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November 14, 2004 - Automobile museums and suggestions and other assorted car related material.

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World’s Laziest Journalist

Sunday, November 14, 2004

By Bob Patterson


Automobile museums and suggestions and other assorted car related material. 

(For taking our minds off politics...)


An opinion expressed in a recent column was wrong.  It seemed logical that someday Jay Leno would put his car collection on display in a Jay Leno Automobile Museum open to the public.  On Saturday, November 6, 2004, he told me it wasn’t going to happen because the insurance would kill him.


Nonplused temporarily because I was wrong, I forgot to refute his statement with a suggestion that adjusting the admission price substantially higher might solve that problem.  I also missed another chance because in a different column, I had expressed the intention of asking Jay, at the first available opportunity, if I could borrow his Cobra and drive it to New York and back so that I could get material for some future columns detailing such an excursion. 


He was in a bookstore in the San Fernando Valley and I did get the update information concerning the possibility that he would not eventually go into the automobile museum business and that would be a good basis for my next (you’re lookin’ at it) column.


[If he happens to read this:  If you don’t want to own your own museum, then maybe you could display the cream of the crop at one of the Peterson Automotive Museum’s shows?  [Editor’s Note: The Peterson Automotive Museum is just down the hill, on Wilshire at Fairfax.]  They have one show, say a collection of sixties muscle cars for a while and then they change the cars and have a new one.  If they ever could make the arrangements, a show with Jay Leno’s cars might attract a larger than usual audience.  They must have insurance to cover the ones they put on display, eh?]


The Peterson Automotive Museum held a Tribute to Phi Hill and the 24-Hours of Le Mans on November 11, 2004.  Hill won the legendary race in France three times.  He also competed in the annual Formula 1 race series during his career that ran from 1953 to 1967. 


Hemmings Motor News has a tourist attraction in Bennington, Vermont for car aficionados.  America loves cars.  Heck, even a book of pictures of abandoned trucks (titled Abandoned Trucks) can become popular in America.  Has anyone done a guidebook to the Automobile museums of the US or auto museums of the world?  (Old recipe for making a fortune: find a need and fill it.)

Click here for larger image...
Photo Copyright 2004 - Bill Hitzel

While doing some Google-supported fact finding for this column we found that the Harrah’s car collection is now the National Auto Museum in Reno.  Tahoe casino owner Bill Harrah, used to have a Ferrari and a Roll Royce car dealership in Reno, and he built a museum in that city to display his private car collection.


A true car fan will not be satisfied until he (or she) has see the Ford Auto Museum


The Ford Motor Company celebrated (as I recall) one of their anniversaries by sponsoring a TV special with predictions of what life would be like in the future.  I wonder why they didn’t mark their 100th birthday by re-broadcasting the earlier attempt at science based predictions of the future.  At the very least they could hand out promotional DVD’s of the program, which was rather accurate with their vision of the future.  [While I’m speculating about that auto manufacturer, I wonder what their PR department would think about loaning me of those keen new GT cars so that I could do some columns about driving from LA to New York City and back, and get them some publicity about the high performance vehicle that delivers a 0 - 60 performance that delights boys from 8 to 80.]


Folks who live in the Los Angeles area will find Autobooks/Aerobooks, Inc. worth the effort to see.  They have plenty of books to browse, and buy if you have a bigger budget than this columnist does.  Who knows, you might bump into a celebrity or two there.  Was that Garry Sinese who was arriving just as we were leaving?


Car books aren’t just catalogues of the best and most collectable.  Automotive Atrocities!: The Cars You Love to Hate by Eric Peters ($19.95 MBI Publishing) will remind folks of the 66 “worst” cars that the marketplace did not embrace wholeheartedly.


S. K. Smith in the book The Bad Ass Bible: An Essential Guide for Men ($10.95 paperback Red Brick Press) selects these as the top car movies:


Two-Lane Blacktop


Vanishing Point


Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)






Mad Max and Mad Max II:  The Road Warrior


The French Connection


The Fast and the Furious


The Gumball Rally (Yhat movie’s preview had all the good sequences.  You didn’t really need to go see the movie if you saw the trailer.)


Deathrace 2000 (1975)


The fun thing about such lists is that they immediately precipitate a bout of intense emotionally charged responses such as: Why didn’t he list Rebel Without a Cause?  Folks who are well versed in cinematic excellence that dates back to the beginning of the “talkies” era, might want to quibble with Smith about including the W. C. Fields segment of the 1932 film If I Had a Million.  In it Fields gets a million dollars and gets his revenge on rude drivers by purchasing a large supply of cars which he uses to smash into the others who show a lack of good manners.  When he bangs up the one he is driving, he gets out, goes to the next one in his line of vehicles following him around, gets in and continues on his way.  Now, it will make car collectors cringe to see all that vintage tin get banged up so cavalierly.


(Older) Radio listeners in LA can recall how “Emperor” Bob Hudson used to close his show by advising: “Get off the freeways, peasants, here comes the Emperor!”


Jean Cocteau has been quoted as saying:  “A car can massage organs which no masseur can reach.  It is the one remedy for the disorders of the great sympathetic nervous system.”


There are so many top notch car songs that if Rhino Records ever puts out a Best of Box Set, the very best would fill up about five CD’s.  Here are the ones this columnist would very strongly insist that they include:


409, Little Deuce Coup, Shut Down by the Beach Boys, The Little Old Lady, from Pasadena, Dead Man’s Curve by Jan and Dean, GTO by Ronnie and the Daytonas, Hey Little Cobra by the Ripcords, George Jones’ The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song), The Rambler and the Cadillac, Theme from A Man and A Woman, Hot Rod Lincoln, Pink Cadillac, and (just for good measure) Leader of the Pack.  Nostalgia fans will suggest In My Merry Oldsmobile and for the sake of completeness, they should also toss in the ad jingle from the Fifties See the USA in Your Chevrolet.


We love trucks, both vans and pickups, so we’ll toss in the country song You Never Even Called Me by my Name (written by Steve Goodman) for reasons that were best explained on a different web site.


The disk jockey can only select one song to end this column.  What’s it gonna be?  He has selected Peter Paul and Mary’s (Ride in the) Car Car.  We’ll burn rubber and peel out of here for this week.  Come back next week.  Until then, may you have a 0 - 60 in under five seconds (a Cobra could do it) sort of week.




Copyright 2004 – Robert Patterson



[Editor’s Note: I do not recommend the film Two-Lane Blacktop at all.  James Taylor proves that although he can sing, he cannot act.  Ronin is great – and you get car chases in Arles, in Marseille, a drive up past Les Baux and a whole look of screeching around Paris.  The Bourne Identity also has a car chase that is fine – a Mini – the old kind - chased all over Paris by the police and even down some stairs in Montmartre.  Note also that Jan and Dean’s Dead Man’s Curve was also previously discussed in these pages – see March 28, 2004 Photography for that.]



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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