Welcome to the September edition of our Blackhawk Automotive Museum newsletter. Each month we look to share news and information about exhibits and events at the Museum, as well as the shows and activities in which we are involved.

The calendar of automotive events over the next two months is still very active following the exceptional Pebble Beach & Monterey week of activities. Congratulations to Jon Shirley for taking the Best of Show Award at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance with his 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Coupe by Scaglietti. This was the first year a Ferrari has won the show, and also the first postwar car to win in 46 years. This 1954 Ferrari 375 MM was originally built for Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini. We are fortunate to also have one of the very rare 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Coupes, the one-off Ghia bodied example, built for famed Leader Card Racers Indy car owner, sponsor and renowned Ferrari owner, Bob Wilke.  

Many awards were garnered during the multiple events that happened over the weekend but we would like to make mention to two friends of the Museum. The Monterey Motorsports Reunion presented two awards; the Brilliance Award, presented to the owner of the car with exceptional history and unquestionable provenance went to George Wingard for his 1914 Mercedes-Benz, the actual car that won the 1914 French Grand Prix; and the Founder's Trophy, presented to the entrant whose car has historical significance to Laguna Seca went to Bill Warner for his Group 44 Triumph TR6 that last ran at the track 40 years ago.

On Sunday, September 14 the Museum will be supporting our docents involvement in Antique Autos in History Park presented by the Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club. The AAHP show is open to all non-modified cars manufactured prior to 1946. The show attracts a large sampling of Model Ts, Model As plus marques that include Cadillac, Lincoln, Packard, Stanley, Doble, Auburn, Mercer and more, with approx. 150+ cars to attend. This year's show features steam powered cars and will be from 11:00 AM to 4:00 p.m. at History Park in San Jose, CA. The historic houses and mature trees of the park are ideal for an antique car show.


On the weekend of September 20-21, the East Bay's premier Concours, the Danville d'Elegance weekend of fundraising events takes place. The Danville d'Elegance Foundation enters its 10th year, looking to surpass the $2 million already raised to benefit Parkinson's research and patient care. The Tour d'Elegance enters its fourth year, and will start on the morning of Saturday September 20th. It includes an organized scenic drive on some of the North Bay's famed country roads and a special lunch stop. Fast becoming a major tradition in East Bay community culture, the annual Dinner d'Elegance and Live Auction to benefit Parkinson's causes, will be held at the Blackhawk Museum on the evening of Saturday September 20th. On Sunday, September 21st, the historic town center of Danville transforms into the Danville Concours d'Elegance, with an impressive assembly of classic, vintage, exotic and racing vehicles displayed by their owners, offering a unique opportunity to see them up close, and chat with the people who own and maintain them. Admission is free for visitors. We will be showing four cars from the Museum so please stop by and say hello.


Leading into the weekend we'll be hosting two special Museum events. On Friday, September 19th the Blackhawk Automotive Museum will be presenting a special screening of the recently released documentary film Racing Through The Forest - the History of the 1950-56 Pebble Beach Road Races. This documentary film, produced by renowned racecar driver Rick Knoop and filmmaker Dean Kirkland, was filmed over approximately three years and includes 50 interviews of legendary names in road racing such as Fred Knoop, Mick Marston, Bill Pollack, Jim Hall and Phil Remington. It chronicles the events from the first through the last Pebble Beach Road Races, which included legends like Carroll Shelby, Phil Hill and Bill Pollock in 1956. Open to the public, tickets are available in advance at www.blackhawkMuseum.org, or at the door. Seating will be limited so we recommend getting your tickets now.


                                Phil Hill's 1953 Pebble Beach Road Races winning Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spider - his first victory in a Ferrari 


On Saturday morning, September 20th, the Blackhawk Automotive Museum's Fall 2014 Speaker Series kicks off with a presentation by Larry Crane on the History of Car Design. Larry has held the art director and editorial positions at some of the leading automotive publications such as Motor Trend, Road & Track, and Automobile and now teaches automotive design at the Art Center College of Design. For details of the Speaker Series schedule of events, please go to www.BlackhawkMuseum.org.

