Leeds, Alabama – May 2019 – Barber Motorsport Museum

The Barber Motorsports Museum is located in suburban Birmingham in the town of Leeds. It is hands down one of the very best Motorsports museums in the world.

With over 1600 motorcycles from over 200 manufacturers it is the preeminent collection. Over 900 are displayed in the 200,000+ square foot museum, along with 100 cars. Oh yeah, a world class road course race track is on the grounds as well that Porsche uses for their racing school.

Please note with that many options for photos this posting is quite long, with over 40 photos. But words don’t do the venue justice so the photos will speak for themselves.















































































Columbus – March 2019 – An Afternoon Circus

The Ohio Expo Center (aka – State Fairgrounds) has numerous events every weekend, with the past weekend offering such diverse events as an Archery event, Gymnastics competition, a Roller Derby bout, and the circus.

While we intended to check out the roller derby, we ended up at the Shriners Circus.





The ringmaster tried to energize the afternoon crowd.



The local shriners were the clowns, entertaining the kids with their shtick.








With circus’s today retiring most of the animal, the acts were a collection of skilled entertainers – such as the BMX bike riders.







This lady is the perfect spouse, she could change from one outfit to another in (literally) 2 seconds. After seeing this I looked it up on the internet and apparently ‘quick change artists’ is a growing act.





The circus featured an act with a car that would do all sorts of things on it’s own, terrorizing the driver.





A group of trained rescue dogs were the best act – why bring jumps when the hostess can do handstands.









A father – daughter duo did an act where they were 50 feet in the air on these poles that swayed back and forth, until they finally traded poles.





The finale featured a couple of guys on their motorcycles doing jumps and flips.





Given the relatively low ceiling, their jumps took them into the rafters. While not the greatest entertainment we have ever seen, the performers gave their best and the profits all goes to a good cause.







Cleveland – March 2019 – People, Art & Machines

Mid March means it is time for the Piston Powered Show at the IX Center in Cleveland. As the name indicates this show features all things with a piston: Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, an Airplane, Tanks, Snowmobiles, and even a Steam Shovel – plus a few things without pistons.

Most of the cars are ‘by invitation’, which means they are the best of the best. To make it to be one of the best in a custom car show you must have good graphics – and this show has that. It also has a great collection of people who have as much character as the vehicles – all filling the million square foot (93,000 square meters) building.

As you enter the vast hall you are immediately greeted with some really nice restorations.




As noted previously, many had customized paint jobs including this mid 1960s Chevy El Camino hood.




A number incorporated famous graphics, like Speedy Gonzalez.




This customized Willy’s sedan had a matching mannequin.




The participants came from numerous states in a 500 mile radius of Cleveland, including this great paint job from Kentucky.




For some the audience made a good match for the car.




A Zombie car – because why not.




The Zombie car’s door art.





Most of the motorcycles were customized Harley’s, many containing skulls.





Some craftsmen were displaying their skills – he was cutting leather.




This car was a repeat from a couple of years ago that was my posting’s feature photo – still one of the very best custom designs I have ever seen.




An aptly named 1957 Chevy.





A group of local technical high schools were having a competition to tear down and rebuild an engine in less than 30 minutes. Not sure why these guys were wearing helmets though.





While most of the custom bikes were Harley’s this great sport bike paint job features a customization of the ‘Guardians of Transportation’ sculptures on a large Cleveland bridge. Ironically I was wearing my ‘Dia de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)’ T shirt that featured the same sculpture in a skeleton look, so I fit in with the theme on all the bikes.




There was a classic wooden boat display as well. The boats themselves are works of art!




As is this sweet 1948 Buick Convertible.




Even a plain old 1960s Ford Station Wagon can be made to look great.




There were a couple of internet radio stations present – this one is a community station that, among other things, featuring racing.




I am not positive what it is, but I am certain it is NOT a Prius.




Mixing classic art and hot rods.




Many had names.




Most had pistons, but not this turbine jet car.





Some cars like the ‘rat rod’ rusty, beat up look – some like the pristine restoration. This Paddy Wagon was somewhere in between, but still cool.





Also featured were a number of artists showing how they make the great graphics we saw on all the vehicles.




All obviously have very steady hands.




The detail is amazing.




His shirt says it all.




It is amazing on the metal how little paint it took to go a long ways.




This guy had great pedal cars.




Not sure how a bowling pin got into a car show – but hey it is Cleveland.




Ready for St Patricks Day.




The emcee, and auctioneer, had character. She was auctioning off the finished pieces for charity.

Once again the Piston Powered Show was a great way to spend a day inside checking out a great collection of vehicles, people and art.







Hickory Corners, Michigan – September 2018 – Gilmore Car Museum

I have had the opportunity to visit most of America’s great transportation museums. Having that background I can state that in my opinion the Gilmore Car Museum is the best in the country.

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I had read about the Gilmore for some time now, and had always looked forward to going. With the long Labor Day weekend and the emphasis on cars, now was the time.

When we arrived one of the staff said ‘see you in 4 hours’. He was wrong, we spent 4 1/2 hours 🙂

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Gilmore is more than just a single building with some cars. It is a campus of buildings and barns, each featuring a genre of cars or car companies.

Each building is immaculate, clean and well light with great presentations. They also take pride in that there aren’t barriers for most cars, just notes to remind you not to touch. This makes photography much easier.

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Among the buildings is a 1940s diner that was moved from Connecticut. It serves as the restaurant for the museum. We had a basic lunch there, with great milkshakes and friendly staff.

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An example of one of the barns. This one was moved from a nearby farm, with 2 levels for cars.

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A complete 1930s Shell Station.

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The pumps represent different eras.

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The motorcycle building.

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Inside are a number of bikes from the early 1900s to current day.

