Glendale, Arizona – January 2023 – Martin Auto Museum

The final stop on the Phoenix area car extravaganza is the Martin Auto Museum.

The Mel Martin Auto Museum recently moved to a much larger facility on Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. One great aspect of this museum is you are allowed to open the doors, and get in the cars if you like, on nearly all of the collection.

The facility is well lit, and nicely spaced out.

We start our tour with a couple of Crosley’s tucked back in a corner.

I can see Elvis cruising down the Strip in Las Vegas in this 1964 Ford Thunderbird.

The exquisite tail end of a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado.

A early 1950s Ford Woody Wagon. Ford dropped Woodies in 1951, although they made a faux comeback in the 1960s, but they weren’t real wood like this.

A front look at this 1949 Ford Custom.

I have always been more of a Ford fan than Chevrolet, but this Ranchero in my opinion is nowhere near as cool as an El Camino. Also fairly certain it is looking at envy at the Porsche parked in front of it.

A nice looking mid 1960s Studebaker Wagonaire.

Mel was a hard worker his entire life, and one of his early successes was a towing business, which is represented here by a 1928 Graham Tow Truck.

This long machine is a late 1930s Packard. The hood ornament on this car was one that was featured in the earlier posting of a collection of them.

While many of the vehicles are restored to their original condition, some, like this very cool 1951 Studebaker Pickup, have been heavily customized.

The last car on this visit is, according to Internet research, a 1905 Cadillac.

The Martin Auto Museum has a motto of ‘Please Touch the Cars’. That alone makes it a great visit, but coupled with the low admission cost, great collection and spacious setting makes it a must for any auto enthusiast who is in the area.

Scottsdale, Arizona – January 2023 – The Art of Hood Ornaments

In days past most cars had hood ornaments used primarily to communicate the brand. Most of the very early ones also served as radiator caps.

Our look at this art form on the hood start with a 1930s Cadillac. It was known as the Flying Goddess, and was available on Cadillacs up until the late 1950s.

Having failed to note what car this is on, this ‘coiled cobra’ hood ornament only shows up on a 1931 Isotta Fraschini using a Google Images search.

Another Goddess, this one is the Packard Goddess of Speed.

Another great Packard hood ornament. Supposedly patterned on the family crest, it has been called a pelican or sometimes a cormorant.

The 1930 Cadillac LaSalle ornament is leading the way.

The emblem below the ornament indicates this is a 1932 Cadillac LaSalle.

The Cadillac LaSalle series continues with this 1938.

A similar look to the Cadillac, this art deco style ornament is from a 1930s Packard.

The Quail from a 1930s Ford.

This Chevrolet of he same time period has this ornament known as the Confederate

As we move into the 1950s Oldsmobile the ornaments are much more streamlined.

Our final ornament is a swan from an unidentified car. Feel free to identify.

Scottsdale, Arizona – January 2023 – Penske Racing Musuem

Roger Penske is a long time auto racing team owner, with his cars racing, primarily in Indy Car and Nascar. He is also the owner of numerous business, including many car dealerships.

In the middle of an auto mall of luxury cars such as Lamborghini and Ferrari there is a Penske Racing Museum, with a few of his more famous race cars.

In 1969 Penske had his first entry in the Indy 500 – this Lola. It was driven by Mark Donohue, who qualified 4th but finished 7th.

Penske Racing and Donohue won Indy in 1927 with this McLaren M16B Offenhauser.

The 1984 Indy 500 winner, with a March chassis and a Cosworth engine (as nearly every entry that year were). It was driven by Rick Mears.

This 2018 car was another Indy 500 winner, driven by Will Power. It was Penske’s 17th win at Indy as an owner. The car was powered by a Chevrolet V6 engine.

More Indy cars from over the years.

2018 Indy 500 Corvette Pace Car

Tom Sneva Penske PC-5 1977 Indy 500 car. He is famous for being the first driver to qualify with a lap over 200 MPH. While he did well in the race he ended up finishing second to A.J. Foyt.

Danny Sullivan’s 1985 Indy 500 winner, another March chassis with a Cosworth engine. This race is famous for Danny doing a 360 degree spin while fighting for first place, and not crashing, later to retake 1st place for the win.

The final car is the 1972 Pontiac 442 that was the pace car for the Indy 500. The Penske Racing Museum in Phoenix is worth the visit if you are in the area. While it isn’t very large, the cars are unique, and the cost is great – it is free.

Tucson – January 2023 – Rodeo Parade Museum Carriages

Each February Tucson hosts La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, aka the Rodeo. Each year a parade precedes the event, featuring numerous vintage wagons and carriages. A number of buildings on the rodeo grounds hold the museum, which has over 100 of these items.

