WAAAM! These antique aircraft and autos can actually drive and fly

The incredible Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum museum is packed with amazing early-era vehicles, nearly all in flying or driving condition.

Geoffrey Morrison
Geoffrey Morrison is a writer/photographer about tech and travel for CNET, The New York Times, and other web and print publications. He's also the Editor-at-Large for The Wirecutter. He has written for Sound&Vision magazine, Home Theater magazine, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Home Entertainment magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling novel, Undersea, and its sequel, Undersea Atrophia, are available in paperback and digitally on Amazon. He spends most of the year as a digital nomad, living and working while traveling around the world. You can follow his travels at BaldNomad.com and on his YouTube channel.
Geoffrey Morrison
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Stepping inside the WAAAM is like stepping back in time. Parts of this Curtiss Model D date back to 1910. Others are newer, like 1912 and 1914. Like nearly every vehicle in the museum, it's still flyable.

For more info about this museum and the many antique aircraft and automobiles within, check out Rare and fabulous flying machines of fabric and wood at WAAAM.

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This beautiful bird is a Slingsby T.13 Petrel, easily one of the most elegant aircraft I've ever seen. After an extensive restoration, this glider flew again in 2017, 78 years after it was first built.

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Rare Aire

On the left is an extremely rare Command-Aire 3C3-T, believed to be the only flying example of the trainer version, and one of only five left of the type that's flyable in the world. 

The blue aircraft is an Alexander Eaglerock Longwing, from 1928. This aircraft was fitted with a Curtiss OX-5 engine with only 90 hp. The design uses the same wing panel size, so the lower wing is wider than the upper wing by the width of the fuselage, which is rare.

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Two Wacos

On the left, the Waco 10, aka the GXE. On the right is the related, but higher-powered and slightly newer, DSO. The DSO is the only airworthy example and is almost completely original.

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Boeing beginnings

This is the only airworthy Boeing Model 40C, and the oldest Boeing aircraft still flying.

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4 seater

The C variant had a larger cabin and seating for four. 

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Pilot panel

Top speed is around 128 mph (206 km/h) thanks to a high-powered (for the era) 525 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp radial engine.

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Wet mail

This Stearman M-2 Speedmail spent 50 years in Teslin Lake in British Columbia. What an impressive restoration. I bet it looks as good now as it did when new, 90 years ago.

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The other A

Interspersed throughout this first hangar, and in higher density in a hangar you'll see later, are antique and classic cars, like this 1921 Ford Model T "pickup" that was converted from a Roadster.

Behind is a Stearman 4D Jr Speedmail, the smaller brother to the M-2 you saw earlier.

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Most aircraft of the 20s were still largely wood and fabric to save weight, but a few started to show where aircraft designs were headed. The Hamilton H-47, which first flew in 1928, was one of the earliest all-metal airplanes. This is the second oldest Boeing aircraft still flying (after the 40C you saw earlier).

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Wicker wonder

These seats blow my mind. The H-47 had 2 crew and up to six passengers. 

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The big 1935 Packard Twelve.

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The 7.3L V12 produced 175 horsepower. Not bad for the day, albeit less than many three-cylinder turbos can get now.

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Stunt trainer

The highly maneuverable 1931 Curtiss-Wright CW-12 trainer.

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Little Pup

A 1916 Sopwith Pup replica, one of the more common and successful WWI aircraft.

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Jenny Jenny

Speaking of successful WWI aircraft, this is a Curtiss JN-4D Jenny. This one was restored by the museum to flying condition using almost all original parts and manufacturing techniques.

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A Ryan special

This is a Ryan ST-A Special. "ST" for Sport Trainer, "A" for Aerobatics, and Special to indicate the higher horsepower supercharged four-cylinder engine.

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Sleek lines

A 1935 Chrysler Airstream on the right, a Waco YPF on the left. It's the only YPF that still exists anywhere.

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Terraplane and aeroplane

A 1937 Terraplane, a sub-brand of Hudson. Behind is a Stinson SR-8B Reliant with its unusual double-taper wing.

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3 little birds

In the middle is a Stearman Model 70, the one and only prototype of the aircraft that would become the Model 75. Built the year before the company became a subsidiary of Boeing. 

On the left is a 1930 Stearman 6L Cloudboy, with the more powerful 200 hp engine.

