• Aug 11, 2009
This is a bit sad. The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum collection, part of the larger Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, is selling off 19 of its 175 cars in order to climb out of debt. Among the cars being offered to buyers are a gorgeous seafoam green 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, a 1930 Belanger Indianapolis Racer with a 270 cubic-inch Offenhauser Dual Overhead Cam V8 good for 325 hp (installed in 1949) and a 1930 Bugatti Type 44 Phaeton Open Tourer, the only one thought to exist.

Sadly, this isn't the first time the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum has resorted to raiding its stash of cars to pay the bills. 20 other cars were sold off a few months back, and since the early 2000s, the Western Reserve has been in the habit of selling off part of its auto collection whenever its strapped for cash. This is bad for several reasons. The first is, its hard to increase museum attendance when items the public might like to see are gone.

Second, "
What do you think our chances are of people donating their cars to Crawford?" said John Hlavka, a Crawford volunteer. "It's a Catch-22," continues Hlavka. "The less donations, the less money. Then to make up the money they sell off cars. So they get less donations." And finally of course, once historic cars like these leave a museum, there's no telling what their fate will be. They could very well be lost forever. Pity that. Thanks to Ken for the tip.

[Source: Cleveland.com]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      why not just lease them?
      • 5 Years Ago
      As a Crawford volenteer I can tell you that 10yrs. ago only 20%of the collection was running today it's more than 80%, and we do drive the cars . three years ago we took 6 cars on a 800 mile trip around Ohio drawing crowds were ever we went. we also go to nursing homes and other local car events If we had more support we could do even more
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's a really nice collection of fairly rare cars. Well worth the visit. I know the first time I was there I was totally gobsmacked by the fact they have a REAL EV1 sitting on the floor. So amongst this beautiful collection of rare one-of-a kinds is something that was pretty well documented as having been rounded up and destroyed. If you have a chance, it's a must for motor enthusiasts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sure I'll get some heat for this, but I don't think a car is a car unless it gets driven. Its purpose is transportation. Attending a vintage race and experiencing the cars near their limits, smelling the hot rubber and race fuel is so much better than walking around some stale museum. If these cars are actually driven by their new owners, so much the better.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually, they're not selling off the seafoam green Mercedes ... they have two in the collection. The seafoam one, which was donated by a local department store owner decades ago, and is still quite original (down to the original luggage specially designed for the car). Instead, they're going to sell another gullwing that was donated in 2005 and is not in original condition.

      But yes, it's sad they're selling off the cars. Part of the problem is that they are invisible in Cleveland ... a lot of Clevelanders don't even know the museum exists. But then it's also because the folks who run the museum are pretty insular, and for decades, it's been run as a private collection, almost like a private club, for the benefit of a select few, rather than the general public.
        • 5 Years Ago
        tbh, most of cleveland is invisible.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't have a antique car, but I do have a Peerless Motor Car Co. drawing that looks very official. At the bottom it says 2k 2706m part number, 7 passenger landrulet side view perspective. Date 11-21-11 scale 1 1/2" ft Drawn E. M. T. checked by dbb 965 STAMP.

      I believe my grandmother got this drawing at Carlings Brewing Co. where she worked. It was taken over by Carlings Brewing Co when Peerless could not keep it going during the depression.

      I went to google and entered the company name and have a print out of the story of Peerless Motor Car.

      My intention is to sell this drawing. I would like to know if it is worth something..

      Thank You,
      Joyce Silverman
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've lived in Cleveland for about 2.5 years now and I had no idea this museum was here. Guess I should get down there before the good stuff is gone!
      • 5 Years Ago
      where did you find the image above?

      it's gorgeous, and would make a wonderful wallpaper... especially after an (unsuccessful) hour of searching thourhg google images for it!
      • 5 Years Ago
      It should be noted that the photo above is not the car they will be selling.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Gullwing makes me drool....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sexiest car, EVER!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I attended the Cleveland Institute of Art and spent many days sketching cars at the Crawford. I could tell you all about how invisible this museum is to Clevelanders, but I'd rather just comment that this is extremely sad. The seafoam green SL was my favorite car of the collection. In a first-year drawing class I created a drawing of this car that earned me an "A" and it cemented my love for the gorgeous lines of these unique cars. It will be a sad day when it leaves the museum.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I passed up this car or one like it while in high school in the late fifties. Price was $3395, I remember distinctly. it was on a used car lot on W 117th St. in Cleveland. I would have run it in the salt and ruined it anyway. A friend on the WRHS is hoping that many of the cars will stay on loan in the collection. One can dream. I dream of that awful color green Benz. The only proper color for a German car is silver, the national racing color.
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