2019 British Car Show, Sydney

Yesterday I attended the 2019 British Car Show at the Kings School.   This is still, in my opinion, the premier car show in Sydney each year.    It was a lovely day, with summer like weather and a big turn out of cars.

I didn’t display a car this year.   Last year, I displayed my E-Type.   However,  the Jaguars now come in a different way over a series of rather large speed humps.   I don’t think my stainless steel exhaust system will last very long given how badly it scraped last year.    This change is because the show has been consolidated into two paddocks instead of one, with the top paddock now dedicated to seating and food carts.     This change is not for the better, but it does not look like it will be reversed.   A friend of mine at the show was following an Austin Healey on his way in, which also scraped on these same speed humps.

The highlight for me was an amazing Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.    The detail in this car was incredible, and it must have been even more incredible for people used to horse and carts to see it when new.   Great details abounded from the wheel trims, gauges, walking stick and umbrella holder.  From the mascot, I am thinking it might have been one of the ‘Alpine Eagle’ models.  I saw one of these started when I was in the UK last time.

2019 British Car Show, Alpine Eagle

Rolls Royce

As usual the Jaguar Display was quite good, although it seemed smaller than in previous years.   There were also some other great Rolls Royce’s, as well as the other popular British marques.   In Addition, there were a couple of interesting chassis only displays, a Daimler and a Triumph from memory.   There were some nice cars in the Bentley section too.  In particular a 6 1/2 liter WO and a lovely red S3.

All in all, the 2019 British Car Show was another great day.

 

M117 lower oil pan replacement

One of the things I noticed when I first changed the oil on my 560SEC was the dent in the lower oil pan.   Presumably it hit a curb or rock at some point.    It was also leaking.   the dent was likely too small to interfere with the oil pump, or oil pickup but I wanted to be sure.   The M117 lower oil pan can be changed without removing anything else.   It made sense to replace it with a new one to make sure there is no impact on the engine and to stop the leaks.

M117 lower oil pan

As it was about time to change the oil, it seemed like a good time to change it.   There are 20 little bolts holding on the M117 lower oil pan.    Not all of them are the same length so  I built a template to make it easier to replace them.  These bolts have a small allen head.   One of them near the A/C compressor also has a nut on the other side.

M117 lower oil pan boltsIt was not difficult to remove the oil pan.  Whoever had installed it last time had not used a gasket.   This is probably why it was leaking.   Once I removed the pan, I was interested to see what was waiting for me in the bottom of the engine.   The good news is that there was no sludgy oil or pieces of bearing.   The bad news is that there was a quite big lipped washer in there.   I have no idea where it came from.   I have posted on a few forums to see if anyone can identify it.   Not surprisingly, there was also a small piece of chain guide.   When I had the timing chain replaced, one of the guides had already broken.   Please comment below if you know where that washer might have come from.

M117 lower oil pan

With the M117 lower oil pan removed, I could see into the bottom of the engine.  This included the oil pan, bearing caps, crankshaft etc.   I could see some scoring on the walls of the upper pan.  I am not sure if this is previous damage or how these engines come.

M117 oil pumpInstalling the M117 lower oil pan is not difficult.   I used some gasket sealer as well as the gasket.   It would have been helpful to have an assistant though.   While I cleaned the surface of the upper oil pan thoroughly, just as I was putting the new pan on, a drop of oil came down out of the engine and contaminated my sealant and gasket.   I hope it doesn’t make a big difference.  Having an assistant would have allowed that person to quickly hold up the pan and me screw in the first couple of bolts by hand.

The torque setting is 11nm, but for some reason by torque wrench didn’t seem to be working, so I did it by feel.   Not ideal, but hopefully ok.   I will re-fill it with oil and change the filter tomorrow.   Hopefully no leaks!   While I was at it, I put in a new drain plug and washer.

M117 lower oil pan done

while I was in the area, I also replaced the steering shock.   It is literally a 5 minute job.   Two 17mm nut/bolts and its off.   Looks blue thread locker was used before, so when replacing the bolts I used some as well.   The old steering shock had no resistance at all, so I am glad I changed it.     Slowly I am getting through all the jobs needed to turn this 560SEC into a nice car.

old/new steering shocks

Classic Auto Sound Becker tribute radio part 2

Today I completed the install of the Classic Auto Sound Becker Tribute.   In the first part, I removed the old Clarion, and installed the the Retrosound wiring harness.   I also tested the radio and it was working fine.   The new radio looks great and is a huge improvement over the Clarion CD player.

