In the News
January 30, 2012
SEAL COVE AUTO MUSEUM on the road again to the AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE on Sunday, March 11, 2012
We are delighted to report that once again one of our cars, the 1912 Crane, will be shown at the 17th Annual Amelia Island event. This benefit for the northeast Florida hospice will feature 250 outstanding antique cars from across the U.S. The Crane Motor Car Company built one of the most expensive cars in America with the bare chassis selling for $8,000–it had a six-cylinder engine and was very sophisticated in its design. Socialite Helen Hartley Jenkins of Madison Avenue, NYC, and “The Terraces” of Norfolk, CT, originally owned the SC Auto Museum’s Crane, from 1914-22. One of the wealthiest women in America, she originally paid $15,000 for the car. The Museum acquired it in 1986. The SC Auto Museum's Cordell Snow, Museum Senior Mechanic, along with helpers Tommy Alley and Dick Fox, are all working away on the engine and other details.
September 26, 2011
The Board of Directors of the Seal Cove Auto Museum has chosen Dr. Marilyn Solvay as its new executive director to succeed retiring executive director Roberto Rodriguez. Dr. Solvay’s background includes a PhD in Educational Studies from Lesley University in Cambridge, and an M.A. in Museum Studies from George Washington University. Since 2008, Marilyn has been serving as the Director and a faculty member of the Sullivan Museum and History Center, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont.
Marilyn’s interest in automobiles stems from her many years of teaching history, where the dawn of the automobile era played a major role in her courses. In fact, she was lured into the field of history by the automobile, as it was a course on Henry Ford at Temple University which excited her so much that she changed her major from journalism to history. Now, she looks forward to the moment when she gets her first driving lesson on one of the Auto Museum’s Model T Fords!
Marilyn has held positions at the Bostonian Society, the USS Constitution Museum, the Children’s Museum of Maine, the Dyer Library Association, Old Sturbridge Village, the New Hampshire Farm Museum, and Strawberry Banke.
In addition, Dr. Solvay has also taught American Studies at Lesley University, Franklin Pierce College, New England University and Baypath College. She has served on national museum committees including The Education Committee of the American Association of Museums, the Standards Committee for the American Association of State and Local History, and as a grant reader for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Recently she served for three years as a coordinator for a National Leadership Grant project on how families learn about history in small museums—testing out hands-on exhibit components, length of labels, types of images, and even how groups of visitors play games together!
Marilyn has lived in Maine for many years, but her dream was always to live on Mt. Desert Island, maybe because her hobbies include gardening, hiking, biking, walking, rollerblading, camping, and kayaking! She has three grown, talented children, and assorted animals. She is an avid fan of NPR and enjoys her daily doses of laughter!
July 26, 2011
Driver’s ED… In a stanley steamer!
(Left) Susan Davis of Kingfield Maine instructs Adrian Shooter from England in the operation of a Stanley steamer at the Seal Cove Auto Museum.
The Seal Cove Auto Museum’s prize 1914 Stanley Mountain Wagon is getting a work out as Susan Davis, Stanley driver, mechanic, and historian, instructs Mr. Adrian Shooter in the finer points of operating a steam powered vehicle.
Mr. Shooter, Chairman of Chiltern Railways in the United Kingdom, is an avid steam enthusiast and automobile collector. For fun, he owns and operates a private narrow gauge stream train along with a dedicated station and goods sheds. His locomotive is a Sharp Stewart 3518, No 19, that was originally sold to India’s Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. With a passion for automobiles and all things steam, it’s no wonder that he travelled all the way from England to Mount Desert Island and the Seal Cove Auto Museum to take Mrs. Davis’s three-day Stanley Steamer course.
Susan Davis acquired her knowledge of Stanley steam cars by founding the Stanley Museum in Kingfield, Maine, in 1981. Over the years, Mrs. Davis has driven Stanleys all over the US, England and Scotland, putting on as much as 1,000 miles a year. She is the only woman to have driven a steam car up Mt. Washington, which she has done three times, including driving down twice, the much more challenging task.
After teaching volunteers to drive over the years, Davis decided to systematize her course and offer it as a Stanley Steamer Driver’s Ed program. As a volunteer and trustee for the Seal Cove Auto Museum, she is pleased to provide this unusual course here at Seal Cove.
