An American Industry & Commerce Travel Itinerary Cruising through Time with Eighty Years of Vintage Vehicles
The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania opened its doors in June 2003, with over 100 cars, motorcycles plus memorabilia, collectibles, and special exhibits.
Preserving America’s Antique Automobiles
Vehicles of all types 25 years or older are welcome in the AACA. In 1993, the AACA started a nonprofit organization to further preserve these antique automobiles and educate the public.
AACA One of Only Two US Automotive Museums Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution
American History unfolds as decade after decade of car models, memorabilia, and collectibles come to life. Over eight decades of cars are displayed in themed settings such as the Golden Gate Bridge, an Art Deco hotel, a gas service station, a covered bridge, Battery Park in New York, and more. From the timeless beauty and classic elegance of Model T’s and Thunderbirds, to the rough and tumble of muscle cars and motorcycles, to the romance of rumble seats, visitors are transported through time in sections that represent the decades. America’s love affair with the automobile is constant and ever growing.
Late 1800s the Benton Harbor Motorcycle is a rare survivor from the pioneer period of American automobile development. Restoration research revealed that this may be the first vehicle in America built from scratch as an automobile as opposed to construction on a modified horse-drawn carriage. A replica of the 1896 Ford Quadricycle is on display on the Museum’s Lower Level; Ford’s first self-propelled vehicle received its name from its use of four standard bicycle wheels.
Early 1900s The Alphabet Ford Collection Henry Ford changed the world when he introduced the model T in 1909. This remarkable vehicle was standardized and mass-produced. At one time, over half the cars on the road were Model T’s. Some of these Fords were produced in limited numbers and are quite rare. On display on the lower level of the Museum are: 1903 Model A, 1904 Model B, 1905 Model C, 1906 Model F, 1907 Model R, 1908 Model K, 1908 Model S, 1909 Model T.
1920s during this decade automobile production levels reached a high that would not be seen again until the 1950’s. Lower priced cars such as the Whippet, Model A, and Plymouth helped keep many manufacturers stay in business during the Depression. At the AACA Museum visitors can see a 1928 Oldsmobile Model F28 Roadster, a Stearns Knight Five Passenger Sports Sedan, and a 1926 Packard Five Passenger Touring. Other areas of the Museum feature a 1924 Graham Brothers 1 ½-ton truck and a 1929 Stearns-Knight J-8-90 Seven Passenger Sedan.
1930s a decade that represents the highpoint of American automotive design with decorative bodies and flashy interiors. Car design followed the Art Deco inspired architecture of the period. Autos on display include the 1930 Dupont Model G Convertible, 1930 Cord L-29 Convertible, a 1936 Chrysler C-9 Airflow and a 1935 Brewster four door sedan. In other areas of the Museum, visitors can see a 1930 Buick Special, Series 40, and a 1935 Autocar 1200-gallon Fuel Tanker.
1940s a decade divided by pre-war, war production, and post war. Vehicle production stopped in 1942 as manufacturers converted to support the war effort. After the war, most manufacturers re-introduced their old models to the market that would by any new car available. AACA displays a gas station with the interior open for viewing. Also on display: a 1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible Coupe and a 1941 Packard Clipper Nineteenth Series.
1950s America emerges from World War II economically strengthened and automobile production sets new records. Power, size and luxury dictate the auto’s development for this decade. While large cars mark the era, the domestic compact car begins with the Nash Rambler. The Drive-In was a popular place for people to congregate in their cars to watch movies on an outdoors big screen. Part of the fun was the late-night adventure. AACA’s Drive-In scene has a variety of 50’s vehicles including a 1954 Corvette Convertible and a 1956 Chevrolet step-side pick-up truck.
1960s Manufacturers focus on internal brand identity, building new types of vehicles: personal luxury, muscle cars, pony cars, and cars with special packaging. Consumer demands and government regulations dictate changes in the industry. On display: the 1969 AMC AMX muscle car, a 1965 Chevy Corvair Convertible, a 1968 Cadillac El Dorado and more.
1970s a decade of reaction and change for the auto industry. The muscle car was eliminated by the threat of rising insurance rates, government regulations, and oil shortages. Imported cars become serious competition for Detroit. A variety of different vehicles are featured for this decade.
From Roads to Rails travel back in time as O-gauge trains chug through the idyllic Pennsylvania countryside and multiple scenes reminiscent of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.
The Museum of Bus Transportation has partnered with the Antique Auto Club of America Museum to provide museum quality displays of the bus industry – intercity, transit, and school – for the public. It also serves to showcase the industry’s growth and development in the United States and celebrate the role that the bus industry continues to play in mobility and progress of the American public.
The Motorbus Industry Occupies a Vital Place in America’s Everyday Life
In rural areas and in the thousands of towns and cities across the nation buses provide personal transport, carrying more persons daily than all other public modes of transportation put together. Until recently there was no national showplace for this industry to show and tell its story. The building and evolution of this industry provides a fascinating story of invention, entrepreneurship and the effort of thousands of people risking their time and capital in the hope of creating a profitable business.
The Flo Inn Café’ diners were a place where you could get the best breakfast for the best price and could be assured a full plate of whatever you ordered, straight from the kitchen, made to order. Coffee was always available fresh from the pot, hot, and served with a smile. The chef and waitresses were a part of the atmosphere and “regulars” were known by their first names. Here is where you caught up with local news, learned of the latest gossip, and started the day with friendly camaraderie. The Flo Inn Café, owned and operated by Florence Fortnoy, is an actual diner that operated from 1948 to 1983 at 2305 East Central, Wichita, Kansas. A small wall safe located just inside the door identifies this as a Valentine Diner, Aristocrat model, made in Kansas in 1940. This model was designed to be easy to operate, sold fully equipped, and was moveable, if need be, to a new location if business dropped. Outside the diner is a parked car of the era, a 1941 Plymouth P12, Convertible Coupe.
Special AACA Museum Features
The World’s Largest Collection of Tucker Automobiles the enthusiasm and creativity that propelled Preston Tucker and his vision for the Tucker automobile is something that has captured the hearts of many. The AACA Museum is home to the David Cammack Collection which includes three 1948 Tucker ’48 vehicles, the factory Tucker test chassis, thousands of engineering drawings and blueprints, original Tucker parts, several engines and many other artifacts and displays.
Of the 51 original Tuckers produced, on 49 have survived and remain in existence. Of these, 3 are on display at the AACA Museum including Tucker #1001 the very first production Tucker and the ONLY surviving Tucker with automatic transmission.