Becker Tribute

Installation Step 4:  Convert the Becker Tribute radio to DIN

At some point in its life, somebody cut the dashboard of my 250SE for DIN.   To fit the new radio, I also needed to order a DIN kit.   The radio was supposed to be already set up with the DIN kit from Classic Auto Sound, but I guess they forgot.   Not a big deal, as all the parts were included for the conversion.

The way DIN radios work is that a sleeve is placed in a standard size opening.   There are tabs in the sleeve that are bent into place to hold the sleve in.   There are also tabs to engage with the radio.   In order to engage the tabs, the radio needs to have the right hardware.

Becker Tribute

The photo above shows the DIN fittings on the right, and the original fittings on the left.   The DIN radio also needs to fit through the standard opening, so the tabs that can be seen below sticking up from the frame of the radio also needed to be cut off with a dremel tool.  The DIN sleeve can be seen in the background behind.

Becker Tribute

Installation Step 5:  Mounting the Bluetooth Microphone and USB port

One nice feature of this radio is the Bluetooth feature.   Not only can you stream music via Bluetooth, but you can also use the radio as a phone hands free kit.   There is a microphone supplied for the hands free.

Originally, the W111 Coupe/Cabriolet models had a single speaker mounted in the top of the dash.   This speaker is covered by a rather attractive wooden grille.  My car has been set up to use four speakers, so there is no speaker under that grille.   This was a perfect place to mount the little microphone.   In order to do so, I made a simple bracket.

Becker Tribute

At some point it looks like somebody has tried to fit a bigger set of speakers and has hacked the metal around the factory speaker space.   Even at the bottom of the depreciation curve, W111 Cabriolets were always worth money but this didn’t stop people hacking the cars.   Still, my car is less hacked than many.

The wooden grille just slots into place, so the USB port can be easily accessed.  I have a mini 8Gb USB stick with my entire music collection in the car.

Installation Step 6:  Final installation

The final installation is rather simple.   I installed the DIN cage and pushed the radio into place.   I also took the time to fix the front interior light on the drivers side.  This is a standard Bosch part shared with some VWs.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to remove the radio again to fix a bad connection as I fired it up and straight away heard the unmistakable riff of Cream’s ‘White Room’.   Sounded really good – better than the old radio for sure.     I also called my brother in Perth and the USB microphone seems to work quite well as I have mounted it.

Final Thoughts

Overall I am really happy with the Becker Tribute radio.   It’s made a huge difference to the looks of my 250SE and it sounds great.   I’ve also got USB music and Bluetooth streaming for long trips.   If you look carefully through the original speaker grille, you can see my bracket, so I may install some mesh to hide it.

Retrosound make great units, but there are areas for improvement:

  • There is not much room in the dash of many classic cars, so instead of having the amp leads, additional inputs etc hanging out of the back of the radio, these should be on a detachable harness.
  • Since most classics have battery disconnect switches, the non volatile memory should not only be available in the top of the range radios with DAB+ etc.   I would estimate far more classic car owners use battery switches than install an amp, yet even the basic models have provision for an amp.
  • The radio should not default to multi-colour, it should default to white.
  • It would be great if the buttons were customizable so they could have LMKU markings on them like the original radios.

Despite those improvement areas, I am really happy with this upgrade.  I would purchase another Retrosound product from Classic Auto Sound.

Classic Auto Sound Becker tribute radio part 1

I have been wanting to change the radio in the 250SE since I have owned the car.    It was a basic Clarion unit that looked totally out of place.   The dashboard in my car has been cut to DIN size, meaning going back to the original Becker wasn’t really an option.    Unfortunately many W111’s had their dashboards cut up in the 70s and 80s as owners demanded cassette decks and CD players.

My plan was to customize a Retrosound radio with a real Becker face plate.   I even went to the point of purchasing the face plate about 18 months ago.   At the time,  I hadn’t worked out how I would adapt the radio to the face plate.   The buttons were too small for the model 2 and the screen did not quite line up.    Unlike some of their other face plates, which are excellent, the standard Retrosound Becker face plate looks very little like the original Becker.

Last week I discovered that a local Retrosound dealer, Classic Auto Sound, had done exactly what I had in mind, but much better!  Not only had they adapted the face plate, but they had put in a (non moving) pointer for the radio station.    Since I last looked at this, Retrosound has launched the Redondo model.   This model is meant for Mopars, but it is more adaptable to the Becker face plate.  This is because the buttons and screen can be separated the buttons are larger.   Classic Auto Sound have adapted the Redondo and the Becker face plate to form their Tribute radio.