Because Tucson has long been a home to western movie making, many of them have been featured in Hollywood films.

An early paddy wagon.

This little wagon is known as a Governess Cart.

A brougham.

A small carriage used in the TV show Gunsmoke.

A Landau carriage.

A Victorian Hearse.

Your basic farm wagon.

An early Tucson Fire Department vehicle.

Many business sponsor wagons for the parade.

A stylish 8 passenger wagon.

The milk man cometh.

Rolling out the barrels.

The circus wagon is in town.

We end this tour with an old horse trailer from a 1940s movie star.

Tucson – January 2023 – Amazing Miniatures

Tucson is home to the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, which by the name gave me the impression that it would be a slightly interesting, but kitschy Roadside America type of a place. I was surprised to find the building, and contents to be a high quality museum.

The museum is a result of the passion of Patricia Arnell and her husband Walter. Pat started collecting miniatures as a small girl in the 1930s, up until she passed away just last year.

The collection, stated to number more than 500, including some from 200 years ago, and features a fantastic collection of displays over the years, hence the name Mini Time Machines.

The details are amazing – notice the tiny loom has an actual rug being weaved.

Many of the displays feature well known people or items. When close up’s are taken it is difficult to realize these items are just a few inches tall.

As an Addams Family fan, I spent considerable time checking out the entire family, each in their own room.

It is only when you see a collection of them with people in the background do you get a sense of the small scale, and intricate detail.

The collection is wide and varied, all with great detail – note the bottles on the table.

The artist and his collection of tiny paintings.

A library full of individual books.

The Mini Time Machine Museums of Miniatures is a highlight of Tucson.

Tucson – January 2023 – Tucson Mineral and Gem World

On the far west side of Tucson is one of those fantastically quirky shops that is a must stop. Just driving by says STOP.

The store and museum has been in Tucson for over 50 years. They advertise they have over 100,000 minerals and gems in the store. They were more than happy to let me take some photos, which I have done my best to identify here (no guarantees on accuracy of the identifications). In addition looking up the details on each has given me an education (thanks to Wikipedia and others).

Amethyst – A lilac variety of quartz.

Citrine – A yellow quartz thought by some to have self healing and inspirational qualities.

Quartz – The second most abundant mineral in Earth’s crust.

Malachite – A copper carbonate hydroxide mineral most often found deep underground.

Hyalite – An opal with that can have some color to it.

Yellow Muscovite – A hydrated phyllosilicate mineral of aluminum and potassium. More silicate.

Azurite – A soft deep blue copper.

Scolecite – A tectosilicate mineral in the zeolite group. To go further a tectosilicate is a silicate that have three dimensional framework of silicate tetrahedra.

Rubellite – A red or pink variety of tourmaline. Tourmaline is a crystalline silicate.

Pyrite – An iron sulfide, aka – fools gold.

In addition they have a number of unique pieces of art. If you are in the area you must check out this place, it is a hoot. And they are just down the road from Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park West.

Tucson – November 2022 – Toy Trains

The Gadsden Pacific Toy Train Museum is housed in a purpose built 6000 square foot building in northwest Tucson. It has numerous layouts with tracks of all gauges.

The 130 volunteers for this non profit museum have spent countless hours adding an incredible amount of detail to the layouts.

The volunteers continually monitor the collection to make sure everything is running smoothly.

The layouts are under constant expansion and improvements (note the ‘glue tower’ next to the building – it blends in nicely).

In addition to the trains, there are other items of historic or amusement value.

Outdoors are the larger scale trains.

The volunteers at the Gadsden Pacific Toy Train Museum are passionate, and the result is a great venue for photography, and to check out the scene.

Tucson – November 2022 – An Afternoon at the Art Museum

The Tucson Museum of Art is a 73,000 square foot facility in downtown Tucson built in what can only be described as a brutalist style.

From the street the building does not look that large, as the exhibits are in multiple below ground levels.

Much of the focus is on native and southwest cultures.

The final stop was in a courtyard where there is a small sculpture garden.

Chandler, Arizona – November 2022 – Arizona Railway Museum

The Arizona Railway Museum is located in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. While there are museums in the country that have larger collections, this museum’s is extensive enough to make the trip worthwhile.

The day we chose to go was an open house, with numerous railroad enthusiast groups onsite.

The rolling stock collection is well preserved or restored.

The Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive 2562 is on the National Historic Registry.

Unusual for many railroad museum, the interiors are also in great shape. Since most came from the Southern Pacific or the Santa Fe they have the southwest look to them.

The Arizona Railway Museum is a great stop for more than train enthusiasts.