Saratoga Silver Arrow auto orgy in L.A.
These were not the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows, these were 40-odd members of the Silver Arrow Society of the Saratoga Automobile Museum (N.Y.) who last week saw as much of southern California's automobile culture as could be stuffed into four days. We started on Thursday at the Nethercutt Auto Museum and Restoration facility (two separate purpose-built structures). I have no recollection of how many best-in-class and best-in-show Pebble Beach and other Concours their cars have won but they must be at or among the world leaders. Check its website for an idea, divided into the antique, classic, vintage and post-war eras. The Collection has 14 full-time employees including 5 in the restoration building, their own cafeteria, health plan, etc.! Also contains a stunning collection of musical instruments including many self-playing pianos and a magnificent pipe organ.
Thence to the Galpin Auto Sports Museum. Galpin is the largest Ford dealership in the world, also sells BMWs and Aston-Martins. A lovely and valuable collection with emphasis on automobiles created by Ed Roth. [website!] Thursday evening to a buffet dinner at SONY Pictures Studios and a hugely worthwhile auction in support of the 11-99 Fund (11-99 being the Calif Highway patrol call for back-up) to help families, widows and orphans, of officers lost in line of duty. Followed by a pre-release private screening of Tom Hanks' new film 'Inferno'.
Friday morning to Jay Leno's Garage for a tour guided by Jay himself who could not have been more gracious and relaxed-friendly. Three (I think) very large warehouses filled with several hundred cars of which my favorite was a 1970s era Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman in a rich tobacco-brown paint.
Afternoon to Aaron Weiss' Collection [see website], largely Marmons, Cadillacs and the like. Gorgeous cars, magnificently restored and concours-winning. Then a pre-dinner visit to Bruce Meyer's Collection [no website but click on Bruce Meyer's cars for photos of cars in his collection] right in the middle of downtown Beverly Hills. While more compact than our other visits, in one way this may have been my favorite since he had a magnificent silver 1959 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa that I had actually seen racing when I was in the Navy at NAS Alameda in California, driven by Richie Ginther and Josie von Neumann. Then to dinner all together at Via Aloro in Beverly Hills, splendid nourishment and vivid good company among interesting and interested car guys and girls.
Saturday to Oxnard to the Peter Mullen Museum [website] of which you may have read if you were following the auction a couple of years ago of the Type 57SC Bugatti Atalante, rumored to have gone to Mullen for above $40 MM. This was another very special place, another very large world-class collection focusing principally on pre-WWII French automobiles, Bugattis, Hispano-Suizas, Talbot-Lagos, Delages, Delahayes and Voisins. Oddly, many of their Bugattis were out of the Museum, on loan to the Petersen Museum's Bugatti exhibition of which more in a bit. But Mullen also has a brilliant collection of sculpture and furniture by Jean Bugatti, Ettore's brother.
In the afternoon to two smaller and more modest collections, very interesting nevertheless: Michael Malamut and Ray Scherr [check them both on line]. And Sunday to the Petersen for their regular 'Cars and Coffee' from 10-11 AM, then into the Museum itself, three floors of exhibition space, again go on line to see what's there now, a dazzling Museum and dazzling current exhibition. We then had a private guided tour of the Petersen's 'vault' the large collection of cars owned by the Museum but not presently on exhibition. If I told you what we saw there they would have to kill me. :-( Suffice to say some exceedingly rare cars, many with incredibly important historical and/or political significance.
Altogether, four mind-blowing days including five nights at the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel, most meals, a large and comfortable motor coach to ferry us hither and yon, and well worth the mid-four figure cost for two people, plus travel and the Silver Arrow membership of an annual gift of at least $1,000. to the Saratoga Automobile Museum.
Our Silver Arrow Committee is considering a trip in 2017 to the Monterey/Pebble Beach/Laguna Seca automobile madness. One does not need to be a resident of Saratoga Springs to be a Silver Arrow. Just the tax-deductible $1000. gift annually to the Museum.
575M F1, Maserati Spyder, Cadillac STS-V & CTS
past: 330/365GTC speciale, F355b, 412GT, 400iA, 308GT4 2+2, 330GT 2+2, Porsche 356b Super 90, BMW 1800ti
what do I know? I drive blue Ferraris