Balboa Park Auto Museum

A trip in time 20080226

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1930's Cadillac V12 coupe. This is one stylin' ride.

The Experience

One of the things that Kathleen and I have not done with any frequency is to do the "tourist thing" in our own town. San Diego has some world class tourist attractions (in addition to the beach) including the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park. But, one of the premier attractions is Balboa Park near the center of town. After returning to town from Seattle, we vowed to visit these attractions and take advantage of living in "America's Finest City".

Balboa Park is not far from our home and Kathleen discovered that the Auto Museum has a "free admission to locals on Tuesday" so we headed on down to check it out.

The photos below are what we saw. These were taken with my Leica M8 with a Leica 24mm lens. Since this was inside and no flash was used, high ISO settings were required resulting in sub-optimal photo quality. Also a very wide angle lens was required to the whole scene in the image. While 24 mm is "wide", the Leica has a 1.5X focal length multiplier, thus making the lens look like a 35mm in the images. In retrospect, I should have used the 21mm. Maybe next time.

An interesting statue outside the Hall of Champions next to the Automobile Museum.

At the entrance to the museum, the curators had positioned this old truck that was used by the local contracting firm R.E. Hazard. This thing was a gem from 1922. The wheels were solid cast iron with solid rubber tires and the final drive to the load-bearing wheels was a chain, like a bicycle, only on steroids. This was as basic as they come.

Nice custom work on this hot rod.

A very beautiful chopper, fully custom and clearly an award winner.

The Lambo Countach was a big draw for the crowd.

Red is the color of the week. This Ferrari was in great condition.

A vintage English touring car once owned by a maharaja from India. This is a fine automobile.

A nicely restored older Jag.

Another shot of the ever-popular Ferrari.

the 1948 Tucker Torpedo.

Another view of the Tucker. This car was very innovative for its time and employed features that are still common today. The vehicle had a rear engine and was powered by a modified helicopter engine.

This is very odd. A 2 cylinder motorcycle engine mounted on the front of a 3 wheel car.

A 1905 Tourist in great condition.

A Ford Model T, the car that started it all.

A very early Cadillac with a V8 motor.

Nicely restored, but I did not note the specifics.

Note the interesting truck.

A nice Ford Model A from the early 1930s.

1930s V12 Cadillac. This car was very fast for its day and was also offered in a V16 version. This was my personal favorite and would still turn heads today, or especially today.

More nicely restored vehicles.

A Buick with suicide doors.

A view of the door setup. This car had a "three on the tree" shifter.

Another classic left hand drive vehicle .

This 1955 Chevy reminds me of my '58 Chevy Bel Aire that I had when I was in college. Mine was a four door however.

Here is an older BMW motorcycle. Recently, the Russians have copied the design in their "Ural" bike. My buddy Kai has one, but with a side car.

A motorcycle with a rotary engine.

A very early HD motorcycle. Clearly, no restoration has been done.

An older Indian motorcycle with a side car.

One of the more interesting concept cars. Since it would not be in production, I did not note the designer. It looks like something from the movie "Tron".

From fast cars to fast planes. This is a SR-71 outside the Aerospace Museum.

Balboa Park is a cool place with a number of museums and exhibitions. Should your travels bring you to San Diego, this must be on your "things to do list".

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