December, 2013 The Seal Cove Auto Museum is ending the year with a record season, having had over 12,500 visitors coming to explore its antique auto collection between May and October this past year. A rainy day in July brought in 429 visitors, the highest number of visitors the museum has seen in a single day, with the admissions line literally extending out the door! Says Hope Rowan, the museum’s Digital Media & Communications Specialist, “Word is getting out about the Seal Cove Auto Museum. We have had visitors from across the country coming to the island specifically to visit the museum; and more and more residents on MDI are realizing that this amazing collection of cars is right in their own backyard.”
Visitors turned out for sixteen different events throughout the season, ranging from a book presentation and demonstrations of alternatively-fueled cars, to movie showings and programs for kids. Museum staff and volunteers were kept busy throughout the season not just at the museum itself, but also taking the museum’s vehicles to other events in the region, including an educational event at the local Historical Society, and a “blessing of the cars”; in addition to taking vehicles further afield to cars shows, such as the Boston Cup in September.
In part in preparation for these and other upcoming shows, the museum’s mechanics succeeded in getting some of the cars in the collection up and running again, including the 1291 Mercer, the 1910 American, and the 1904 Knox.
It’s been a busy but delightful year, and museum staff are already beginning to plan for a wonderful - and even better - 2014 season.
August 5, 2013 Two antique Ford automobiles have been donated to the Seal Cove Auto Museum by Mrs. Barbara MacQuinn in honor of her late husband, Mr. Ronald P. MacQuinn. The two donated cars – a 1928 Ford Model A Huckster, and a 1926 Ford Model T – were unveiled at the Auto Museum’s Annual Meeting at the end of July.
The Huckster is a style of vehicle used in the early part of the 20th century by peddlers. Normally built by converting a pick-up body,the rear of this type of vehicle was often fitted with a wood enclosure giving plenty of space for wares for sale, such as fruits and vegetables.
The donated 1928 Huckster was previously owned by Harry Owens of the Stone Barn Farm in Bar Harbor in the 1960s. The MacQuinns bought the Huckster from Owens in 1994, with the intention of restoring the automobile; however, Mr. MacQuinn passed away before he was able to complete the restoration. His friends Les Brewer, Gordon Young Jr, Craig Robbins, and others recently finished the job Mr. MacQuinn had always wanted completed.
The 1926 Ford Model T donated by Mrs. MacQuinn is a two door sedan with a rebuilt engine and new upholstery. It is currently under mechanical restoration in preparation for giving rides to museum visitors.
August 3, 2013 Do you think of electric vehicles as new and the wave of the future? Electric cars, along with steam-powered cars, were in fact quite common at the turn of the last century, before gasoline became the standard fuel for automobiles. Visitors can explore alternatively powered vehicles of the past and future at the Seal Cove Auto Museum’s Alternative Energy Day, on Saturday, August 3.
As a part of the event there will be demonstrations of alternatively fueled cars of the future, such as the solar-powered SUNN EV vehicle built by students at College of the Atlantic, in partnership with the museum, in 2010. Art Haines, of Applied Robotics Company in Skowhegan, manufacturer of the SUNN EV kit, will be on hand to discuss the solar car and demonstrate how it works.
Visitors will additionally have the opportunity to learn about the battle between electric, steam and gasoline powered vehicles in the early 1900s, through exploration of these vehicles in the museum’s collection. These include such autos as the 1908 Rauch & Lange electric car, the 1913 Kimball electric car, the 1914 Stanley Steamer Mountain Wagon and the 1910 White MM. The White MM used a more advanced technology than the basic steam technology of the Stanley steam cars, operating more like an internal combustion power plant and giving it the advantages of both gas and steam.
The documentary Who Killed the Electric Car will be playing throughout the day in the museum’s theater.
July 13, 2013 Author Robert Dluhy presented on his upcoming book, American Automobiles of the Brass Era, at the Seal Cove Auto Museum on a recent July Saturday. This book is the culmination of four years of research to document over 4,000 American gasoline automobiles manufactured during the Brass Era (1906 - 1915). The evolution of the autos’ specifications during this period is analyzed to give an overview of where each model fits in the spectrum of the very large number of models manufactured.
The technical evolution of cars during this time was amazingly rapid and largely trial and error. Sixty percent of the manufacturers did not survive more than two years, yet there were newcomers each and every year to replace the failed ones. Optimism and eagerness never waned during this era.
Robert Dluhy has been active in the antique car hobby since 1976 and has completed several restorations. His most recent acquisition is a 1913 Hudson Model 37 Torpedo. He has a library of automobile books consisting of over two thousand volumes; most were published before World War II, many during the Brass Era period.
June 30, 2013 Construction has begun on an expansion of the Seal Cove Auto Museum facilities. The 25 by 74 foot addition will consist of a garage and storage area, providing more space in the existing main building for rotating education exhibits, programs and events featuring the museum’s collection of Brass Era autos.
The expansion project is being led by the Sheridan Corporation, which constructed the original building in Tremont in the 1960s, with the assistance of other contractors. The museum houses the collection of antique autos belonging to a local collector, the late Richard C. Paine, Jr. The addition is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
Among the more than 50 vehicles on display are several that are the only ones known to exist in the world. Many were ahead of their time in design, such as the 1915 F.R.P., which could achieve 80 m.p.h. and still get 12 m.p.g. Others include a 1911 Kimball Electric with ties to Maine history and a 1913 boat-tailed Peugeot with an exquisite mahogany body that is the envy of many sailors. The museum also exhibits a collection of antique motorcycles and bicycles.