Automobile Driving Museum

The Automobile Driving Museum in Los Angeles has cars from throughout the 20th century, with more from the first half.

For the full story behind this tour, check out "Up close with the motoring legends of the Automobile Driving Museum."

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Franklin

How about a 101-year-old Franklin Runabout? The air-cooled inline-6 had 25.3 horsepower.

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Up close

You can't get inside the vehicles, but there are few barriers so you can get right up close.

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Packard

Each week certain cars are featured for rides on the street.

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Levers and knobs

It's fascinating to look at the controls before so many of them were standardized.

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Cruisin'

Ford's 1915 Model T Roadster had a blistering 20 horsepower, but then again, the 45-mph top speed was probably terrifying in a car like this.

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L-head

The inline-4 had an L-head cylinder head design.

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Twin Six

The Packard "Twin Six" had a 88 horsepower 12-cylinder engine. This is one of only three still in existance.

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V12

V12 engines are big, but well-balanced and smooth.

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Hupmobile

It's a company you may not have heard of, but Hupmobile made cars until 1940. This is a 1929 Century Six.

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T Belle

The 1909 Model T was available in six different body styles. Price new was $840, or a bit more than $20,000 in today's money.

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Getting the job done

The 20-horsepower, four-cylinder engine got about 25 miles per gallon.

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Mint

Like all the cars at the museum, this one is beautifully maintained.

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Aero

A 1935 Chrysler Airflow, with its revolutionary curvy design. Under the hood is a 130-hp straight 8.

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Convertible

The 1947 Windsor was a big hit for post-war Chrysler. It wasn't much changed from the pre-war version.

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Plaid!

You just don't see interiors this awesome anymore. This was the more expensive "Highlander" interior.

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Caddy

The 1939 Cadillac Series 75 Limo carried seven people.

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Ornamentation

Not many cars have hood ornaments anymore. Rolls does, and it retracts into the hood.

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Rumble rumble

It's not often you can get close enough to old cars like this to see into the rumble seat. This is a 1936 Ford Roadster.

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Woody

A 1949 Buick Super Woody, based on the Roadmaster. The straight 8 made 120 hp.

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Mini Woody

Wood paneling was all the rage in the late '40s, even in smaller cars like this Crosley. Though it only had 44 hp, it did have rare (for its day) four-wheel disc brakes.

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Imports

An immaculate MG TD. This looks like it just rolled out of the factory in Abingdon. In the back, a 1935 Morgan.

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Tight fit

A bit rough, but still in excellent shape for an 82-year-old British-built vehicle.

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MGA

The MGA had a four-speed manual transmission, and a 72 hp four-cylinder engine. Those lines though...

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Racer

Lots of MGs were raced. This MGA was owned and raced by one of the museum's docents. He named it "Lucille." It started life as one of the last factory-built and supported race cars, and was raced by private teams until 1985. It had an interesting history after that too.

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Nash

Though the Nash Rambler was the butt of jokes about its size (video), the Metropolitan (seen here) was even smaller. It's a few inches longer than the current Mini.

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Now that's a long car

A 1957 Lincoln Premier. 300 hp V8 and well over 18 feet long.

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Metropolitan anyone?

Power seats, windows, brakes, steering and a couch to sit on while you're driving.

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Avanti

The Avanti, made by Studebaker, featured a fairly powerful V8 and a fiberglass body, but it wasn't enough to save the brand.

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Modern/retro

The Avanti looks like someone from today designed a retro-looking interior for a modern car.

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1958 Hawk

Maybe "guppy" would have been a better name? Catfish? Packard wouldn't survive the decade.

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Fill 'er up

It's small, but there's a sticker under the gas gauge that says "Premium gas only." It's easy to forget these cars still run. Always a good thing at a museum like this.

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'57

The classic '57 Thunderbird.

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Hughes-bought

This 1955 Packard Caribbean was a gift from Howard Hughes to actress Jean Peters.

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Pink on white

The interior is in pretty good shape, considering.

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CHP

There wasn't much info on this car, but it's in amazing condition for a police car. It looks like it just rolled off a movie set.

Gotta love the '87 Mercury Colony Park station wagon next to it.

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Surprisingly simple

No SCMODS (video).

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Muscle

The keys to this AMC Javelin were literally on the hood. There were no cars blocking it in. I was alone in the museum.

I had... thoughts.

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Go go go

This one has the 360 ci engine with the factory "Go Package" which included a limited-slip differential. It's in beautiful shape.

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Beep beep

The huge tail of the Road Runner Superbird you saw in the first photo.

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Big bird

Pretty basic inside, especially considering how wacky it still looks on the outside.

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Separate room

The most expensive vehicles in the collection are in a separate room, available usually just with a chaperone.

This 1936 Packard Roadster had a 130 hp straight 8, hence the long hood.

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Touring

This Packard Touring Car, also from 1936, looks insanely regal. Under the hood is a 175-hp V12.

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Luxurious

Even all these years later, the dash still looks elegant.

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'30s

An incredible 1937 Pierce-Arrow Town Car. If you are wondering how a car company that made cars like this survived the Great Depression, well, it didn't.

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Long 8

This isn't an engine format you'll ever see in a normal car ever again. The inline-8 isn't the best way to package cylinders engine anymore.

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Leather

The car in the middle is a Stutz Monte Carlo. If the paint looks weird, it's because it's not paint. The entire car is covered in Zapon leatherette.

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Zoom zoom

A fun afternoon. The Automobile Driving Museum is small, but it has some fantastic cars.

For the full story behind this tour, check out "Up close with the motoring legends of the Automobile Driving Museum."

Published:
Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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