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Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Yes Cleveland may be the recipient of many jokes over the years, but when it comes to automobiles it is a far from any jokes, last week we spoke about the Cleveland built Templar and how various parts supplies were sourced right here in Cleveland Ohio.
The Western Reserve Historical Society is deceptively an auto/aviation museum, Crawford Auto and Aviation museum to be exact.
My timing was perfect as this restored carousel just opened and no I did not take the two free rides!
Even a restored organ was on display.

The Hay-Mckinney mansion sort of sprouted a museum, built for Washington Diplomat John Hays the family never moved in after Hays died in 1905. Steel executive Price McKinney moved his family in as a weekday residence while retreating to a country home each weekend. 
Got to love that carriage house!
After the 1936/1937 Great Lakes Exposition (artifacts proudly displayed in the museum) Thompson Products President Frederick C. Crawford learned of a Duryea (proper pronunciation door e a) motor car set for destruction so the company acquired it which set Mr. Crawford on a mission in which he enlisted his army of salesman to keep an eye out for any collectible cars in their travels to add to his collection. You might recall my blog 12/1/2013 declaring Duryea the first mass produced auto in the USA? He would authorize the purchases and the cars were shipped back to the factory, in 1943 he leased an old Cadillac dealership and the Thompson Products Auto Album Museum was born!   
Cleveland's rich history of aviation races also prompted Crawford to start collection planes as well.A 7/8 scale main street display was also added (currently closed). Ruth Swihart became the curator in 1945 and besides being the only female curator of an auto museum gained quite the reputation for her extensive knowledge of antique autos, 26 years later as the lease ran out a search for another permanent home ended with the historic society. Thompson Products was one of those Cleveland auto parts suppliers and supporter of the annual Cleveland Air Races.   
In the 1950's Thompson merged with Ramo-Wooldridge, later shortened to TRW , yes sir that TRW! 
TRW remained in Cleveland until 2003.Mr Crawford lived until the age of 103 and all of this was donated so future generations can enjoy it! Always more of a story to tell beyond "I visited a museum today"! 
I have seen some of these stainless steel cars in other museums as they are on loan around the country, but to see 3 in 1 place was unreal!

You could smell the stainless polish!

These cars dent very easily! 

This stainless Delorean is not as exciting huh?

Reported as the oldest car in the USA on display

Ferrari California
Crazy little Dodge Colt, remember "Imported for Dodge", but not like this!

Neat concept cars, look familiar? 

Yeah it's got a Hemi!

Gullwing, very rare color

1966 Concept for the AMC AMX

Very very cool early camper "house car" Jordan was one of the Cleveland auto makers

Cleveland Motorcycle built where?

The White Motor Car Company of Cleveland 

Baker electric cars of Cleveland 

Elegant Cleveland built Jordan

Peerless of Cleveland

Gabriel horns of Cleveland, you know "Gabriel Blow your Horn"
Branched out to snubber shocks, yes that Gabriel Shocks! 

Elmore Clyde Ohio

Auto Bug Norwalk Ohio

Cleveland of Cleveland

Chandler of Cleveland

At one point built in Cleveland Owen Magnetic built Hybrid/Electric cars in the early 1900's

Winton of Cleveland
Max Hoffman started importing foreign cars into the USA in Cleveland eventually building his own car with European flare, he became the sole importer of BMW 

This is the actual Duryea that started it all! 

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