Cars as Art and Transportation

Featuring Automobile museum photos - Petersen / Blackhawk

A personal view by Gregory Melle
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In June 1999 I made a visit to the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in Danville, California. It is probably the finest collection of "classic" cars found anywhere.
By that I mean that there are plenty of great roadsters from the thirties and very few muscle cars from the seventies. The automobiles are presented as works of art; not a single one had the engine open for display. Cars there are for viewing and not driving.

This 1939 Aero and a 1939 Jaguar were just inside the front entrance.


1939 Aero 1939 Jaguar

They had a Bugatti Royale. They are more famous than they deserve. It should have been considered too ostentatious even for the royal families of the thirties. I preferred the handsome roadsters such as this 1936 Auburn.

Bugatti Royale 1936 Auburn

If you prefer something red, how about this 1937 Mercedes Benz and this 1937 Cadillac?

1937 Mercedes 1937 Cadillac

For something, unique look at this 1924 Hispano-Suiza. The body was entirely built of wooden strips with thousands of brass rivets.

1924 Hispano-Suiza 1924 Hispano-Suiza

For really great paint jobs it is hard to beat the original colours of this 1937 Ruxton.

1937 Ruxton

Of course plain old white can be awfully impressive as seen in this 1931 Alpha Romeo.

1931 Alpha Romeo 1931 Alpha Romeo

They did have a few cars from after 1950 and before 1920. This is 1964 Corvette concept car and a 1906 Cadillac.

1964 Corvette 1906 Cadillac

In addition, there is a fine collection of automotive art.
A highlight is this small bronze sculpture entitled Jaguar by Vicenzo Tabacco.

Jaguar art

My brother, Robert Melle, has owned an interesting variety of automobiles. The variety has ranged from a 1939 Willys to a 1959 Corvette. His current prized possession is his 1949 Chevy Truck.
Robert mentioned that it has "283 Corvette engine, Corvette IRS front and rear, four wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, 3/4 ton total ground up restoration. started out 16 1/2 inches at front fender, now 5 1/2 inches".

Mellow Yellow 49 Chevy

As a Canadian citizen who has lived mainly in Western Canada, I consider the automobile to be an unavoidable necessity. Distances here are vast and public transport is intermittent and expensive.

I have owned and driven a variety of vehicles. Usually something older and smaller. The long list includes a 1970 Ford Maverick, 1972 VW Super Beetle, 1969 Ford Galaxie 500, 1982 AMC Concord, 1989 Dodge Spirit, 1980 Datsun 610, 1976 Chevrolet El Camino, 1989 Buick Regal, 1996 Chevrolet Corsica, 1990 Mercury Sable and finally a 2002 Hyundai Elantra GT. Most were wagons or hatchbacks, two were new and I put 100,000 miles on the Volkswagen.

In addition to driving a car I enjoy walking and riding bicycles. I have taken long train trips and I have hitch-hiked.
In earlier years I owned a few smaller motorcycles. I am not a Harley type of person though.


Corrections, useful comments and interesting opinions are always welcome.
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who did all the programming, design, writing and photography. All publication and reproduction rights are reserved.