On the right is a 1930 Laird LC-1B-300, a triple-seat open-cockpit biplane with an unusual aluminum and steel frame. Only four were built, this is the only one.

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One of the few WWII-era combat aircraft in the museum, this is the a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. Nearly 14,000 were made during the war.

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Hangar 2

The second hangar has a mix of slightly newer aircraft, closer to the WWII era. In the foreground is a Fairchild PT-19 from 1939.

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Cessna twin

The UC-78 Bobcat, also known as the T-50, AT-17 and several other designations, was Cessna's first twin-engine aircraft. It was used as a trainer and cargo plane during WWII.

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The Piper HE-1 flying ambulance was created from their J-5C aircraft.

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Boat floats

Due to the design of the floats, the Piper J-3 was actually slightly faster with them attached compared to the traditional wheels.

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Big Beech

Beechcraft built over 9,000 Model 18s. This is the E18S which had a slightly taller fuselage for more headroom.

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This is a highly modified Stearman PT-17 with a more powerful engine and other gear to support aerobatics and other flying circus antics.

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The third hangar has mostly cars, like this gorgeous 1966 Corvette

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So blue

The paint is correct and the interior is original.

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The wide rear of a 1960 Olds 88.

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The cars are close, and most are roped off, but you can get a peek inside a few, like this 1965 GTO.

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2 of 3

The second of three second-gen Corvettes. 

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Cars of the century

This section was called Cars of the Century, featuring some of the most influential and important cars of the 20th century, including the Beetle, the DS, the Mini, and the Model T.

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A 1976 Jensen Interceptor, a gorgeous car with the best name automobile name ever.

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Three cruisers

From left to right: '66 Ford Thunderbird, '68 Pontiac GTO, and a '70 Olds 442.  

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Bumblebee paint and a matching guitar for this '69 Camaro. It has the 350 ci (5.7L) small block V8.

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With a Bullitt

A 1968 Dodge Charger R/T. Not sure if this one has the optional Hemi though. It might "only" have the 440 ci (7.2L) V8. 

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Top down power

Not just any 1970 SS, but a convertible 1970 SS.

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3 of 3

Clearly the curators of the WAAAM like their second-gen Corvettes. Looks great in silver, though originally it was Sunfire Yellow.

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Hail to the Chief

The immaculate 1955 Pontiac Chieftan you see on the left was owned by the same family by new, and was meticulously restored by the son of the original owner.

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The pointy nose of a 1951 Studebaker Champion.

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Electric cars aren't new. Here's a Detroit Electric Model 63 from ~1914. These are the original rechargeable batteries that offered a range of about 80 miles (129 km).

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Long line of antiques

On the left is a 1914 Model T Depot Hack, which would ferry passengers two and from train stations. Next to it, a Jeep predecessor, the 1917 Willys Model 75B.

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Steam power!

A 1918 Stanley Motor Carriage Company Model 735B steam-powered car, and a 1910 Aultman and Taylor steam-powered tractor.

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Lincoln 12

This 1941 Lincoln Zephyr is original and unrestored. It was powered by a 4.8L V12 that had about 120 hp. 

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Original T-bird

An all-original and unrestored 1962 Thunderbird.

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Rare glider

An almost completely original Taylorcraft TG-6 training glider. This one was built in 1946, but others were used to train the glider pilots for D-Day. The instructor sat in the back, a beginner student sat in the middle, and an intermediate student sat in the front. It was built using a modified Taylorcraft L-2.

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An M3 Scout car, also known as the White Scout car in the UK. These saw extensive use by the Allies in WWII all over the world. 

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Handy Thompson

Submachine gun ready at hand. Top speed, as recommended by White, was 45 mph (72 km/h).

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Last Whirlwind

This Travel Air 4000, from 1928, has what is likely the last flying example of the Wright J-4 Whirlwind radial engine.

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Cessna rebirth

A stunning Cessna Airmaster, from 1940. This plane helped bring Cessna back after the Great Depression.

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Amazing antiques

WAAAM calls itself a living museum, and to see so many antique automobiles and aircraft, and to know they're still able to run, is unquestionably impressive. It's a bit out of the way, but if you're into early aviation and auto history, it's definitely worth a trip.

For more info about our visit and this museum, check out Rare and fabulous flying machines of fabric and wood at WAAAM

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