For the last weekend of September we will be participating in the Ironstone Concours d'Elegance with the Virgil Exner designed 1953 Dodge Firearrow II by Ghia.  In 1993, Gail and John Kautz decided to stage an automotive concours d'elegance at their winery, Ironstone Vineyards, near Murphys, California. The Kautzes, being farmers and vintners, designate that proceeds from the concours benefit Central and Northern California youth involved in agriculture, notably 4-H Clubs, Future Farmers of America and the California State Fair Scholarship Fund. The Ironstone Concours d'Elegance, on Saturday, September 27, 2014,is an antique and classic car show that takes place each year at the Ironstone Vineyards, just outside Murphys CA. Some 300+ antique and classic cars participate in the Ironstone Concours d'Elegance. This classic car and automobile show also features vintage trailers, motorcycles and wooden boats. 

1953 Dodge Firearrow II by Ghia (center) 


The Museum will be hosting the East Bay Leadership Council's 4th Annual Philanthropy Awards on Thursday, November 6. The EBLC's Philanthropy Awards celebrates outstanding contributions of time, leadership, and financial support by businesses, individuals, and community service organizations in Contra Costa and the Tri-Valley. Award recipients will be honored at a special breakfast event at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum.

This year the keynote presenter at the awards breakfast will be the inspiring Adonal Foyle, retired National Basketball Association veteran who played a total of 13 NBA seasons, including a 10-year stint with the Golden State Warriors from 1997 to 2007. He retired in 2010 to become the Orlando Magic's director of player development for two years. Foyle is an activist with a deep commitment to improving society. He founded two nonprofit organizations, Democracy Matters and Kerosene Lamp Foundation. Tickets are available at eblc.org.

As a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation an important area of support that the Museum receives is our tax-deductible car and collection gift program. Recently we received the donation of a 1970 Cadillac Coupe deVille from Mr. & Mrs. Richard Snyder of Walnut Creek. This car was purchased new by Mr. Snyder from Cadillac dealer Roger Motors of New London, CT. Before moving to CA, the car also spent some time being used by his father Ted Snyder in Bergenfield, NJ. This one family owned, carefully maintained, low mileage car, came new with a full complement of luxury Cadillac amenities. The 1970 Cadillac deVille was the last year of the third generation of the Bill Mitchell design era Cadillac mainstream model. The deVille series accounted for 76% of all Cadillacs sold. Never again would Cadillac sales be dominated to such a degree by a single model. 





We look forward to seeing you at the Museum during the coming months.  
With regards,
Timothy McGrane
Executive Director   
Feature Museum Exhibit ~ 1963 Ford Thunderbird Italien Concept Car
1963 Ford Thunderbird Italien Concept Car  

The Ford Thunderbird Italien concept car started life as a production run Thunderbird convertible, a car that was already hard to improve upon in its day, but very early in the '62 model year production a convertible was slated for a special project. Coming off the Ford Wixom Assembly Plant in Dearborn Michigan in July 1961 this special Thunderbird was moved to a storage area where it sat and waited while Ford's own Thunderbird Styling Department went to work designing a new concept, a fastback Thunderbird.


The Ford Thunderbird stylists completed their concept design drawings and got approval from the likes of Jacque Passino, Ford's special vehicles manager, public relations manager Walter Murphy, E. F. Laux General Sales Manager Ford Division Ford Motor Company, and Lee Iacocca to proceed with construction. Upon approval, the triple black 1962 Thunderbird convertible was moved from storage to the styling studio. After the clay mule was completed the Ford stylists delivered the car to Dearborn Steel Tubing Co. for the actual construction of the roof. Fiberglass was the material selected in making the roof of this car, and this called for making a complete mold.
The Detroit Steel Tubing Co. built Ford's non-assembly line concept vehicles and was probably most noted for building the one hundred 1964 Ford Thunderbolts, a factory lightweight street legal race car on which the front end body parts were crafted from fiberglass. At DST, car designer & builder Vince Gardner constructed the one piece plaster cast over the clay from which he made the fiberglass roof and deck lid for the Italien. Gardner began his career as a clay modeler working for Gordon Buerig during the design of the Cord 810 and, in the 1950's and 1960's, was responsible for some of the most superbly built custom cars to ever come out of the Detroit area. In the mid 1960's Gardner would work with famed designer Alex Tremulis on the Gyronaut land speed record motorcycle project. 
Later in the stages of the Italien's completion, Ford delivered '63 style fenders and doors for DST to install. By the time DST was nearing completion of the Italien, the 1963 model Thunderbirds were in production and Ford didn't want a 1962 model concept car on the show tour. After Dearborn Steel Tubing Co. finished building the Thunderbird Fastback concept car, the Italien was slated to tour in Ford's brand new Custom Car Caravan.
In the early 1960's Ford's Cavalcade of Custom Cars produced some of the most beautiful customs ever to grace a show. These cars were not just dream cars, but really fine drivable cars that could show what can be done to transform an everyday car into a masterpiece. The Caravan toured from 1963 through 1966 throughout the United States to Autoramas held in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and Toronto Canada. The Caravan visited nine cities in 1963 and the first to feature the Italien was the Detroit Autorama held at Cobo Hall in January 1963. While the Italien and the Caravan cars were displayed throughout the country as part of the Ford Custom Car Caravan, DST displayed placards saying "Compliments of Dearborn Steel Tubing Co." as they were responsible for setting up the shows and keeping the cars clean.

