Monday, May 12, 2014

Miami Auto Museum - The Dezer Collection (Finale!)

After publishing 3 posts about the Dezer Collection at the Miami Auto Museum, I’ve decided to bring this tour to an end… In all honesty, there was enough material to put together 3 more posts, but enough already! 

This posting includes a number of fairly self-descriptive photos…

Tired of looking at automobiles?  How about a large collection of beautiful jukeboxes?!
Note: The term "jukebox" came into use in the United States around 1940.  It was apparently derived from the familiar usage "juke joint".  That term was derived from the Gullah word "juke" or "joog" meaning disorderly, rowdy, or wicked.  To learn about the Gullah of Georgia and South Carolina, you can go to

How would you like to have to do your laundry in one of these washing machines?  I remember this style…do you?

How about an old timey barber shop?  It comes complete with a motorboat chair for boys.  The use of scary manikins continues throughout the non-automotive exhibits too.

Can you remember when televisions and radios were so valuable that we actually paid to have them repaired?  In these days of disposable electronics, good luck in finding a service like this one!
Many other life size vignettes like the ones shown above are scattered around throughout the museum…

Then there are the bicycles…lots and lots of early bikes to view!  In our case, there were some memories too.  I don’t know about you but Laurie and I both remember when bicycles had one speed and they all weighed a ‘ton’.

I really loved this beautiful ‘patriotic’ Schwinn.  My first bike was a really heavy blue Schwinn woman’s version…not beautiful like this one.  I didn’t care because I finally had a bike!  It was about 1950 or 1951 and we were living on First Street in Jackson Michigan.  I still remember riding that bike down the sidewalk in front of our house…

The Schwinn Bicycle Company was founded by German-born mechanical engineer Ignaz Schwinn (1860–1945) in Chicago in 1895.  It was the dominant manufacturer of American bicycles through most of the 20th century.  After declaring bankruptcy in 1992, it is now a sub-brand of Pacific Cycle.  To learn more about Schwinn, just go to

Once bicycles developed their basic standardized look, it’s only logical that someone would then try to put a motor on them…

This is a Smith Motor Wheel… Smith built them between 1914 and 1918.  They sold thousands of them!  They came in red…period!  In May of 1919, the manufacturing rights for Smith Motor Wheels were purchased by 2 young men…Briggs and Stratton.  Currently Briggs and Stratton is the world's largest manufacturer of air-cooled gasoline engines, producing over 11 million engines per year!

This great looking creation is a Roy Rogers Model Whizzer motor bike… The one behind it is a Red Ryder!  Whizzer bicycle engines were produced in the United States from 1939 to 1965.  They were commonly sold as kits to be assembled and attached to a consumer's bicycle…creating a motorized bicycle. 

In 1948, Whizzer sold its first pre-assembled motorized bicycle.  It was called the "Pacemaker".  In 1952, a “Pacemaker 700” could be purchased for ‘only’ $189.33.  I ran the cost of living index against the price of a Pacemaker and now I understand why I never had one of these motorized bikes.  $189.33 in 1952 is the equivalent of $1,888.20 in 2014!

Now that I’ve calculated for inflation, I do feel better about my starting salary as a teacher in 1965… I was paid $5,200.00 per year and that’s $39,007.10 in today’s dollars!

If you have tandem bicycles, why not build a tandem motor bike?  This early 2-seater was built by Eysink in the Netherlands.  That company was founded in 1886…

Here’s another Whizzer motorized bike, this time with a single wheel sidecar and a Coca Cola ad…

This is just a portion of the Dezer Collection’s Cushman motor scooter collection.  Cushman ceased production of scooters in 1965.  They also built scooters for the Sears Allstate brand and some of those are also on display at the museum.  

Cushman owners are loyal and they even have a club…The Cushman Club of America.  Check it out at  The site also lists Cushman scooters for sale…starting at about $3,500.

Vespa scooters were the first thing that Michael Dezer collected and they are heavily represented at the museum.  The total scooter collection is extensive!  Brand names range from Aquila, to Baja, Lambretta, Moto Guzzi and Zip…just to name a few.

