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.