The price to purchase the radio from Classic Auto sound with their modifications was reasonable factoring in the cost of the Retrosound radio, the face plate, the assembly etc.   I therefore decided to purchase this radio for the 250SE, and perhaps use the faceplate I have already purchased in the 450SLC at some other point.   It would have also had a Becker radio, although a Mexico cassette deck.

Classic Auto Sound Becker Tribute

Classic Auto Sound Becker Tribute options

In purchasing the radio, there are a few options.   The first is the name plate above the radio station selector.   The options are:

  • Becker Europa
  • Becker Europa II Stereo
  • Becker Europa TR
  • Becker Grand Prix
  • Becker Grand Prix Stereo
  • Becker Europa Kurier

The Heckflosse Homepage has an options list for 1966 Fintail models.   The options available (in Europe) for 1966 were Becker Europa, Becker Grand Prix and Becker Mexico.   I also have an extensive photo library I have built up of W111 Coupe/Cabriolets for sale in Australia.   Based on this, I went with the Grand Prix as I figured it was the higher end model that the Europa, and more likely to be specified on an expensive car like the 250SE.   Some of the other options available are more applicable to later cars (e.g. W108, W114 etc).

Different knobs are also available.   I chose the ones closest to the original radio.

The next option was to choose the Retrosound hardware option.   The choices are Motor 2, Motor 7 and Motor 6.    Motor 2 already gives you USB, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming.  Upgrading to Motor 7 is $110, and Motor 6 is $220 more.    I went with Motor 2.     Motor 7 gives you DAB+ and more input connections.   DAB+ is not really that interesting to me as it hasn’t really taken off and streaming over the internet is probably going to be more relevant.    Confusingly, Motor 6 gives you all the benefits of Motor 7, plus non-volatile memory and iPod connectivity.    I was extremely tempted by Motor 6 as the non-volatile memory would be a great feature.  Since I disconnect the battery I loose settings on my other cars.  As the radio is already a bit over $800 with shipping and the DIN kit, I couldn’t justify the extra $220.

This will be my third Retrosound product.  I have the Model 1 in my E-Type and the Model 2 in my Citroen DS.    I am a big fan of their products.

Installation Step 1:  Removal of the Clarion unit

The Clarion unit was quite easy to remove.   The bezel just snaps off, as does the face plate.   As the Clarion is a DIN radio, the correct way is to remove it with the Clarion DIN tools.   I didn’t have those, but the longer blade on my Swiss army knife worked perfectly.   Perhaps there is an advantage it is so blunt now!

Once the Clarion was removed, the DIN frame is also removed.   This is also quite easy, as its just a matter of bending back the tabs with a small flat head screwdriver.   Then the wiring harness can be simply unplugged.

Classic Auto Sound

Installation Step 2: The Retrosound wiring harness

The wiring connections for the Retrosound radio are identical to what the Clarion was using.   My car is already set up for four speakers, accessory and power.   The Retrosound has a fuse built into the harness.   Therefore, I didn’t need the in line fuse from the Clarion installation.   In order to ensure I didn’t mix up any wires, as the actual speaker wires were the same colour on each side, I cut one wire at a time, and connected it to the correct wire on the retrosound harness.    Starting with the speakers, then the power/ground connections.   I prefer to use crimp connections than solder.

Retrosound

I also used some cable ties to tidy up the wires.   The retrosound also has a couple of amplifier wires that I will not be using.

Installation Step 3:  Test the wiring

I needed to make sure the radio is wired up properly before I started worrying about the DIN frame, the Bluetooth speaker, USB etc.  The Antenna cable didn’t reach that long, but the wiring harness is long enough to test the radio on the transmission tunnel.   The test was successful and the radio powers up and I can hear static from the speakers in radio mode.   Tomorrow I will bring a USB stick of music to test properly.

Classic Auto Sound BeckerI will complete the installation tomorrow.   This will include adapting the radio for DIN, installing the DIN frame, mounting up the speaker and USB port, and finally installing the radio.   I will be driving the 250SE to Canberra in a couple of weeks, giving a great opportunity to test this radio out on a long drive.

Click here for part 2.

Four post hoist oil drippage

I installed a double four post hoist late last year.   Overall, I have been happy with the hoist.  It is a very tight fit in my space, but it is worth being able to store cars more effectively.  It also allows me to rent out a couple of spots to help cover my costs.