The Dezer Collection is certainly eclectic!  How about a wall display of old outboard boat motors…

I was disappointed that I didn’t find an old Montgomery Ward outboard among those on the wall.  It’s one of many items that my former employer marketed and then dropped from their mix of products.  I have noted that you can still buy a Montgomery Ward outboard motor on eBay.  Check it out…parts too…at

Note: Did you know that Briggs and Stratton purchased Evinrude and Johnson outboard motors many years ago?  They also founded the Outboard Marine Company.

And then…there is the Dezer Collection’s expansive motorcycle collection!  It just goes on and on…with just about every brand name you can imagine…and many you’ve never heard of!

There is a large collection of Indian Motorcycles… Dawn Marie would love to own one of these! 

We really think that the museum bought up every old manikin in South Florida!  Some of them resemble movie stars or other personalities and you will encounter the same ‘face’ in different outfits and with different hair throughout the exhibits.

Of course, there is a very large display of Harley-Davidson motorcycles… This is a Harley-Davidson Sportster, a line that the company has produced continuously since 1957. 

In 1901, William S. Harley, age 20, drew up plans for a small engine that was designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame.  Over the next two years, Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson worked on their motor-bicycle.  It wasn’t successful but it was a learning experience.  They redesigned their creation using a larger engine and an advanced loop-frame pattern.  The bigger engine and loop-frame design took it out of the motorized bicycle category and marked the path to future motorcycle designs.  Small world that it is, the boys got help with their bigger engine from outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude…

To learn more about Harley-Davidson…a true American company…just go to

This little curiosity is a 1947 Cushman ‘Cushcar’...a go kart style vehicle.  You really can’t see it…but you can see the tail fins of the adjacent 1957 Cushman Chevrolet Tribute Scooter at the right of the Cushcar.  Both of them are for sale, ($30,000 each), along with many other Cushman scooters…at

OK…back to some cars and just one truck.  The collection doesn’t include many trucks.  This one is a 1949 Peugeot 202 Camionette.  This model was built from 1938 until 1949, with a pause during WWII.  Over 104,000 of these trucks were built. 

The Peugeot family business that preceded the current Peugeot Company was founded in 1810.  Early on, they manufactured coffee mills and bicycles.  In February of this year the family gave up control of the company, reducing their share to only 14%.  In order to recapitalize the company, Dongfeng Motors, one of China’s Big 3 automakers, and the French government each bought 14% stakes in the company.

Yikes!!  It’s a 1947 Crosley clown car!! (I don't like clowns and Laurie is afraid of them) 

Crosley built autos from 1939 through 1952 with 4 years ‘off-line’ during WWII.  These cars were inexpensive, small, light and they got as much as 50 miles to the gallon… To learn more about these autos, go to The Dezer Collection is asking $40,000 for this clown car!

Believe it or not, famous Crosley owners include: General Omar Bradley; Humphrey Bogart; David Carradine; Tommy Dorsey; President Dwight D. Eisenhower; Geraldine Ferraro; Art Linkletter; Nelson Rockefeller; Gloria Swanson; Boy George, and; Frank Lloyd Wright. 

This is a 1935 Morris 8 Open Tourer. (Having had a Morris Minor in the family, I never knew that Morris had built a little sports car) This car was such a success for Morris when it was introduced that the company passed Ford in England as the #1 auto maker.  The Morris 8 could reach speeds of 58 mph and it could achieve gas mileage of roughly 37 mpg.
FYI…That attractive chrome plated radiator and the honeycomb grill were dummies…with the actual radiator right behind them!

This car isn’t all that old… It’s a 1982 Morgan Four/Four Rally Roadster.  Morgan is one of the oldest auto makers extant today.  This family owned company builds all of its cars by hand and the waiting list can range from 2 year up to 10 years.  This one is for sale and you can pick it up for only $39.995.  Check it out at

If you truly love cars with a classic and stylish look, check out the Morgan V-6 Roadster at and also the Morgan Aero-8 at

This basic looking automobile is a 1967 Russian Gaz M21 Volga.  GAZ, (Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod), is translated as Gorky Automobile Plant.  This operation started in 1932 as a cooperative enterprise between Ford and the Soviet Union.  GAZ currently manufactures autos under licensing agreements with various major auto companies…including Chevrolet.  The company is the leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in Russia.