In addition to the Stanley steamer course, the Museum also offers a one day certification course in driving a Model T Ford. The courses are given one-on-one and scheduled to suit the student and instructor, interested parties should contact the Seal Cove Auto Museum at 244-9242
June 16, 2011
12 year old Aaron Yeiser shows off one of his 'natural material' creations, his interpretation of a Ford Model K. These wonderful models are for sale at the Museum's gift shop for $10. Aaron will be donating 50% of his proceeds to Friends of Acadia to help educate visitors about taking care of our natural resource. Aaron and his family live in Pennsylvania during the school year and spend their summers on Seal Cove Pond.
May 19, 2011
Sole surviving 1913 Stearns-Knight on display at the Seal Cove Auto Museum
Thanks to Seal Cove Auto Museum members Chris and Kathleen Koch of Palm Coast, Florida, and Trenton, Maine, the Museum has a fabulous new car on display for the season... a 1913 Stearns-Knight.
This magnificent Touring Car is the ONLY survivor from the 327 six cylinder Stearns-Knights built in 1913. It cost $5,000 when new, a fortune in 1913. The car was purchased out of the Harrah Collection of Reno, Nevada, and then restored to the condition you see it in today.
Frank B. Stearns built his first car in 1896 at the age of seventeen. The son of a wealthy Cleveland industrialist, Stearns began his automotive career in his machine shop located in the basement of his family's Euclid Avenue home. A man of wealth and refined tastes, his cars were known for their quality and style.
The Stearns is widely regarded as among the best cars of the early 20th century. Stearns-Knight automobiles were produced in Cleveland, Ohio, first by the F.B. Stearns Company from 1900 to 1925, and then under ownership by the Willys Overland Company of Toledo, Ohio until 1929.
The Koch’s Stearns was trailered to the Museum from their home in Florida just so it could be displayed at the Seal Cove, and also so that they can drive it in some Maine vintage car tours this season.
NEWS FLASH • MAY 10
Tuesday Tinkerers do it again... The 1922 Model T Ford Depot Hack came to life today at 4:20 pm after some 45 years of static display in the Museum. Runs smooth and strong. Next step is to get the gas tank cleaned, buy new tires, detail the car and have it ready to demonstrate and drive this season. (Thank you Cordell, Tommy, John, and Les).
May 3, 2011
Peugeot BACK after ‘GRAND tour’
The Seal Cove Auto Museum’s prize exhibit, the 1913 Peugeot Type 150 wooden bodied ‘skiff’ is back at the Museum, following a winter in Europe doing the ‘Grand Tour’.
The Peugeot, owned by the Richard Cushing Paine Jr., Automobile Collection Charitable Trust and on permanent display at the Seal Cove, made the long voyage to Paris last February to be shown in the Grand Palais at Retromobile, France’s premiere car show. Following Paris, the car went to the The Louwman Collection - Dutch National Motor Museum for display and then on to London for showing at Bonhams and the sea voyage back home.
Inspecting the car after her return, 30 Euro Cents in coins were found on the floor mat. Perhaps she was seen as a wishing well by her many European admirers? Although she can’t tell us about her adventures abroad, she can awe and inspire our visitors to the Museum.
From left to right, John Harding, Tommy Alley and Cordell Snow ease the Peugeot back into position at the Seal Cove Auto Museum following the car’s return from Europe where it has been on tour over the winter.
March 27, 2011
Seal Cove Auto Museum represented at 16th ANNUAL AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE.
Mount Desert Island – The Seal Cove Auto Museum was honored to be invited to show its ‘one of a kind’ 1915 F.R.P. at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance this year. The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is by invitation only. Amelia Chairman Bill Warner, who visited the Seal Cove Auto Museum in 2009 and fell in love with the F.R.P., invites only those vehicles that he feels best exemplify the annual theme and structure of the show.
Barbara Fox, President of the Museum’s Board of Directors, discusses the fine points of the Museum’s 1915 F.R.P. with Bar Harbor resident and noted car collector William Ruger at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Now in its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world and 20,000 enthusiasts to The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel for a celebration of the automobile like no other.
Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated nearly $1.7 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida’s First Coast.
