Saturday, September 18, 2010
Although I've been meaning to go ever since I moved to California in 1992, Saturday was the first time I actually visited the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, California. Purchased with some of the Merle Norman Cosmetics fortune, there are more Pebble Beach Best of Show winners here than in any collection in the world.
The collection is housed in two large buildings – one is open to the public most days and allows self-guided tours, while the other requires you register for a guided group tour. It's still free, but once you get into the Grand Salon, you understand why they don't want everybody roaming freely inside. Built to replicate the grand dealership showrooms of the '10s, '20s and '30s, it is a columned marble room with about 30 of the most stunning classic cars you're likely to ever lay eyes on.
The tour lasts about two hours and you get to see just about every room in the building. You also get to hear some of the amazing musical devices the Nethercutts collected during their 90 years - 71 of them married to each other - before they passed in 2004. The highlight of the entire museum might be Cloud 99, the upstairs formal dining room and ballroom that is ringed by super rare orchestrions and features a Wurlitzer theater organ with hundreds of pipes and other musical instruments controlled through its four-deck keyboard. The museum really is much more than the cars, but oh what cars.
Some of the brands represented are well-known, others may only be familiar to classic car aficionados, and still others are so rare, only the history books remember them. Walking through the two buildings on either side of Bledsoe Street, you'll see cars from Talbot Lago, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Isotta Fraschini, Ruxton, Cord, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Cadillac, Lincoln, Packard, Mercedes-Benz, Minerva, McFarlan, Buick, White, De Dion Bouton, Du Pont, Renault, Napier, Franklin, Eisenach (BMW predecessor), Locomobile, Daimler, Ford, Mercury, Ferrari, Austin, Hudson, Tucker, Volkswagen, Westinghouse, Voisin, Stearns-Knight, Pontiac, Pope, Stevens-Duryea, Graham, Hupmobile, Gobron-Brillie, Cameron, Auburn, Case, Cunningham, and on and on.
Definitely worth a visit, you can get more information at the Nethercutt website.
Direct link to photos.