Monday, January 27, 2014

Reynolds-Alberta Museum – Part IV

This will be the last posting from our summer trip regarding the autos, trucks and motorcycles on display at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin Alberta Canada… However, there will be one additional posting after this one that pertains to a different mode of transportation.


Ahhh…another memory from the past!  This is a 1956 Oldsmobile Super Eighty-Eight.  It’s in original condition…no restoration!  This Olds was built in GM’s Oshawa Ontario plant.  Its original cost was $3,276 (C) and its V8 engine developed 240 horsepower.

I didn’t have a Super Eighty-Eight but I did have a 4-door 1956 Olds Eighty-Eight.  Mine was white over red and I used it to commute back and forth to Michigan State University in East Lansing Michigan to our home in Jackson.  It was 6 years old when I bought it and it served me well.  The only problem was (is) that I’m not handy or mechanical in any way shape or form.  Back then, I knew even less about cars.  I kept adding oil as needed but I never figured out that the oil needed to be changed…until it was too late.  One day the engine just ‘froze’ up!  Lesson learned…


This is a 1954 Kaiser-Darrin fiberglass sports car.  This car has unique doors that don’t open in the traditional manner…they just slide into the fenders of the car.  This car was designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin who presented the design to Henry J. Kaiser.  Kaiser immediately disliked the design but it was saved due to the old adage…”Happy wife, happy life!”  Kaiser’s wife liked the design and it went into production.

This was the first production fiberglass sports car in the USA, beating the Corvette to market by one month.  Only 435 of these cars were built.  Laurie and I have now seen 3 of them… They are striking automobiles!  The “Darrins” were built in Toledo Ohio.  They originally cost $3,652 (US).  They were built on a Henry I chassis, had a manual transmission and the 6-cylinder engine only delivered 90 horsepower.  To view photos of the Henry J automobile and to learn more about that car, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_J.  To learn more about the “Darrin” itself, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_Darrin.


This behemoth of an automobile is a 1959 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight 2-door convertible.  It was the longest GM car produced in 1959, measuring over 18 feet in length.  This 4,300 pound auto was powered by a 394 cubic inch V8 engine that produced 315 horsepower.  Back in the day, it cost $5,598 (C). 
In the late 1950s, size equaled ‘class’ in North American automobiles.  Note: This model came with an optional portable transistor radio in the glove compartment!


I have memories of this automobile or a variant thereof… At one time my mother owned a Hillman!  This is a 1950 Hillman Minx Mark IV.  At just over 2,000 pounds, it weighed less than half of the Olds 98 convertible.  It was equipped with a 4-speed transmission at a time when most North American cars had a 3-speed.  This Hillman was powered by a 4-cylinder 42 horsepower engine and it cost $1,666 (C).

In 1950, to help with Britain’s economic recovery following WWII, 3,279 Hillman’s were imported into North America.  In 1964, Hillman (the Rootes Group), was acquired by Chrysler Motors.  That company used the Hillman name on autos until 1976.  For more about Hillman autos, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillman.


As we returned to the main building from the aircraft exhibit facility, (posting to come), we noticed a number of motorcycles on display in the foyer on 2 small balconies.
 
From left to right:
  • 1978 Honda CBX1000.  This motorcycle was introduced as a high-performance racing ‘superbike’.  Despite its power it never caught on as it wasn’t as fast or as cost effective as other superbikes at the time.  It weighs 561 pounds and its 103 horsepower engine could power the motorcycle at speeds up to 135 mph.
  • 1978 Honda CT90.  The “C” stands for ‘cub’ to indicate size and the “T” stands for ‘trail’ indicating the intended use of this motorcycle.  This line was introduced in 1959 and it was finally discontinued in 2000.  It may well have been the best-selling motorcycle every produced.  It sold for $899 (C), it weighs 179 pounds and its 7 horsepower engine allows for speeds up to 56 mph.
  • 1965 Suzuki K10.  Suzuki was founded as a manufacturer of silk weaving looms.  The company switched to manufacturing automobiles in 1937.  Following WWII Suzuki found renewed success manufacturing a ‘clip-on’ gasoline motor that would power a standard bicycle.  In 1963, the company entered the North American market offering reliable small motorcycles with greater power.  This model has a 6.5 horsepower engine that provides speeds of up to 56 mph.   