The major problem I have is oil drippage from the cars above.   Cars that are over 40 years old are going to have some level of oil leaks even when well maintained.   The hoist came with drip trays, but there are not enough to cover engine, transmission, diff etc.   I have also seen oil dripping between the two.   Belying the popular reputation, the 450SLC is far worse than the E-type jag when it comes to minor oil leaks.    I had been placing towels on the roofs of the lower cars, but this isn’t a great solution.

Hero Hoists do offer an add on package of metal pieces to fill the gaps in the hoists, as well as more drip trays.   I wasn’t as keen on more drip trays for the reason above, and the metal pieces are quite expensive.   They would also not work in my case as my ramps are not in the usual position.

My solution was to buy some plywood and cut it to size.  I could then place the drip trays above the plywood, and even put some cardboard down on it if necessary.   The plywood would not be thick enough to handle any real weight, but it would be sufficient to hold some drip trays.   To ensure it didn’t look really ugly, I painted it flat black.

Oil drippage

 

I was able to get enough coverage with three large pieces of ply wood.   I probably should have cut it about 2mm smaller in the end.  It bends a little when installed.  I had cut it exactly to size as I wanted a tight fit.     It looks quite unobtrusive.   I already plan to add some LED strip lighting below the ramps, as these pieces will make it even darker under there.    The 450SLC is off having a new steering coupling installed, so when I pick it up later this week I will see how well this system solves my oil drippage problem.   I will also install the panels on the other side, once I have fitted a new battery to the Jag.

S211 Tail light replacement

The Mercedes-Benz E Class wagon is not particularly common.  It would appear that most buyers opted for the ML/GLE model.   Their loss as I believe the S211 is the far better car, unless you want to tow.    This makes spare parts a bit more tricky, when those parts are not shared with the sedan.   In this case, the tail light lens was broken and needed replacement.   Even a used unit was hundreds of dollars.   Dealer parts here in Australia from Mercedes-Benz are eye wateringly expensive.    Luckily the part is the same on US cars, and i was able to source a brand new S211 tail light from the USA at a much more reasonable cost.

S211 Tail light replacement Changing the S211 tail light is a doddle.   The compartment for the first aid kit is opened up and the four nuts that hold it in are exposed.   All that is required is a socket set with an extension.   Due to the cracks, it smelt like water had been getting into through the assembly.   Certainly, the tail light itself was full of water.    As there are a lot of electrics in this area, it is good to get it changed out.

S211 Tail light

Unlike the cars I am more used to, the S211 tail light is an entire assembly that is changed.   There is not a separate lens, bulbs, gasket etc like the older cars.    There is no outer gasket either.  The S211 tail light I removed from the car was dated 2010, so the car was obviously in a minor accident at some point.   I couldn’t see evidence of any major crash damage though.

S211 Tail light

The overall time to change the unit out was about 10 minutes,  an easy job for anyone to do at home.    It is important to check the right part number.  The later cars like mine have an updated look so require a different tail light than the earlier ones.   The electronic parts catalogue helps with this.

S211 Tail light

Mercedes self-leveling rear suspension flush

A common feature of Mercedes cars from the mid 70s through the mid 2000s is the self-leveling rear suspension.   This system is standard on the wagons, but was commonly specified on the higher end sedans too.   Mercedes-Benz Australia was particularly keen on the system fitting it to coupes and even mid size saloons.

The system ensures that even with a heavy load in the rear of the car, the suspension remains level.    Keeping the car level improves handling and safety.   It is actually quite a simple system, derived from the more complex system on the 6.9.   This system, in turn was based on the Citroen DS suspension.   At the rear of the car, there are struts for the self-leveling rear suspension.  These replace the shock absorbers.  The struts use hydraulic pressure, from a pump attached to the engine.  Unlike the 6.9 or the DS, there are springs, but they are quite soft as the strut does most of the work.

As these cars have aged, the self-leveling rear suspension rarely gets any maintenance.    The hydraulic fluid should be changed periodically and is a filter in the reservoir too.   This can be cleaned or replaced.

I was not sure when this was last done on my W126 cars.   I purchased a couple of filters and a few bottles of the correct hydraulic fluid.   The 300SE was first.   The filter is easily removed from the top of the reservoir.   This allows access to the fluid, which I removed with a turkey baster.   I then used a rag to clean out the inside of the reservoir, before topping it off with clean fluid.

