list by year, make, or title of the article, click on the heading of one of those columns.  Scroll down the list until you find information you are looking for, then click on the article to see a digital copy of the magazine or bulletin page.  If you know the exact issue you want to look at, scroll down below the categories to find it.  If you prefer, you may click on “Search By Keyword”.  Then type as few words as possible; for example 1930 Packard.  The result will include every article written for a 1930 and for a Packard.  

A Facebook follower commented “this database is a great and welcome resource!”.  Access the database here.