March 30, 2012
America On Wheels Museum Turns 4 With "Cars that Were
What do The Muppets, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Blob
and Betty Davis have in common? They are part of the Hollywood
film and TV culture that will soon descend upon America
On Wheels. All were associated with famous cars that once
had their "names in lights" and now itching to go on display
again during the Museum's Grand Opening of its new exhibit,
"Cars That Were Stars" debuting April 14th and 15th.
Arriving from destinations all over America, and looking
their best, this grand grouping of celebrated vehicles will
now take center stage at America On Wheels. Each famed vehicle
left its mark of remembrance in either the movies or on
television shows. The six month exhibit will showcase the
following marquee of "shiny metal" talent:
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car
- Muppet Car from "The Muppet Movie"
- Austin Powers' 1998 VW Beetle
- "Fast and Furious 2" Honda S2000
- David Lee Roth's 1951 Mercury seen in "California Girls"
- Ernie's Taxi from "It's a Wonderful Life"
- 1940 Ford Coup from "The Blob"
- "Nelly Belle" TV Jeep seen on Roy Rogers Show
- Betty Davis Buick "Woody" Warner Bros. recognition gift
- Rick Nelson 1932 Ford Hot Rod (cruising into AOW in
- "The Fields" VW Beetle
In addition to the new "Star" cars making their grand entrance
into America On Wheels, the Museum is also showcasing other
film/TV vehicles, presently on display including a 1948
Tucker, Torpedo, No. 1013. This car was featured in the
1988 Tucker-The Man and His Dream. The 1909 Marsh Metz,
once owned by Steve McQueen, will also be on display.
According to Linda Merkel, Executive Director, "Museums
are community treasures. Our Changing Gallery showcases
a themed exhibit which provides our visitors an opportunity
to go back in time and view historical and rare vehicles
in all their grandeur. Changing the theme every six months
has truly increased repeat visitation as there is always
some new to see and enjoy."
"Star Cars" On Display:
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car - The 1968 film with
the same name was written by several writers including Ian
Flemming of James Bond fame and starred Dick Van Dyke about
an amazing flying car.
Muppet Car - Jim Henson's "The Muppet Movie" from
1979 was the first in a series of live-action musical Muppet
feature films. Henson used several classic cars in his first
film but the most famous was a pair of psychedelic painted
1951 Studebaker Commander Coupes, one of which is coming
to America On Wheels.
Austin Powers Car - On display will be the custom
made 1998 Volkswagen Beetle, featured in the movie 'Austin
Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me." Oh baby!
"Fast and Furious 2" 2001 Honda S2000 - This striking
hot pink custom Honda roadster was driven by street racer,
"Suki," the only named female racer in the 2003 sequel film.
David Lee Roth 1951 Mercury - extensively modified
1951 Mercury was featured in David Lee Roth's California
Girls video, which was nominated for Best Video at the 1985
Ernie's Taxi from "It's A Wonderful Life" - Yes,
straight from Bedford Falls to America On Wheels comes the
famous taxi driven by "Ernie" in the renowned Christmas
film directed by Frank Capra and recognized as one of the
best American films ever made!
"The Blob" 1940 Ford V8 De Luxe Coupe - This 1958
Sci-Fi thriller was Steve McQueen's debut film and also
starred Aneta Corsaut, "Helen" on The Andy Griffith Show.
Three friends of "Steve Andrews" (McQueen) are seen in numerous
scenes cruising around town in a 1940 hot rod (Ford V8 De
Famous Jeep "Nelly Belle" from Roy Rogers TV Show
- Driven on the television series from 1951-57 by Roger's
sidekick, actor, Pat Brady who made the famed jeep "Nellie
Bell" a household word with his catch phrase while trying
to stop the vehicle-"Whooaa, Nellie Bell."
Betty Davis Buick "Woody Wagon" - The 1942 Buick
Roadmaster 49 super woody Estate Wagon was originally purchased
by Warner Bros. studios in Hollywood for use in several
motion pictures, including 'Now, Voyager' and 'White Heat.'
It was widely known as the 'Bette Davis Buick,' the vehicle
- with a Burgundy exterior and matching interior - was gifted
by Warner Bros. to Bette Davis. This famous Super is now
owned by jeweler and Buick collector Nicola Bulgari. The
famous "Woody" has only 37,471 original miles!
Rick Nelson 1932 Ford Hot Rod - The 1932 Ford is
the holy grail of hot rods. Better known as "the Deuce,"
it's the car every hot-rodder wants. 1950s singer, heart
throb, Ricky Nelson drove a '32 roadster on the Ozzie and
Harriet television show
"The Fields" VW Beetle - This 1962 VW
Beetle was used in 'THE FIELDS' a suspense thriller based
on true events that took place in a small Pennsylvania town
in the fall of 1973. It follows a young boy and his family
who are terrorized by a series of attacks emanating from
the endless fields of corn surrounding their farmhouse.
Starring Academy Award Winner Cloris Leachman and Tara Reid.
The Beetle was driven by character 'Bonnie' played by Tara
Weekend anniversary festivities include a Slot Car Show
& Swap with vendors on site, children's activities, ice
novelties and more. Leader of the Pack, Megatron Truck
(from the movie Transformers) will be parked at America
On Wheels during the anniversary weekend on loan from Mack
Trucks. The new art exhibit will also debut "Automobile
Design in the Golden Age: The Career and Works of Theodore
W. Pietsch 11 from April 14 through June 25th. Over 30 works
will be on display from Mr. Pietsch's long career, including
some never-before-shown designs from his time with Studebaker.
This exhibit is made possible by Frederic Sharf who is a
well-known collector, scholar and author. The Annual Bulldog
Beauty Contest will be held on Sunday, April 15th from 1:00-3:00
America On Wheels is located at 5 North Front Street, Allentown
and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and
noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets prices are $7.00 for adults,
$5.00 for seniors and students ages 6 to 16 are $3.50. Children
under 5 are FREE.