To flush the system, an 8mm hose can be attached to the return line.   The engine is started and the fluid is gently pumped through.   Unlike the power steering system, the fluid volume at idle is quite slow and the job can be done with one person.   Once all the dirty fluid is pumped through the system, the engine is be stopped and the reservoir topped off to the correct level.

self-leveling rear suspension flush

After the flush, the new filter is fitted and the return line re-connected.   The new fluid is almost clear, a big difference to the brown colour of the old fluid.   The old fluid seemed a bit thicker too.  The old fluid can be seen in the coke bottles in the photo below.

self-leveling rear suspension filter

I probably could have gotten away with cleaning the existing filter, but I didn’t know how old it was, so I replaced it.

From there, I moved on to the 560SEC to repeat the procedure.   The fluid in the 560SEC was a bit cleaner, but it had a greenish hue.  Almost like there was a little LHM in there.

560SEC self-leveling rear suspension flush

The same procedure worked well for both cars, and I used about four litres of the fluid overall.   I flushed the 560 for a bit longer as I was still getting the greenish colour through the system.

560SEC self-leveling rear suspension flush

It is a bit hard to see, but the old fluid from the 300SE had more particles suspended in it – it is a bit browner.   It is the one in the coke bottle, the SEC fluid is the one in the water bottle.   Both were quite dirty and I am glad I have done this simple procedure.  I was able to do both cars in about 40 minutes.

Fluid comparison

W126 Sedan Bonnet Insulation

A few months ago I replaced the under bonnet insulation pad on my 560SEC.   This job also needed doing on the 300SE.   I purchased both pads at the same time, and finally got a chance to do the second one today.   Note, if you’re looking for more information on forums, American sites will refer to this as a hood pad.    There are youtube videos by Kent Bergsma and Pierre Hedary on Hood Pad replacement.

For the 560SEC, I had a genuine Mercedes part.    The coupe is different to the sedan.   For the 300SE, I have one made by Febi.   Unlike the genuine pad I put on the 560SEC, the Febi pad is smooth.   The fit was very good – it did not need any trimming.

The procedure is the same as before – first step is to scrape off the remains of the old one.    There was a lot more debris on the 300SE.   You could also see where somebody had tried to use some sealant on the edges to try and glue it back up in vain.

Hood Pad removal

As with the 560SEC, I used an old bed sheet (the same one) to catch the debris.   I also used a plastic tool to scrape the old one so as not to gouge hole in the paint.    It is not essential to get every last trace of the old pad off.   if it is not coming off with a plastic scraper, the glue will stick to it just fine.

Scrape off old Hood Pad

The bedsheet also makes collecting the debris into a rubbish bin rather easy.   A queen size sheet means the whole engine bay is covered.  Three months later, the 560 pad is still holding well.  Based on that, I used the same Seallys Kwik Grip Vertical Gel.   This product is rated to 130C.   If the temperature near the insulation gets above that, the engine is well and truly cooked and the insulation is the least of my concern.   It spreads on easily with a 7mm nitrite glove and being the gel doesn’t drip down when being applied.

Hood pad, butter

The gel product does look a lot like I have applied butter to a rather large piece of toast.   As with the 560, I used 1.5 800g cans   The leftover half can from May was a little runnier than the new can, so I used it on the pad rather than the bonnet.

While applying the pad, I found it easier to put the bonnet in the normal position.   When fully vertical, I could not reach the top very well.  Once finished, I put the bonnet vertical as I figured it would dry better that way.   I will be using the E350 for the next couple of days to allow it properly dry.    This job should protect the paint and reduce the noise on the 300SE.   As with the 560, I was able to do this on my own with relative ease.

Hood pad finished

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid Review

The rental car I had for my recent trip to Texas was a 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid.   Like with my recent Challenger rental, I had the opportunity to choose any car in a certain section.   Unlike the last choice, the choices were not nearly as appetizing.