Next on the event schedule was the Los Angeles WinterNationals in February 1963 and was announced with a large press release dispatched by the News Bureau of Ford Division of Ford Motor Company. The WinterNationals was a major undertaking for the Ford Custom Car Caravan which was headed up by AK Miller, well known race car driver and builder in his new capacity as "Performance Advisor" for the Ford Division. In January 1964 the Italien was shown at Cobo Hall in Detroit again but this time at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) exhibition and was displayed on the Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation stand.


After a very successful tour in Ford's first of three "Custom Car Caravan" Car shows in 1963 in conjunction with the "ISCA"(International Show Car Association), the 1964 New York World's Fair was getting underway. Ford Motor Company had one of the most distinctive Pavilions in the fair with concept cars displayed on the inside. It was designed with the help of Walt Disney and was the largest Pavilion in the Fair covering an area of over three football fields, fronted by a rotunda with white pylons reaching skyward. The feature attraction of the exhibit was a "Magic Skyway" ride, created by Walt Disney, where visitors traveled in Ford built convertibles from the prehistoric world of the cave man to the world of tomorrow in just 12 minutes.


In the spring of 1964 the New York World's Fair was in many ways the apex of the American Century. Ford was just one of dozens of government- and corporate-sponsored exhibits that aimed to show what the world of tomorrow was going to bring with picture phones and rocket propelled transportation. On April 13, 1964, more than 125 members of the media gathered in the Ford Pavilion at the New York World's Fair for a preview of the cars that would be on display. Then-Ford Motor Company Vice President Lee Iacocca delivered a speech that discussed the emerging market of younger drivers born in the years after World War II. All of this was a prelude to the unveiling of the all-new 1965 Ford Mustang. The 1964 New York World's Fair would also be the Italien's last appearance.


( Walt Disney and Henry Ford II view a scale model of the Ford Pavilion)                               

Ford, unlike other car manufacturers of the day, had a corporate policy that when they determined that a concept car had served its purpose, they sent it to the crusher to be scrapped. They didn't want the concept cars to get into the hands of the public for fear one of their competitors would get their hands on it and copy the idea. After appearing in the World's Fair, records from Ford's Jacque Passino's files indicate the Italien was destined for the crusher. However notes in the files indicate a line drawn through the words "to be scrapped" with a hand written notation "9-22-64 Sold to DST". On another sheet it was noted "Sold $5,000".


In September 1964 the Italien, having been stored at Holman & Moody's facility, then came into the possession of actor Dale Robertson, star of western movies and TV's "Tales of Wells Fargo", "Wagon Train" and other shows. It is believed that Robertson first saw the Italien at one of the Ford Custom Car Caravan shows or at the New York World's Fair in 1964. He was an avid car fan and in 1958 Buick Division of GM had built a special 1958 Buick WELLS FARGO modified western themed convertible for Robertson to promote his TV shows they sponsored. He liked the Italien concept car, but the only contact information was the placard from Dearborn Steel Tubing Co. by the car. Robertson contacted them and offered them $10,000 for the car, which probably gave DST the reason to persuade Ford not to scrap the car - a high profile owner for Ford, and a good profit for DST. Robertson drove the Italien regularly around the Los Angeles area, and one enthusiast remembers spotting it on the highway and following it only to lose it in the hills of Hollywood.


The car changed hands a number of times over the years following Robertson's ownership and went into a period of neglect. Around 1986, noted Southern California Thunderbird fan and specialty Ford collector Don Chambers purchased the car with the idea of adding it to the auto museum he planned for his retirement. Due to health reasons those plan never materialized and Don offered the Italien for sale. Thunderbird restorer Tom Maruska purchased it in January 2006 and completely restored the Italien to exacting and documented original specifications.