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A vintage Cleveland and 1919 Johnson.

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As the sign notes – a 1928 Indian. Check out that rear seat.

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Outside near one of the storage barns is an un-restored London double decker bus.

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Another building – another collection. This one has a peddle car collection.

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As with the motorcycles, the collection was vast and pristine.

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Even some peddle airplanes – how cool.

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In the 1960s Mr Gilmore built a replica of the train depot for the little town of Hickory Corners. Inside is a hood ornament display.

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I am always enthralled by the old hood ornaments.

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Almost too nice for the hood of a car.

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At the Gilmore they have over 1300 of them.

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While the photography was tricky with the display cases and the light and shadows, many came out very nice.

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Also called mascots, it was a common occurrence in the 1930s to personalize your car with a different ornament.

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Our next building was called ‘The Classics’. Higher end cars from the 1930s.

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A Cadillac for a movie star.

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The large two level barn shown earlier from the outside had 1950s cars on the lower level.

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And the impressive upper level had earlier models.

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Hudson Motor Car Company made automobiles from 1909 through 1954. This one is from the 1940s.

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So many great cars.

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In the same barn is a Ford display.

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One interesting feature of the the Gilmore campus is that car clubs build their museums there. In this example the Cadillac club built essentially a Cadillac dealership on the outside.

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Inside are Cadillacs over the years.

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Without a doubt the older Cadillacs are much nicer looking than the 1970s and 1980s.

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The Ford Museum has a complete, authentic 1930s parts counter.

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The Ford museum is dedicated to Model A’s.

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A 1930s school bus.

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As with Cadillac, from the outside it appears to be a vintage Ford dealership.

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Across the driveway in the main building is the Lincoln building, whom have some of the nicest cars of all.

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Another earlier Lincoln model.

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A collection of 1950s and 1960s sports cars.

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As with Cadillac, Lincoln and Ford, there is a Franklin dealership.

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But back to the Lincolns.

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Also in the main building is an exhibit for A J Foyt.

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The main building seemed to have more of a mix of cars.

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One of the last of the Packards.

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A stylish 1934 DeSoto Airflow

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If you are into cars the Gilmore Car Museum is a must to visit.

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Cleveland – July 2018 – “Fuel Cleveland”

Fuel Cleveland is an effort to bring together motorcycle art, culture and design. In existences for just 3 years, the annual event has become huge.

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Cleveland has always been a center of transportation manufacturing, with the famed ‘Cleveland’ motorcycles being produced between 1902 and 1929.

Today the name has been revived by the Cleveland Cycle Werks.

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The show has a limited number of motorcycles inside, but is attended by thousands who arrive on their own bikes.

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The collection on the street where we parked was better than most shows, and that was just the beginning.

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As previously noted, art is a critical part of this show. This photographer specializes in using the old school camera, developing his own film. He came to the event from New York City.

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Inside were some of the best bikes. The restorations are amazing.

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While many are customized choppers.

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Held in an old factory on the east side, the setting was perfect for this event.

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Many of the custom jobs had death as a subject matter.

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The art was mixed in throughout.

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There were plenty of colorful people as well.

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Your usual retro living room based on motorcycle parts.

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Even the vendors had character.

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While most of the bikes were Harley Davidson’s, I did come across a few others including this great old BMW.

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Next up was the Skidmore Garage. A working garage specializing in old bikes, most were up on the stands for easier access.

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This bike, called Junk and Disorderly used random, non traditional motorcycle parts. Note the seat is made out of an old tire.

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The mix of the custom bikes and eclectic art of old gas tanks provides a good idea of the atmosphere in the Skidmore Garage.

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The Detroit Brothers have an interesting approach to gas tank accessories.

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Hells Angels softer side – a pink chopper.

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There were numerous helmet design artists on hand.

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Even the air cleaners looked cool.

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This area of the east side of Cleveland was always an industrial neighborhood. While most of the industry has left, there are still a number of buildings remaining. The neighborhood definitely added to the gritty feel with the bikes.

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The parking lot was packed with bikes and riders.

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The classic winged Harley logo.

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Old bikes and old factories – a perfect combination.

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Even more – bikes everywhere.

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Lining the tree lawns along the street.

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A sweet cherry red chopper by itself in front of the building across the street.

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Welcome to Cleveland.

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By now we were dog tired and headed home, just not in a dog chariot – we took the car.

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Hershey, PA – May 2018 – Antique Automobile Club of America

The Antique Automobile Club of America built a nice transportation museum near Hershey, Pennsylvania. More commonly known as the ACCA Museum, it houses a number of automobiles, trucks, buses and motorcycles.

Currently the very cool Hershey Kissmobile is displayed at the front entrance.

 

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The building has 3 levels, with a nice lobby featuring a beautiful ragtop.

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Many of the cars are located within themes.

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The museum has a nice mix of automobiles and trucks – all restored to original condition.

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A full Atlantic Gas Station is displayed, complete with the Service Truck.

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The lower level features the Bus Museum.

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Their current primary exhibit is on Tuckers.

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Three fully restored Tucker’s are shown.

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Cleveland – March 2018 – A Revisit to the Piston Powered Show

Since we have ran out of things to do in Ohio, we are now revisiting some of the better events, including the Piston Powered Show in Cleveland.

Held at the million square foot IX Center, this event features ‘anything with a piston’ including cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, snowmobiles and others.

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A custom bike

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Surf’s up on Lake Erie!

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A chopped Beetle.

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As noted, the place is huge – with the airplane being dwarfed by the indoor ferris wheel.

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Some artists were customizing on the spot.

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Lanterns on an antique fire truck.

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The Cleveland Corvette Club.

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Customized 1950s Ford pickup truck.

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Clearly a winner.

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Hey Scoobie…

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