Photo a Day Challenge

Hartford Auto Museum


We admit to feeling a bit sentimental upon finding this old Wurlitzer juke box in a darkened corner.  We remember one like it at Della’s Cafe in our hometown.   Della’s was the teenager gathering spot . . . it brought back many memories of the late 50s, when we first dated.


Hot metal bits glow and sparks fly as a craftsman cuts pieces to be used in the restoration of Soo Line 1003.


We were surprised to find this massive 1913 2-8-2 steam locomotive being restored in a large wing of the auto museum.  Soo Line 1003 last ran the rails in 2010 when its Federal Railway Commission authorization ran out; however, the Commission has decided to issue another fifteen year authorization, giving the locomotive a new lease on life.

High Key

Short oval race car No. 3 was so fast that it needed a little help to hold the number on.   (Seems to us that the mouse should be pushing on the rear of the number if the car were to be racing forward.)


Winged sprint car racers, also known as Outlaw racers, use top mounted wings to add both downforce and turning stability as they compete on short oval tracks.  The Hartford museum is near Slinger WI, home of the quarter mile Slinger Speedway, and displays a number of retired short track racers.


This appears to be a pump mechanism which pumps oil from a bulk container in the cabinet below it to the tin oil pitcher under its spigot.  The red color is usually used on gasoline containers, however.


A worn seat on a horseless carriage awaiting restoration.


Not all cars in the museum are pristine.  This one is just plain awful!  However, under the skilled hands of a skilled craftsman  who is familiar with these cars, even this pig’s ear can be turned into a silk purse!


We found this in the “To Be Restored” section.


Air power generated by squeezing a rubber bulb operated this early roadster’s horn.  This simple system has been replaced in more modern cars by the invention of batteries, alternators and air compressors.


Ford introduced its new 1932 special deluxe delivery truck with a new GE refrigerator at a General Electric dealer’s convention held in St. Louis.  The new truck was one of 40 delivery and commercial models offered by Ford.


An awning on this Plymouth 4 door sedan provided welcome shelter from a hot sun back in 1929 when air conditioning was not an option.


The Tucker had the capability to show its backside to most of its contemporaries.  Its rear mounted, helicopter derived 335 cubic inch boxer six put out 365 horsepower, 372 ft. lbs. of torque and weighed a mere 320 lbs.  it boasted a higher top speed than a 1954 Olds V8 and more horsepower than a 1954 Caddy.


Only 51 of these Tuckers were built.  Its rarity combined with a history shrouded in controversy makes this a prime display, even though its birthplace was in Cicero, IL.

The “cyclops eye” center headlight turned with the front wheels


An obsolete analog engine diagnostic tool peeks out from behind the Excalibur.  This tool has been replaced by digital analyzers which are compatible with modern computerized autos.


The Excalibur was designed and built in Milwaukee, WI by Brooks Stevens from 1963 – 1990.  The hood louvers, external header exhaust pipes, flat fenders and bullet signal lights are almost exact duplicates of those previously used by Mercedes-Benz on their 1928 SSK.  The drive train, however, utilized contemporary Studebaker and Corvette engines, the fastest of which could accelerate from 0-60 in under 5 seconds and top out at 160 mph.


The only difference between the 1954-1957 Nash and 1954-1957 Hudson was their identities:  the Nash was badged as a Nash and the Hudson was badged as a Hudson.  Both were Ramblers with no visible difference between them.  Nash merged with the Hudson Motors Corp and the two formed AMC in 1954.

Big and Small

The small Nash pedal car is displayed next to its big brothers in the Nash section of the museum.



Children’s Toys

John had to be literally dragged away from this Nash pedal car . . .  he kept mumbling about having to settle for his homemade wooden fruit crate on skates when he was a kid.

First Class

Nicknamed the “Kenosha Cadillac,”  Nash had its roots in the Rambler which was first manufactured in Kenosha, WI by Thomas  B. Jeffery in 1902. By the end of the year Rambler produced 1500 autos which accounted for one-sixth of the existing cars in the US.  In 1914 it was renamed the Jeffery and in 1916  the company was purchased by Charles W. Nash.  In 1954 the Kenosha company became the American Motors Corporation under chairman and CEO George W. Rommey, father of Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and the 43rd Governor of MI.  US production ceased in Kenosha in 1969.


The steering, suspension and wheels of this 1902 Rambler are obviously quite delicate, especially when compared to those of the sturdy Kissels which first appeared only four years later.  The kerosine lantern, on the other hand, appears more than capable of withstanding the bugs, mud and small stones kicked up by other carriages of the time, both horse-drawn and horseless.


Kissel even built trucks to deal with fire.


Gasoline accumulated into glass cylinders atop a gas pump before it was pumped into an auto like a Kissel roadster.


The curvature of the fender line combined with the front wheel and side mount spare are reminiscent of a percentage sign on its side.