Featured in countless national and international publications when it was first built, and again when the restoration was completed in August 2007, the "Italien is certainly the most striking Thunderbird ever built. The slope-back roof glass gives it an air of grace with aerodynamic styling. The Ford Styling designed a customized leather interior with bucket seats front and rear and a remarkable set of faired in head rests for the rear seats. Many additional interior parts had to be made up in fiberglass. All of the interior moldings running along the edge of the roof were first made up in clay by Ford Styling then duplicated in fiberglass by Vince's department, and finally chrome plated, which although hard to do was considerably less costly at the time than attempting metal moldings on a one-of-a-kind basis. The egg crate grille is made of a series of aluminum strips dovetailed into one another and beautifully chrome plated and the rear tail lights were custom made. Ford Styling also designed a set of chrome inserts that divide the side panel area and they present a functional appearance with air scoops exhausting from the rear of the engine compartment.


Blackhawk Automotive Museum
Events - Film Screening "Racing Through The Forest - The History of the 1950-1956 Pebble Beach Road Races"  ~   Friday, September 19  -  7:30 pm



On Friday, September 19th we will be holding a special screening of the recently released documentary film entitled "Racing Through The Forest - the History of the 1950-56 Pebble Beach Road Races."   The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:00 p.m. for guests to enjoy the car gallery and a no-host reception. Advance ticket information available on our website (click here) 
Blackhawk Automotive Museum
Events  ~  Blackhawk Saturday Morning Speaker Series Larry Crane  "The History of Car Design"  ~  Saturday, September 20 ~ 10:30am
Our 2014 Fall Speaker Series line up is set. We're pleased to announce the schedule for our Saturday morning program starting September 20th with noted automotive writer Larry Crane who will be speaking on the subject of The History of Car Design. Larry has published countless articles, designed and edited a number of award-winning automobile magazines, co-authored books on the subject as is currently a lecturer at Art Center College of Design.
Following, on October 11th, we will hear from renowned vintage race car driver and custodian of historic race and sports cars, Peter Giddings, speaking about the history of his magnificent 1926 Delage 15-S-8 Grand Prix car. The meticulously engineered 1500 c.c. supercharged in-line eight cylinder engine represented a breakthrough in engine design and performance.  The story of the Delage 15-S-8 Grand Prix single-seaters is one of the most intriguing in all of racing, or motor car, history.



Future Speaker Series events include;
Sunday, November 2 - Lyn St James ~ "Setting Records at Taladega"
Saturday, November 15 - Raffi Manassian ~ "The Future Highway: A Designers Dive into the Driverless Future
Saturday, December 13 - Robert Devlin ~ "Golden Gates Park Road Races 1952-54"   
Please see the Museum's website for additional lecture details and dates. The Speaker Series events are free to members and included as part of general admission for visitors.
Blackhawk Automotive Museum
Events  ~  10th Annual Danville d'Elegance - Wine Country Tour ~ Dinner and Charity Auction - Concours d'Elegance ~  Sept  20 - 21
As the East Bay's premier Concours weekend of fundraising events, and the 2014 "Danville Charitable Organization of the Year," the Danville d'Elegance Foundation enters its 10th year, looking to surpass the $2 million already raised to benefit Parkinson's research and patient care.

Set in the historic town of Danville, California, the yearly event is one in which car collectors, automotive enthusiasts and the local community gather together to have fun and do some real good, all at the same time! For 2014, the weekend of September 20-21 will bring an unparalleled variety of activities to Danville, creating a superb gathering of street and racing cars along with some other exciting vehicle surprises, and great food - all in the setting of a small town jewel. The Tour d'Elegance enters its fourth year, and will start on the morning of Saturday September 20th. It includes an organized scenic drive on some of the North Bay's famed country roads and a special lunch stop. Modern day and collector cars from our entrants will fill the trail, with additional exotic and luxury cars provided by manufacturers and local dealers to partake in our "Thrill Ride". Fast becoming a major tradition in East Bay community culture, the annual Dinner d'Elegance and Live Auction to benefit Parkinson's causes, will be held at the world famous Blackhawk Automotive Museum on the evening of Saturday September 20th.

On Sunday, September 21st, the historic town center of Danville transforms into the Danville Concours d'Elegance, with an impressive assembly of classic, vintage, and exotic pleasure and racing vehicles displayed by their owners, offering a unique opportunity to see them up close, and chat with the people who own and maintain them. Admission is free for visitors, though donations to support the fight against Parkinson's are encouraged.
Blackhawk Automotive Museum

Events  ~  Smithsonian Magazine  Museum Day Live ! - September 27

As an affiliate of the Smithsonian Museum we will be participating in the 2014 Museum Day Live! 


