The Antique Auto Museum (AACA Museum) at Hershey will have a special exhibit featuring six spectacular and diverse vehicles from the JWR Automobile Museum Collection which exclusively features the collections of Mr. John “Jack” Rich. The special exhibit will run until January 10th, 2010.
Featured vehicles from this collection will span from the early 1900’s thru the late 1940’s, including 1910 American Underslung Traveler, 1926 Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster, 1932 Delage D8-SS Cabriolet by Chapron, 1939 Horch 853a Cabriolet, 1939/47 Rolls-Royce Phantom III ‘Vutotal’ Cabriolet by Labourdette and a 1948 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi.
1910 American Underslung Traveler was as Indianapolis-built automobile and nicknamed “underslung” for the unconventional arrangement of the frame mounted below the suspension. This created a lower center of gravity, thus improving, handling and stability. It rides on 41” tires, is powered by a 500 cubic inch four-cylinder engine and sold for $5,000 when new. It is one of only two know to exist.
1926 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Picadilly roadster is a “springfield” model, so called because Rolls-Royce produced cars in the Massachusetts city during the years 1920-1931. The U.S. built cars were left-hand-drive, and used a 6-volt electrical system as opposed to the British-built 12 volts. The brightwork on the car is not chrome, but nickel-silver. This particular car was discovered in a barn in Vermont, and was originally owned by a countess in Chicago.
The 1932 Delage D8-SS Cabriolet is one of the newest vehicles in Mr. Rich’s prestigious collection. A veteran of the Pebble Beach Concours, this vehicle was purchased in August of this year at the Gooding & Company auction in Pebble Beach. The Delage D8-SS has coachwork by Chapron and one of Louis Delage’s greatest 8-cylinder engines – 4,050 CC inline OHV.
1939 Horch 853a Cabriolet. Horch was the predecessor of Audi, and was the luxury division of Auto Union and a direct competitor of Mercedes. Imported into the U.S. in the early 1950’s, this car was found in 1969 languishing in a Michigan shed and was purchased as part of Mr. Rich’s collection.
1939-1947 Rolls-Royce Phantom III “Vutotal” Cabriolet by Labourdette has a very interesting story that spans its’ lifetime. This particular chassis, 3DL120, was completed and delivered to the coachbuilder Hooper in October of 1938. Hooper built a wonderful sedanca de ville for the chassis that would be used by Rolls-Royce at their display for the 1939 Brussels, Amsterdam, and Geneva Motor shows. It then was displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, but not before returning to London to be fitted with gauges and lights suitable for the American market. Inskip of New York took delivery of the car, and after the World’s Fair sold it to Mr. Oscar Greenwald of Milwaukee, WI in November of 1939. Greenwald passed away in 1941, leaving the Phantom III with his widow who eventually sold this car to Mr. Louis Ritter of New York. Mr. Ritter was in need of a new chassis to be the basis of his next show car, but no bare chassis were available during wartime so he purchased the complete car for the chassis. Mr. Ritter was a flamboyant person who enjoyed outrageous, custom-built cars that were to compete in the Paris Salons. The Hooper body was removed, and the chassis was shipped off to Paris and delivered to the carrossier of Henri Labourdette. Mr. Labourdette was most famous for building skiff bodies for automobiles and had a reputation for pushing designs to the extreme. The car complete with it’s new custom body was completed in 1947, shown at the Paris Concours, and then delivered to Mr. Ritter in New York City.
1948 Delahaye 135M Drophead Coupe Figoni et Falaschi is one of the remaining El Glaoui cars with chassis 801372. Carrying body number 1061, it was originally delivered to a Mr. Venot in a radiant Garnet Red color. The next recorded owner was Mr. DeJaiffe, the owner of a black marble quarry in Belgium. The French architect Gino Terzulli owned the car for a number of years, and eventually ended up in the United States with Paul Myers of California. Mr. Myers showed the car at various events, including Pebble Beach in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s it was part of Dragone Classic Cars of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mr. Rich purchased this car in 2000 and brought the car back to its former glory with a complete nut and bolt restoration in the original Garnet Red color.
The JWR Museum is also currently displaying an original and unrestored 1911 Oldsmobile Limited at the AACA Museum through November 30th. It is the only know original and unrestored example of this vehicle known to exist out of the original 159 vehicles produced in that year.
“The Museum is extremely honored and pleased to present a portion of the Jack Rich Collection on loan from the JWR Museum” noted Holly Bedsole, Executive Director of the AACA Museum in Hershey. “You will fall in love with these vehicles just as Mr. Rich has. Each one is a fine jewel to be enjoyed slowly, taking in each delicate line and delicious curve.”
The Antique Auto Museum at Hershey, a member of the Smithsonian Institute Affiliations Program, displays beautifully restored automobiles, buses and motorcycles in unique life-like scenes representing the 1900’s – 1970’s in a cross-country journey from New York to San Francisco. This Museum, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, is one of the nation’s newest and largest automotive museums. Special exhibits change several times a year and focus on a variety of eras and types of vehicles. The Museum is located just off Route 39, one mile west of Hersheypark Drive in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Regular admission $10, seniors age 61 and older $9, juniors age 4-12 $7, children age 3 and under are FREE. The Museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
For further information, call 717-566-7100 or visit www.aacamuseum.org .
[Source: AACA Museum; photo credit, Gooding & Co.]