Simeone Auto Museum, a high octane ‘Celebration of The

Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated by the combustion engine. Riding in our household station wagon with my Dad, a naval engineer in Environment War II, was constantly a discovering expertise.

By the time I was eight, I knew what pistons and cylinders were being, and by the age of ten, I could diagnose a solenoid failure or a negative clutch.

When I was a freshman at Villanova and sitting in Linehan’s calculus course or looking at Spadafora’s inorganic chemistry demos, there is no doubt that I was rubbing elbows with upcoming physicists and mechanical engineers.

And, comprehensive disclosure, Angus MacKenzie’s inside-the-backpage column, The Big Photo, for Motor Trend is a have to-go through for me each individual month.

So, when my husband acquired a trunkload of tickets for a excursion to the Simeone Basis Vehicle Museum on the piping warm, penultimate Saturday in July, I was “in” for the trip of a lifetime.

WOW! What a distinctive, intriguing, and amazing knowledge. I seriously did not want to leave right after 3 several hours, reassuring myself that I was promised a return pay a visit to.

This is why Simeone Vehicle Museum found at 6825 Norwitch Drive, Philadelphia 19153, is a good bang for your buck.

This area and these folks are the real deal. At entry, a table is established up for dry merchandise or dollars donations to Philabundance. A+ for caring about the a lot less lucky.

There are totally free masks, totally free boxed Flowflex COVID-19 antigen tests, free of charge bottled waters with encouragement to do refills at the water fountains, and baked-that-morning delightful whole-dimensions tender pretzels for a greenback.

Stroll by way of the main doorways and a huge, vaulted ceiling welcomes visitors into a warehouse of the most intelligently and thoughtfully assembled sequence of exhibits I have ever encountered.

Chat about visibility, proximity, readability and multi-dimensional corrals of actual cars, related footage and videos, and background fabulously penned. I could do right away camp listed here.

You are literally inches away from autos voted “best car or truck assortment in the earth by the Typical Car Trust” ( and positioned just minutes off I-76 and I-95, near to Center City and the Philadelphia Worldwide Airport.

We toured the circuit consisting of 75 vehicles from a 1907 RENAULT VANDERBILT to a 1975 ALFA ROMEO 33 TT 12.

On the Simeone Vehicle Museum website, you can look through comprehensive-bodied images, a extensive annotated inventory of the assortment, quite a few historic steering, and visuals of each dimension of aggressive racing.

According to the log for the early 1900’s, “There was energetic organized racing through the United States prior to WWI. Venues these as Santa Monica, CA, Savannah, GA, Elgin, IL, and the Vanderbilt Cup races at Extensive Island, NY, delivered tracks wherever folks could race their vehicles aspect-by-aspect.

“These cars and trucks have been normally stripped sporting activities cars and trucks, meaning the lights, fenders and any unneeded merchandise ended up taken off.

“In this well-known era of sports motor vehicle racing, the major automobiles were the Countrywide (which had the most wins), the Stutz Bearcat (which had the finest advertising and marketing), and the Mercer Raceabout (which was regarded the most innovative).

At Simeone, these autos are displayed in front of the scoreboard for just one of the Fairmount Park races in Philadelphia, an occasion that drew around 400,000 spectators.


1907 Renault 35/45 Vanderbilt Racer

1912 Nationwide Product 40 Semi-Racing Roadster

1916 Stutz Series 4C Bearcat

1913 Mercer Raceabout

“Serious vehicle road racing commenced in France with big races throughout the place, normally extensive distances, this kind of as the 1905 Paris-Madrid.

“They held the initially race ever named a Grand Prix, in the Sarthe just outside the house of Le Mans. A fiercely powerful Renault gained that contest in grand kind, and this captivated global attention.

“About that time, millionaire William K. Vanderbilt was choosing to start off the sport of racing in America, and he implored Renault to promote him such a automobile.

“Considering the costs of generating even a a little scaled-down edition, Renault insisted that they designed 10 cars, and it was up to Mr. Vanderbilt to come across customers for the relaxation.

“This he handily did, contacting on his pals, the likes of Guggenheim, Paine, Whitney, Dodge, et al, and all 10 autos (possibly 11) located a household and by way of the a long time they grew to become scattered amongst subsequent proprietors so that to this day only 4, and most likely a fifth, have survived.”

In addition, “During their early racing vocation, these autos experienced numerous successes, such as winning one particular of the to start with 24-hour American endurance races held at Morris Park, New York, a horse racetrack converted for this contest. Subsequent fantastic performances at other tracks ensured the lasting historical past of these good cars and trucks.

“Ultimately, about 50 percent have disappeared, and the others found their way into museums or wonderful collections. Our Simeone Renault has an appealing submit-racing historical past.

“Before Environment War II, there was little curiosity in accumulating antique cars and trucks, and much more so antique race cars. Antique race cars and trucks often went to the junkyard when their level of competition lifetime expired for the reason that they had no functional use otherwise.

“The employees saved our Renault simply because they utilised it to have a big moist canvas close to a dusty grime horse racing observe prior to a race, a practical if not an attractive pre-race celebration.

“In the 1920s, the group of George Waterman and Kirk Gibson collected previous automobiles, and they could uncover, in addition, a couple of serious race autos saved from demolition by stalwart enthusiasts.

“The Waterman-Gibson duo very easily amassed a team of pre-1910 cars, but they seemed to cherish the handful of race cars and trucks that were being available even in these early days. Kirk Gibson acquired the Renault auto in 1928 and it remained in his loved ones ever considering that.

“In the 1930s, 5 stalwart fanatics introduced their automobiles out on the scarce occasions wherever there could be a typical desire. These automobiles provided the famed Mercer Raceabout of Cameron Bradley, and the Stutz Bearcat of Smith Hempstone Oliver, automotive curator at the Smithsonian Institute.

“Plus, the good Bruce-Brown huge Fiat racecar, the famous Vanderbilt cup-successful Locomobile “Old 16” now enshrined in the Henry Ford Museum and our Kirk Gibson 1907 Renault racing roadster.”

Site visitors can acquire take note that a couple of photos and video clips of “the boys” proudly showing these vehicles alongside one another in the 1930s endure for modern-day inspection.

Prior to this report ends, I very recommend that you and your party go to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, in particular on a Demo Working day.

“At the Simeone Basis Automotive Museum, you can see, hear and odor history occur to life by way of these wonderful equipment. Our Demo Working day gatherings are normally held twice a thirty day period on Saturdays from all-around 11am through 2 pm.

Now “at the complete line,” our relatives and close friends witnessed the demo billed as “Sports Automobile Championship 1965, Ford vs Ferrari” in which a 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, Ferrari 275P, and a Ford GT40 MK II each did their factor on a 3-acre back again great deal monitor.

Just before you go away Simeone, make sure you go up the steps to the art gallery for the “icing on the cake” – Alfredo de la Maria’s exuberant coloration spectacles and renditions of velocity races all through the ages (

When you stop by, be grateful to founder Dr. Fred Simeone, choose it all in and do prepare for a return excursion. You will not regret the satisfying and dynamic time spent at the Simeone Basis Automotive Museum.

Key Line Media Information Columnist Mary Brown is an adjunct professor of Latin at Saint Joseph’s University.

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