In the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, who offer free admission everyday, Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket... for free.


Help support the Blackhawk Automotive Museum by becoming a member today and your membership will also include a Smithsonian Membership and a subscription to the Smithsonian magazine.


Events  ~  Blackhawk Museum OKTOBERFEST ~ Sat. Oct 4 - 7pm to 12 midnight

Oktoberfest 2014. Celebrate, Munich Style with us at the Blackhawk Museum for an Outdoor Oktoberfest in a Traditional Biergarten on the Museum Plaza.    Event kicks off at 7 p.m. till 12 midnight

There will be beer along with traditional German food for purchase, dancing and entertainment. Music by: Deutscher Musikverein of San Francisco. dance entertainment by: Golden Gate Bavarian Club and a tap the keg ceremony


ATTIRE: Tracht, of course! It is a traditional national costume in German-speaking countries. It's Oktoberfest so be festive and have fun.  $25.00 General Admission  (click here).  21years and up only event. 

Events  ~  Blackhawk 'First Sunday' Cars & Coffee     OCTOBER  5  -  8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Blackhawk Automotive Museum hosts a monthly Cars & Coffee event year round for all car enthusiasts. Held on the 'First Sunday' of each month, starting at 8 a.m. and going to 10 a.m., the Museum welcomes all classic, collector and special interest car owners and enthusiasts.
On Cars & Coffee Sundays the Museum opens an hour earlier, at 9 a.m., and participating car owners will receive complimentary Museum admission tickets underwritten courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover Cole European, Meguiar's, Good Guys and Sonoma Raceway.
The Museum's catering partner, Scott's Restaurant, hosts coffee each month. Thank you to the 513 car owners who joined us for our September event.
Blackhawk Automotive Museum
 Visit the Blackhawk Automotive Museum and the Tri-Valley  -   September - Danville's Eugene O'Neill Fesitval


During the summer, if your travels have you in the San Francisco Bay Area please make plans to come and visit us and also explore the East Bay region. Just 33 miles east of San Francisco, and 27 miles north of San Jose, the Tri Valley area, also considered San Francisco's other wine country, features a diverse range of activities and sights to enjoy. Experience all that the Tri-Valley has to offer from the historic wine region and award-winning golf courses, to museums, historic homes and downtown dining.

Eugene O'Neill (1888 - 1953) lived at his Tao House in Danville. September in Danville is the Eugene O'Neill Festival and this year marks the Festival's 15th Annual event with the theme "The Art of the Escape". Eugene O'Neill was America's First Major Playwright. During the 1920s, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for three of his plays-Beyond the Horizon, "Anna Christie," and Strange Interlude. Other popular successes, including The Emperor Jones, The Hairy Ape, Desire Under the Elms, The Great God Brown, and Mourning Becomes Electra, brought him international acclaim. In 1936, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature-the only American playwright to be so honored.


Three of his final works, written at Tao House, tower over the others: The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. These autobiographical plays portray, with "faithful realism," the haunting figures of his father, mother, and brother who loom in the background of most of his other plays. He was awarded a fourth Pulitzer Prize, posthumously, in 1956 for Long Day's Journey into Night. In a career which spanned three decades, Eugene O'Neill changed the American theatre forever.

Eugene O'Neill in his Bugatti Cateau du Plessis, Near Tours, France 1932           Tao House, Danville - Eugene O'Neill National Historic site


For information, click on;  Visit Tri-Valley  and  Town of Danville

Blackhawk Automotive Museum
About The Blackhawk Automotive Museum 
The Blackhawk Automotive Museum, located in Blackhawk Plaza, Danville, California, opened in August 1988 with the mission of ensuring that significant automotive treasures blending art, technology, culture and history would be exhibited for public enjoyment and educational enrichment for all ages.
The Museum showcases a rotating collection of over fifty one-of-a-kind custom coachwork classic cars, limited production and concept automobiles in a spectacular architectural masterpiece.  The Blackhawk Automotive Museum, a private operating 501(c)3 Foundation, is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and is open year round, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and most major holidays.
PLEASE NOTE our upper gallery will be closed through mid-October for exhibit changes.
To Imagine....  To Dream....  To Inspire.... 
Blackhawk Automotive Museum
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