Cars or planes?

Cars or planes?

When planning our road trips, we do a bit of research to identify places of interest and prepare long lists and google maps of things we’d like to do or see.  Today, there was a clear choice – was it to be the AirZoo or the Gilmore Car Museum?  Both were on the list but we had time for just one or the other.  Which was it to be?

We are headed for Detroit along our route and surely, we will be immersing ourselves in the motor industry along the way.  So perhaps the Airzoo would be a good choice?  But our guide book suggested the main focus was on the military and highlighted exhibits aimed at families with small children. 


We plumped for the cars.


The museum is set in a large area of parkland, with exhibits housed in several large barns.  Equipped with a map and advice from the docent on the welcome desk, we headed out to see what’s what.


First impressions were good and the first hall of shiny old cars whet our appetites for what was to come.


This was way more than a collection of dusty old cars!


Saving a visit to the diner until later, our first stop was a barn filled with Hudson vehicles – a new name to me.


Here was a collection of lovingly restored cars from the days when motoring was part of a glamorous lifestyle for those who could afford it.  Here too was my favourite vehicle, it turned out; quietly sitting in the middle of the display, nothing special in any way…


until I took a closer look.

It’s a 1937 Railton, fitted out by Rippon Brothers in Huddersfield especially for Colonel Rippon himself and the style and finish is breathtaking.


Inside – sorry for the reflections – the rear seats have the advantage of drop-down compartments, with silver cases for cigars, cigarettes and matches, plus four glasses and a couple of hip flasks on “his” side.


On “her” side, is a similar compartment, but with space for aspirin (!), a hairbrush, cologne, smelling salts, chocolate and a notebook.  In between, there’s a shared space with a silver box for sandwiches, a couple of pencils and their mobile phones….   I was immediately thinking that in my road trip compartment, I’d have my sketchbook, scissors, crayons, a pot of water….!


In front, there was a small shelf for the map and other compartments for who knows what?  Gloves?


And the luggage?  All tailor made from matching leather, to fit snugly into the boot.

How gorgeous is that?  Nearby, there was a short film about the couple who restored this unique car – we watched it a couple of times, gasping at the detail.  Spot the first aid kit!


Well, it was hard to follow that.  We amused ourselves by testing a few car horns in the Shell Service Station before making our way into the next barn.


Now, pedal cars were just not going to cut it, were they?  We needed something a little more than that!


Like a pink Cadillac maybe?


This car was enormous!  Even so, there wasn’t a vast amount of room inside.  Just how many acres of space is there in that boot though?



Here, each car manufacturer had their models arranged in a building devoted to their brand.  Having ooohed and aaahed around the Cadillacs, browsed around the Pierce Arrow display, we found ourselves in front of an old Ford showroom.

But we’re heading for Detroit, I thought.  I really didn’t want to pre-empt the Henry Ford stuff there.


But this was just a showroom of Model A Fords, without any particular focus or description.  We wandered through, stopping only by one particular exhibit.


“Make this dependable tractor from your old Model A Ford”.

It seems easy terms were available to buy the kit, if you felt the need to do such a thing.  Mind you, the first step was “remove the body from the chassis of your Model A”.

Not a job for cissies then.


By now, we were a little car-blind.  Yes, there was another great Chevvy or a remarkably beautiful Mustang, but they were so static.  I was wanting to climb inside one, to interact in some way or even, to watch as someone else did.  Heck, I’d even settle for opening the bonnet to admire the engine!



Just as we’d decided that we’d seen all the cars we wanted to see today, Mary spotted a familiar shape – an Auburn, just like those we’d seen in that beautiful Art Deco showroom a few years back.  Shame about the colour, but hey, it’s still a beautiful car.


We’d really enjoyed our visit to this excellent museum, but after a few hours, we’d realised that we are not quite the petrolheads that much of the museum is aimed at.


Give me a little compartment with a bottle of aspirin and a silver chocolate case every time!


This evening, we headed for Bells, where the evening was just warming up and we were able to snag the last table upstairs.  The food was great and the portions generous.


The beer wasn’t half bad either!

The next chapter

The next chapter

And now we are three

And now we are three