Monthly Archives: July 2017

Unusual Transportation Museums

It really shouldn’t be a surprise that we here at Backyard Buddy are huge fans of just about anything with an engine and wheels (or wings, or props). As we think about hitting the road in what’s left of the summer, we couldn’t avoid seeking out some of the more. . . interesting transportation collections across the United States.

If you’re reading this, there’s pretty good odds you’ve heard of the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles (https://petersen.org/), the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit (https://www.thehenryford.org/visit/henry-ford-museum/), and maybe even the National Packard Museum right here in Warren Ohio (http://www.packardmuseum.org/), but this year, we’re thinking of digging deep and looking for someplace different.

Our first stop to see something unusual would be the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN (https://www.lanemotormuseum.org/). This museum has more than 500 unusual vehicles and features oddities like the Helicron–a wood-bodied French car that is powered by a four-foot propeller on the front of the vehicle. Other oddities include three-wheeled English BSA roadsters, a rocket-powered racer, and more post-war European micro-cars than you are likely to ever see in one place. The Museum also features a large number of foreign vehicles that were never available in the United States, and some very unusual prototype and small-production military and utility vehicles. If you can’t make it to Nashville, the Museum’s website has photos and a description of everything in their collection, and is worth spending a few minutes (or hours) to browse.

For those whose tastes are for the extremes of rugged and heavy, there’s the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in Menlo Park, CA (http://www.mvtf.org/). The MVTF features more than 200 military vehicles from World War I, World War II and both sides of the Cold War, including tanks, personnel carriers, reconnaissance vehicles, self-propelled artillery, and various trucks, transports, and tractors. Some of the more interesting vehicles in the MVTF collection are the M8 Light Armored Car (a six-wheeled American mini-tank), the M88 Recovery Vehicle (a tow truck tank built to tow out-of-commission battle tanks), and the 2-Pounder Anti-Tank Gun Carrier (a hybrid of a tracked base with a 40mm anti-tank artillery piece mounted on its top).

The Volo Auto Museum near Chicago (http://www.volocars.com/the-attraction) takes uniqueness to the extreme, and features non-production and custom vehicles prominently in its collection. Its TV/Movie Cars exhibit includes multiple Batmobiles, KITT, Munsters cars, the Ghostbusters’ hearse, and even the Flinstones’ Flintmobile. The Bizarre Cars exhibit features a guitar-shaped dragster, a V8 barstool, and a grand piano car. If you’re looking for luxury, the Cars of the Rich and Famous exhibit has its fair share of Bentleys, Rolls Royces, and Lamborghinis. The Museum also displays monster trucks, bikes, campers, stagecoaches, tractors, and scooters. If your kids get bored (not that we think they would!), the Museum also has Disney and Warner Brothers exhibits, a vintage arcade, and a theater.

These three unique museums just scratch the surface of strange transportation collections. We know that there are few people more passionate than vehicle collectors, and they have collections of interesting vehicles in warehouses, barns, and garages across the United States.

If you’ve know a strange transportation museum or collection that you think we should feature, let us know in the comments!

As always, if you need a lift for your one-of-a-kind creation, or your millions-sold daily driver, Backyard Buddy has the best lifts you will find. Give us a call at (800) 837-9353 from 8:00 to 5:00 Eastern time so that we can help you find a solution for your unique needs.

10 of the Most American Cars in American History

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and what better way to commemorate this patriotic event than exploring a little American history? Even better is exploring a little American automotive history! In celebration of July 4, here’s a look (in no particular order!) at 10 of the Most American Cars in American History:

Little-Red-WagonDodge Little Red Wagon: Introduced to the world in 1965, the Dodge Little Red Wagon was a drag racing vehicle known as the first wheelstanding truck. At the time it debuted, it was also the world’s fastest truck! The Little Red Wagon toured throughout the United States, performing at dragstrips and advertising for Dodge. The truck’s operator, Bill Golden, wheelied his way into the Guinness’s Book of World Records in 1977, when he drove the Little Red Wagon for a 4,230-foot wheel stand!

Army-JeepWillys MB Jeep: This U.S. Army truck makes many a list of the “Most Patriotic Cars.” Originally manufactured from 1941 to 1945, this four-wheel drive utility vehicle transported American soldiers during World War II and served as a key piece of military equipment. It’s also the predecessor to the civilian Jeep CJ, recreational four-wheel-drives, and military light utility vehicles. In 2004 and 2005, 1,000 Willy’s Special Edition Jeep Wranglers were produced and released by Chrysler.

FirebirdPontiac Firebird: This American automobile was manufactured by Pontiac from 1967 to 2002. Embodying many different versions in its lifetime, the Firebird is still an American classic that’s even been featured in classic American cinema, including Smokey and the Bandit, Starsky and Hutch, MacGyver, and ChiPS. Taking a cue from another American classic, the original Firebird model featured a “Coke bottle” body design.

MustangFord Mustang: Often a competitor of the Pontiac Firebird, the original Ford Mustang was so groundbreaking that it generated the then-brand-new term “pony car.” With ever-increasing power with each new revision, this American treasure originally cost $2,368 in 1964! The Mustang’s iconic galloping horse badge can be recognized all over the world.

CadilacCadillac Eldorado: The Cadillac Eldorado is another auto that has been featured on “Most Patriotic Cars” lists. Assembled in Michigan from 1952 to 2002, it’s a personal luxury car that spent a lot of time at the top of the Cadillac line in its early years. In 1976, Cadillac produced a special edition of just 200 cars known as “Bicentennial Eldorados.” This patriotic line was white with red accents and blue pin striping.

Charger-General-LeeDodge Charger: Originating as a roadster-style show car in 1964, the Dodge Charger is a muscle car with a name that matches its reputation. Though many models and generations of the Charger have been created, the early generations were known for speed and racing. Two iconic embodiments of the Dodge Charger in popular American culture are The General Lee, the stunt-crazy car from The Dukes of Hazzard, and Richard Petty’s red, white, and blue #43 racing car.

Big-FootBigfoot Monster Truck: Though technically not a car, this massive automobile has become an icon of the great American pastime: monster truck rallies! Debuting in 1979, the original Bigfoot was based on a 1974 Ford F250. The Bigfoot Monster Truck brought us an innovation in automotive technology with its 4x4x4 design, as well as awesome entertainment as it crushed countless cars beneath its enormous wheels.

CorvetteChevrolet Corvette: Who doesn’t love a Vette? An iconic sports car, the Corvette has been in production since 1953, having first been manufactured in Flint, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri before relocating to Kentucky. Vettes are both civilized domestic cars and powerful performers, making them a unique blend of automobile. The Corvette Stingray model has been named one of the most “Made in America” cars.

ChapparalChapparal race cars are famous for introducing inventive aerodynamic solutions to racing, including a manually-operated aerodynamic wing, spoilers, and ground effects. These autos revolutionized race car driving as we know it today. Chapparal Cars was an American automobile racing team founded by Formula One racers Hap Sharp and Jim Hall. With the help of Chevrolet and Firestone, innovator Jim Hall turned racing into an empirical science.

Model-TFord Model T: Nothing beats an American original! The Ford Model T is a car that is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, and made driving cars a common form of transportation for the middle class in America. Manufactured in Michigan from 1908 to 1927, the Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th Century in the 1999 Car of the Century Competition, and has become a symbol of America’s early age of modernization.

What patriotic American car would you add to the list?