This is a ‘Deluxe’ model of the 1951 Henry J.  The standard model of this car has often been described as ‘Spartan’.  The Henry J was built using funding from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation…a government entity.  The company was required to sell its basic or standard model for $1,299 or less.  Consequently, such basics as bumper guards, the passenger side sun visor, a glove compartment and even a trunk lid…were optional! (Note: Owners had to access the trunk by folding down the rear seat)

The Henry J was the idea of Henry J. Kaiser, who wanted to increase sales of his Kaiser automotive line by adding a car that could be built inexpensively, making it affordable for "less affluent buyers who could only afford a used car”.  To meet the loan requirement, this low cost auto had to seat at least five adults, be capable of going at least 50 miles per hour for sustained periods of time, and it had to be available for retail sale no later than September 30, 1950.  The car was marketed through 1954…

This is a 1960 Sabra Sussita.  It was the first car designed and built in Israel.  It wasn’t pretty but it is reputed to have been very reliable.  Who knew that Israel even built cars?!

This sleek sports car is also a Sabra!  It’s a 1963 Sabra Sport, 1 of only 41 that were imported into the USA from Israel.  This car is for sale by the Dezer Collection…with an on-line asking price of $35,995.  To learn more, go to,-1-of-less-than-41-exported-to-usa,-israeli-built-c-275.htm.

While we took many more photos of automobiles in this part of the Miami Auto Museum…enough is enough!  If you visit the following website, you will find photos of many, many more autos, scooters, motorcycles and the like that are listed as part of the Dezer Collection…with accompanying photos.  Just go to!

So…there are 3 more photos in this posting where I took that extra step to show just how strange and wonderful the Dezer Collection actually is…

How about a manikin family Christmas display!  Sweet but weird…

Then there is the big room full of military vehicles and model airplanes.  The vehicles include motorcycles, scooters, half-tracks, jeeps, trucks, general staff cars, a Gamma Goat from Viet Nam, etc.  Some of these vehicles are fully equipped with weapons, although I’m sure that they’re disabled.

Diversity is the ‘true’ name and nature of this massive collection.  It seems fitting to end my posts on the Dezer Collection by showing this photo of a room full of model planes, a mini-jet and a racing boat…with the usual manikins in place. 

Oh yes…that little jet in the middle of the photo is real!  It’s a BD-5 Microjet…which holds the record for the lightest jet aircraft in the world, weighing in at a mere 359 lbs.  Several of these little jets…which were sold in kit form…are still flying.  This particular Microjet was used in a movie…The James Bond movie, “Octopussy”.  To learn more about the BD-5, just go to

That’s it for the Miami Automobile Museum and the Dezer Collection.  It was a very entertaining and mostly empty place to wander through… The lack of visitors was indeed surprising to us.  We would highly recommend the museum to anyone who really likes automobiles, motorcycles, their history…and/or celebrity movie cars.  The museum is located at 2000 Northeast 146th Avenue in North Miami Florida.  Phone: 305-354-7680.  Website:

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to explore part of this museum with us!  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. This place is like a magic time machine going back into the forties and fifties. Cool.

  2. Interesting post, David... Who would have known the background when talking about Jukeboxes?????

    I had a bicycle similar to the Roy Rogers one ---and mine had a 'basket' for my school supplies, etc.. The bike also had a built-in HORN (not one of those squeeze things).... I was the cat's meow with my fancy bike.... ha

    My first teaching job was at West High School in Knoxville, TN in 1965--and my whopping salary was $4110 that year!!!!! ha


  3. This place sure has a little of everything and much of it is familiar

  4. Looks like a big place. I do remember the bicycles. Some of the displays, I will agree, are a bit spooky.
    Blessings, Catherine