These motorcycles were mounted on another balcony on the opposite side of the foyer…

From left to right:
  • 1969 Harley-Davidson M65 Sport.  In the early 1960s, Harley-Davidson didn’t have a product line that could compete with the Japanese motorcycles flooding the North American Market.  The company turned to its Italian affiliate Aermacchi to meet the demand.  1,750 of these were built, badged and sold in North America as Harley-Davidson products.  They weighed 119 pounds, had a 1.2 horsepower engine and they sold for $275 (US).
  • 1975 Triumph Flat Track Racing Motorcycle.  It was built for a very successful Canadian racer who won 13 Alberta championships in the heavyweight division…750 cc expert class.  It is displayed as is following its last race.
  • 1956 Triumph TRW Motorcycle.  These were built in Great Britain for the Canadian Army to replace their WWII era motorcycles.  It was a modified version of Triumph’s commercial motorcycle.  Its 2-cylinder 16.8 horsepower engine could propel this bike at speeds of 70 mph.


This nice convertible is a 1954 Dodge Mayfair.  It was built in Hamtramck Michigan. (I taught school in Hamtramck in 1965 – 1966) In 1954 Chrysler began offering this sold-in-Canada-only convertible.  It was the first convertible built by Chrysler in over 15 years.  This model had a 6-cylinder motor that produced 108 horsepower.  Back in 1954, you could purchase this car for $3,084 (C).


Back in time… This is a 1911 Overland Touring Car.  It’s the first car collected by Stan Reynolds.  He took it in trade back in 1951 as part of the purchase price of a used car.  The headlamps are run on acetylene gas from a carbide generator mounted on the running board.  The side and tail lights are run on coal oil.  This automobile was built by the Willys-Overland Company in Toledo Ohio.  It has a 4-cylinder motor and it would have cost $1,250 new.

The Overland Automobile "runabout" was founded in 1903.  In 1908, Overland Motors was purchased by John North Willys.  In 1912, the company was renamed Willys-Overland.  Overlands continued to be produced until 1926 when the marque was succeeded by the Willys Whippet.  The Willys-Overland Company had a long and interesting history.  To learn more, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willys.


Now this is one very serious auto maintenance, repair and restoration shop!  As you can see, work was ongoing on a variety of vehicles.  All automobile collecting requires is money, mechanical and creative talent plus lots of time!


This is an example of the transformations that take place in the auto shop!  The unrestored half of this 1928 Dodge Brothers Coupe 130 Victory Six has been left exactly as it was when it came to the museum…and the other half demonstrates just what can be accomplished by dedicated and skilled mechanics and craftsmen.

This car had a Budd all steel body from Detroit but it was assembled at the Dodge Brothers plant in Toronto Ontario.  About 81,000 of these cars were built in 1928.  Still, it was the company’s last year as an independent manufacturer. The company had been losing sales to Oakland, Hudson, Nash and Durant. Chrysler bought the company late that year.  This auto cost $1,455 new and it had a 6-cylinder motor that developed 58 horsepower.

The company was founded by Horace and John Dodge in 1900.  Tragically, both brothers died in 1920.  To learn more about the history of this company and the Dodge brand, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Brothers_Company.


This great looking 1950s Chevrolet station wagon was sitting outside the main entrance to the museum.  A volunteer will drive visitors out to the aircraft exhibit.  We thought that this was just another example of the quality and style of this museum.

While visiting the Reynolds-Alberta Museum we took a break and had a sandwich in the cafeteria.  We were joined by an Albertan farmer who happened to collect Rolls-Royce automobiles.  He was at the museum for an owner’s rally. (http://www.can-amprairieregion.org/) He told us that he had 19 Rolls-Royces at his farm and he asked us if we had time to drive over and take a look at them.  Sadly, it was our last day and we couldn’t take him up on the offer.  He’d flown in on his own plane but his farm wasn’t too far away… We had a great time visiting with him.  He was very informative indeed!

There is only one more segment to report on for the Reynolds-Alberta Museum… It will be focused on aircraft.  The Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame is located on the museum grounds.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


3 comments:

  1. An interesting post with some great pictures of old cars and bikes.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  2. Are you guys ever coming home - I believe you've gotten more posts from this two week trip than I have from several months of traveling. I hope you get home from this one before the next trip - all he says with a big grin. Hope you're staying warm - we just decided to stay another week.

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  3. What a cool museum, love those great old cars! That's when cars were cars!

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