Combining Christmas and cars is a fabulous recipe for a good time. Recently we visited the The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania and spent a couple of hours enjoying their extensive antique car collection as well as the pretty decorations. The staff at the museum has done a wonderful job decorating for the holidays.
When you first drive up to the museum you can’t help but smile as Sammy the Snowplow smiles back at you. Hop out of your car and make a beeline to the front door an you will know you are in Hershey by the 12-foot tall Hershey’s Kissmobile that is parked out front. The Kissmobile is one of three that was built by Prototype Source to promote Hershey’s Chocolate and to raise donations for the Children’s Miracle Network.
The AACA Museum owns many of the vehicles on display. Some of these include a 1923 Nash 48 5-Passenger Touring Car and a 1912 Cadillac 5-Passenger Touring Car. The museum also creates different scenes where they display automobile and motorcycle items.
Everywhere we looked there were reminders of Christmas. Christmas trees showed up in many of the museum's scenes. We were even treated to a screening of the Grinch at the Drive-In. For that little car themed extra, how about the original Ernie’s Taxi from “It’s a Wonderful Life”? The 1930 GMC Model “06” Taxi Cab is on loan to the museum from Nicola Bulgari for the holiday season.
The Museum is constantly changing what vehicles are on display. I find a new favorite every time we visit the AACA Museum. On this trip it was a 1960 Ford Thunderbird made from stainless steel! Two of these cars were built by the Allegheny Ludlum Steel Division to showcase the attributes of stainless steel. This one is on loan to the museum from ATI Allegheny Ludlum.
What would Christmas be without toys? The museum is displaying a large collection of vintage toys for the holidays.
Cars were brought in with kids in mind. Robert Luczun’s 1928 Ford Car-Toon Truck is covered with cartoon characters from 1896 until the present. Over 3,000 hours went into painting them all. Herbie The Love Bug, on loan from the Swigart Antique Auto Museum, is the 1960 Volkswagen Beetle from the 1974 movie “Herbie Rides Again”. For bigger kids, there is the 1955 Flajole Forerunner. Designed by Bill Flajole, the car took over 7,000 hours to build at a cost of over $80,000. In today’s dollars that would be close to $663,000!
In the lower level of the AACA museum is the the Museum of Bus Transportation. Here you will find a nice collection buses. Pictured are just a few of the many on display. Photos are of a 1959 GM Coach from the movie “Forrest Gump”', a 1971 Continental Golden Eagle 05, a 1951 Fitzjohn FTG, 1929 Yellow Coach Model W and a 1927 Fageol.
One of the main reasons for visiting the AACA Museum was for Peg to see what the museum’s staff had done with all the PEZ that she had donated. A Christmas tree was decorated with the more than 100 dispensers from us and more from others. We both giggled as we saw they had put a card with our name next to the tree.
One of the last items Peg noticed was on the upper level. “It was so nice of them to put a bow on my present,” she said as she looked at a 1959 Allstate Super Cruisaire Scooter. Actually she wants a Vespa but the Sears model is almost identical except it doesn’t have a front wheel shock absorber.
We always enjoy our visits to the AACA Museum and we try to visit at least once a year. Check out their website for a list of special events. You can also register for their newsletter to be informed when new vehicles arrive.