Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Picture This...Father's Day Special

Receive a FREE picture with Dad in a 1926 Ford Model T Roadster.

Come to the Museum on Father's Day - Sunday, June 20, 2010, and have your vintage-look photo taken with Dad FREE! Open 9am-5pm - we are now featuring our special exhibit, Built For Speed...Race Cars From Days Gone By.

Call 607-334-2886 for more information.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

History of the Automobile, Part V

The mission of the Northeast Classic Car Museum consists of educating the public on different aspects of the automobile and its history throughout the years. This is the final article in a series of 5, originally published in the Norwich Evening Sun in 2006.

A carriage-making firm made a prototype in the 1800s of a classic design: engine in front, supplying power to a gearbox behind it; with the gearbox connected by a chain drive to the rear drive wheels. It had four forward speeds and a reverse. The first popular car was a roadster that sold for around $650 and had two seats and a one-cylinder, three-horsepower engine.

Tires, until the 1920s, were of narrow cross-section and ran at relatively high air pressures. As technology improved tires, they were made wider and operated at lower pressures. The tubeless tire was introduced by the Goodrich Company in 1948. Through the 1940s the main components of the car were well designed and efficient, and a variety of accessories were introduced, such as reversing lights, radios, automatic chokes, windshield wipers, and chrome-plated trim. Power brakes were gradually introduced and shock absorbers became hydraulic and telescopic, consisting of a piston inside a sealed cylinder, one attached to the chassis and the other to the axle. Many new models had powerful high compression engines, along with independent front suspension. In styling, they became much longer, lower and more elaborate. Lightweight chassis—less bodies were adopted, and the use of curved glass for the windshields and rear windows improved visibility a great deal.

Power steering, air conditioning, twin headlamps, and wrap-around windshields originated in the states during the early 1950s. Development of transistors led to the introduction of semiconductor ignition systems, which use electronic switching systems to control the ignition coil. Advances in technology allowed the use of higher compression ratios in fuel. Overhead valve and overhead camshaft designs, with improved fuel systems (including fuel injection) along with better ignition system performance contributed to engine power outputs. The results improved the acceleration, speed, road holding and braking of a car. Disc brakes, less prone to failure from overheating than drum brakes, at last became widely accepted. The introduction of new plastic materials for interior trim was a great asset for the stylists, and a wide range of color schemes became available to match the body colors.

Car design in the 1960s was greatly influenced by the new interest in safety and pollution control. Cars had to be built to comply with the strict new safety and anti-pollution laws of the United States, which were gradually adopted by many other countries. In addition to improved performance, cars became even more comfortable and easier to drive. Heating and ventilating equipment became standard on even the small cheap cars where it had previously been available, if at all, as an extra. Automatic transmission, power brakes and power steering gained widespread acceptance. The electrical system was improved by the introduction of the alternator to replace the dynamo, and the use of circuit breakers instead of fuses. One important development in engine design was the invention of the “wankel” engine, which had a single three-lobed driving rotor instead of the conventional pistons and crankshaft. This helped to develop prototypes that were light, compact, powerful and smooth running.

In the 1970s the US passed the Clean Air Act, with the immediate result of forcing cars to install positive crankcase ventilation. In 1975, the catalytic converter was adopted for most American cars and many imports as a means to fight fuel consumption. Computers began to play an important role in car construction, as in everything else and it was only natural for automobile manufacturers to install on-board computers into their vehicles. It is, after all, the only practical method of monitoring all the engine variables at once. A computer can now control the speed of the car and determine when something is wrong as well as let us know about any unacceptable feedback, from the seat belts being unfastened to the key being left in the lock.

From 1860, when the spark plug was invented, to 2006 and cars that can parallel park themselves, automobiles have emerged as a method of transportation that can be as individualized as our own personalities. The automobile has impacted every facet of our life for decades and will continue to do so as move into the future.

Article written by Audrey Robinson and Richard Ellinwood of the NECCM Education Committee. Reprinted courtesy of The Evening Sun, Norwich, NY.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

1965 Mustang Raffle Tickets Now for Sale!

Tickets for this year's raffle car - a beautiful 1965 Mustang Convertible in Raven Black with a Red Interior - are now available. Order your tickets by calling 607-334-2886, use secure Google Checkout, or use our printable order form

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Built for Speed...Race Cars from Days Gone By

The Northeast Classic Car Museum is proud to announce the opening of their new exhibit – Built for Speed...Race Cars from Days Gone By- on Saturday, May 15, 2010. The new exhibit will feature over 20 race cars from various categories, including drag, sprint, midget, NASCAR, ARCA, Indy, and dirt.

Of special interest are Richard Petty’s NASCAR truck and Mario Andretti’s first race car ever – a midget. Local racing enthusiasts will recognize area race cars from members of the Midstate Antique Stock Car Club. The exhibit will remain in place through April 2011.