I had only rented an intermediate class car, so most of what was available was particularly unpleasant looking ‘crossovers’.    These were immediately ruled out.   That left me with either the choice of two different pickup trucks, or a Chevy Malibu or the Fusion Hybrid.   I might have been in Texas, the spiritual home of the pickup, but I had no need for such a vehicle.   Pickps are lousy to drive unless you need to haul a bunch of stuff in the back.  That ruled out the pickups.    I rented the Malibu recently, so the least worst option was the fusion.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Like many modern cars, the Fusion has extremely raked windscreens.   Visibility is not great until you put the seat down to its lowest setting.      After that, the visibility was pretty good.     It would want to be as the reversing camera has this tiny little baby screen.     The infotainment system was a real let down in this car.   I could plug in my iPhone and it would detect it, after a while.   The system was really sluggish and you would need to wait a bit after the car was turned on before it would recognize the phone.     Sometimes getting it to do so would require the media button to be pressed a few times to clear the error messages about no phone connected via bluetooth.     Randomly, the whole unit would lock up and the phone had to be removed and plugged back in to reset it.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid comes equipped with a 2.0l Duratec 4 cylinder motor.   It sounds rather gruff when pushed, but is adequate to power the car.   It is also equipped with an electric motor for the hybrid system.   I didn’t find the electric motor much use though.   Even feathering the throttle on takeoff caused the petrol engine to kick in.   I could only get the car to say on electric either when coasting at a constant speed below 45mph, or on trailing throttle.

Being a hybrid, it got better fuel consumption figures around town than on the highway.   The hybrid system works better in constant stop/go traffic where the regenerative braking comes into play.   I suspect it actually causes the car to be less efficient at motorway speeds as it just adds weight to the vehicle.     Overall, I experienced 36mpg out of the car.    One of the trip meters still had a few thousand miles since reset and over that time the car was getting 37mpg.   I wonder how much the hybrid system really adds to this in the real world.   The official figure is 47mpg, which seems laughable.

The car prompts you to try and embrace the hybrid lifestyle.  You can change the contents of the display screens either side of the speedometer.   These can show things like acceleration and brake coaches to try and improve mileage.    The strangest thing though was a feature called efficiency leaves.   As far as I could tell, by driving the way the car liked, you could earn more leaves and by driving in a way the car disapproves you would lose them.    It was like Jack had a feral beanstalk.    No longer is an axe required, just a Ford Fusion Hybrid driven like a granny.    Feral beanstalks aside, the most annoying part was the message thanking you for driving a hybrid after you powered down the car.    This has to be up there with some of the particularly annoying greetings some cars provide.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Boot space is reasonable, but a very odd shape.   Not sure if this is the case for all Fusions, or if this is to do with the Hybrid batteries or drivetrain.   Interior comfort is fairly average, back seat room was ok with the front seat set for a tall drive, but not great.    The best feature was the side mirrors.   they had a little section in the corner with curved glass to help show you what is in the blind spots.   Once you got used to them the worked really well.   if only all cars have this.

The ride was choppy and the car bounced all over the place on a somewhat rough road.   I suspect that has something to do with the trend of fitting bigger and bigger wheels to cars.   No give in the tyres anymore.   This is a family sedan, not a 911.

Overall the Ford Fusion Hybrid is reasonably competent, but the fuel mileage is not as good as it should be in the real world.   It is generally uninspiring to drive.    It is certainly much better than that EcoSport I drove last year.     The 2019 Fusion will be the last regular car in Ford’s line up as they move to an all SUV/Truck strategy (Mustang excluded).   Apparently the name may be re-used for something else.   Seems a shame for it to all end on something rather boring.

Score:  2.5/5

Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum

The final stop for my North Texas car museum road trip was the Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum.    I managed to get to the Museum at just after 4PM, giving me just under an hour to check it out.   You wouldn’t want any less time – there are about 30 cars as well as an interesting art collection.   The art collection has objects that date back to 800BC.

The museum is open once a week on Saturdays and the owner is on hand to talk about his collection.   I found him to be very friendly and he told me about the art collection and the cars, and how he accumulated both over the years.    Apparently he originally kept the collection in Dallas, but after he retired he returned to Clifton and bought a disused grocery store to start the museum.

The theme of the collection is American luxury.   All but three of the cars are part of the owner’s collection.   In particular there is a great collection of Cadillacs.   There are three 1960 models lined up for comparison.   1960 is my favorite year, I really enjoy the fins with the built in tail lights.    There are also some nice models from the 50s and 70s.

The cars at the museum are all working, they are started and moved weekly and taken on drives from time to time.   I find it a shame when museums don’t use their cars and let them deteriorate through lack of use.

There is a really striking 60s Oldsmobile, the head turning Mercury turnpike cruiser, a Corvette, Buicks, Lincolns and more.    Some of these are the models that are not seen as much anymore, the four door cars are often used up and not saved.  I enjoy 50s and 60s American luxury.  The trip to the Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum was well worth it.