The Museum’s entry was designed and built by Finlay Robertson Porter (F.R.P.), a native of Lowell, Ohio. Porter served as chief engineer at the Mercer Company from 1910 to 1914 and was the creator of the T-Head Raceabout. A major falling out with Mercer led to Porter’s resignation and his decision to strike out on his own. Using his initials to name his new creation, the F.R.P. was born. Sadly, Porter’s masterpieces were not commercially successful and with the advent of World War I, the F.R.P. factory closed and was taken over by the government. Porter went to work for the Division of Aeronautics in Ohio. The Seal Cove Auto Museum owns the only original F.R.P. known to exist.
February 25, 2011:
F.R.P. Progress... Getting ready for Amelia Island. Cordell writes: " We made several unsuccessful attempts to start the engine and yesterday decided to clean the carburetor. Good thing we did because we found the screens for the 3 needle valve adjustments were plugged. Today we worked on the fuel delivery system. We found the electric fuel pump was not delivering any fuel to the carburetor. We found the diaphram was completely shot and also found that when the car was restored a 6 volt pump was used on a 12 volt system. That shortend its life considerably. We got a new 12 volt pump at NAPA and installed it. We now have plenty of fuel to the engine. Now for the best news!!!!!!!! We started the engine and it runs fine. The only problem is the cone clutch and that is not a show stopper at all. We all plan to go back on Monday and finish a few loose ends and then detail the car. My goal is to have everything complete Monday night. All for now, Cordell"
February 5, 2011: Seal Cove Auto Museum’s Peugeot in Paris
Mount Desert Island – The Seal Cove Auto Museum’s fabulous 1913 Peugeot is currently wowing visitors to Retromobile, being held at Porte de Versailles in Paris, France. Retromobile is Europe's most prestigious classic car show, attracting over 120,000 visitors from around the World every year.
Built in 1913 as a Type 150 Peugeot, this magnificent automobile is an outstanding example of the coachbuilders’ art at its finest and was designed by Carosserie Henri Labourdette. Its beautifully sculpted ‘skiff'’ design is crafted in layers of mahogany mimicking the boat builder’s craft of that time. Manufactured by SA des Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot, Lille, France the car boasts a 40 HP, 4 cylinder, 7478 cc engine, with a single camshaft married to a 4-speed gearbox.
The car is in Europe thanks to an invitation from Bonhams, recognized as one of the most dynamic auction houses in the world today. As part of its European tour, the Peugeot was displayed at the The Louwman Collection - Dutch National Motor Museum before heading to Paris. Friends of the Seal Cove Auto Museum need not worry; the Peugeot comes home next month in plenty of time for the Museum’s May 1 opening.
This car, along with dozens of other wonderful examples of early brass cars, is owned by the Richard C. Paine, Jr. Automobile Collection Charitable Trust. Richard Paine acquired the Peugeot when he purchased the fabled Dr. Samuel L Scher collection in the 1960s. Dr. Scher had, in turn, acquired the car from his close friend James Melton after the closing of Melton’s Autorama museum. Melton described the Peugeot as “one of the finest cars in our collection” in his book, ‘Bright Wheels Rolling’.
Photo: Seal Cove Auto Museum’s prize 1913 Peugeot on display in the Grande Palais as part of Retomobile 2011. Photo courtesy of Susan S. Davis.
Seal Cove Auto Museum Announces New Officers and Directors
Mount Desert Island - The Board of Directors of the Seal Cove Auto Museum, considered the premiere “Brass Era” automobile museum in America, recently elected three new directors and five officers to serve on the museum’s board in 2011.
Newly elected directors are Sharon Broom of Bar Harbor, development officer at Friends of Acadia; David Glaser of Cape Elizabeth, a real estate lawyer, accountant and property manager; and Mike Whitney of Pownal, founder and retired chairman of LandVest, a luxury real estate and timberland sales company.
Officers for 2011 are Barbara Fox of Bar Harbor (in the photo with husband Dick Fox), president; Joel Gratwick of Portland, vice president; Jan Harding of Bar Harbor, secretary; Susan S. Davis of Portland, treasurer; and Peter L. Murray of Portland, clerk.
Returning Directors are Tommy Alley, Liz McMullan and Bill Ruger, all of Bar Harbor, and Peter Brown of Falmouth.