Additionally, the Museum will refresh their Post-War Collection exhibit. This exhibit, opened in May 2009, currently features cars of the late 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. 13 incoming models - including a ’68 Shelby GT 500, ’70 Chevelle, and ’71 Challenger - will join 23 old favorites on display.

The Northeast Classic Car Museum displays a total of nearly 150 vehicles in 5 buildings. The Museum is located at 24 Rexford Street, Norwich, NY, and is open 7 days per week from 9am-5pm. For more information, call 607-334-2886.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

History of the Automobile, Part IV

*1924 Stanley Steamer currently on display at the Northeast Classic Car Museum.

The mission of the Northeast Classic Car Museum consists of educating the public on different aspects of the automobile and its history throughout the years. This is the 4th in a series of 5, originally published in the Norwich Evening Sun in 2006.

As early as 1600, the Dutch, no strangers to wind power, had built a wind-powered, sail mounted carriage. These carriages were reported to hold several passengers and move at speeds as high as twenty miles per hour. While the Dutch dreamed in terms of the wind, others were thinking of other means of propulsion. In the 1700s, a vehicle was built that was powered by an engine based on the workings of a clock. What the inventors neglected to calculate, however, was that any clock that was capable of moving a vehicle with passengers would have to outweigh the load it was carrying.

Inventors in England, France, Germany and other countries worked on the idea of a compressed-air engine, but they were unable to find the solution to self-propulsion by this means. However, in their efforts, they contributed significant individual elements to the picture; elements like valves, pistons, cylinders, and connecting rods, and an emerging idea of how each of these elements related to each other. The first invention that can truly and logically be called an “automobile” was a heavy, three-wheeled, steam-driven, clumsy vehicle built in 1769. This mechanism was slow, ponderous, and only moved by fits and starts. In tests, it carried four passengers at a slow pace – a little over two miles per hour – and had to stop every twenty minutes to build a fresh head of steam.

The first electric-powered road vehicle was built around 1839 and was, along with others built within the next several years, generally unsuccessful. The steam-powered engine had to wait for a boiler to build up pressure and was very noisy. The concept of an electrical engine that could start immediately and run quietly was very attractive, but there were disadvantages. In 1880, there was a general improvement in the development of longer-lasting batteries. There still existed, however, excessive weight and bulk of the batteries and the need for frequent charging.

In the American car world at the turn of the century, “steamers” and electric cars gained their most sustained measure of success. There were approximately 1,681 steam-powered automobiles and 1,575 electrically-powered ones. Only 936 of the cars relied on a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. But, as the number of car drivers grew, they noticed that steam cars took 20 to 45 minutes to heat up and raise enough pressure to start, while the internal combustion engine started almost immediately. The electric cars started promptly, too, but they were expensive, slow and could only go about one-third as far as an internal combustion car before the battery ran down.

Eventually twenty different companies would produce electric cars and in the peak of their popularity, nearly 35,000 were operating on American roads. “Steamers” were actually more popular with more than 100 American plants producing them. The most famous was manufactured by the Stanley brothers in Newton, Massachusetts. In 1906, a Stanley Steamer was clocked at 127.6 miles per hour. In spite of this, these cars, along with the electrics, were only living on borrowed time. Steam, electricity, and gasoline-powered autos competed for decades, with gasoline internal combustion engines achieving dominance in the 1910s. In the early 1900s a system was developed that specified front-engine, rear-wheel drive internal combustion cars with a sliding gear transmission. Development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to a huge number of small manufacturers all competing to gain the world’s attention.

After World War II, integrated fenders and fully-closed bodies began to dominate sales, with the new sedan body style even incorporating a trunk at the rear for storage. Most of the technology used in automobiles had been invented, although it was often re-invented again at a later date. Throughout the 1950s, engine power and vehicle speeds rose, designs became more integrated and artful, and cars spread across the world. In America, performance was the hot sell of the 1960s, with the gas turbine and the turbocharger being a hot sell. Some particularly notable advances in modern times were the wide spread of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, the addition of the V6 engine configuration, and the presence of fuel injection. The 1970s saw rapidly rising fuel efficiency and engine output. Once the automobile emissions concerns of the 1970s were conquered with computerized engine management systems, power began to rise rapidly.

New technologies and fuels are following in the wake of those early experiments, and some – like hydrogen – may prove more fantastic that we had ever dreamed.

Article written by Audrey Robinson and Richard Ellinwood of the NECCM Education Committee. Reprinted courtesy of The Evening Sun, Norwich, NY.

1929 Rolls Royce 20/25 for Sale

Take a look at this 1929 Rolls Royce, being offered for sale by the Museum on E-Bay!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

1975 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight For Sale

The Northeast Classic Car Museum is offering a 1975 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight for sale on E-Bay now. Check it out here.