Beautiful cars

The guided tour of the Nethercutt Collection begins here.

The Collection's main draw is an assortment of cars from 100-plus years of motoring, all immaculate and in good working order.

For the full story behind the tour, check out A tour of the Nethercutt Museum and Collection: From classic cars to self-playing orchestras.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Nethercutt Collection

Designed to look like the showrooms of the first few decades of motoring, the Grand Salon is a sight to behold. More akin to a European palace ballroom than a car museum in the Valley.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

V-16

This beauty of a 1930 Cadillac has a  7.4L V-16...and only 175 horsepower. Engine design has come a long way since then.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Mellow "Orello"

This 1934 Packard was painted yellow to match one of its advertisements. For an added price, Packard would paint your car any color you liked.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

The first

This 1930 DuPont is the first classic car bought and restored by J.B. Nethercutt. It won the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

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Loooong

Some of these early cars, like this 1909 Gorbron-Brillie Model 70/90, are truly massive. It has a 12-liter opposed-piston 6-cylinder engine.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Duesenberg

A beautiful 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ. Stunning. $20,000 when new, or roughly $360,000 in today's money.

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Merc

This 1913 Mercedes 37/95 Double Phaeton-Torpedo was considered the most powerful car of its day: 95hp from a 9.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Pistons like dinner plates...

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Wax

Moving upstairs one level, there's a collection of hood ornaments, and this wax cylinder player, which looked brand new. Once the hipsters get bored with vinyl, will wax cylinders see the next boom in popularity?

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Mechanical music

In a shadowy but massive space, featuring dark colors on dark carpet, cabinet-size wooden devices loomed large.

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Music boxes

Called orchestrions, they're essentially a band in a box.

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Stereo?

Most wouldn't fit in a normal 8-foot-ceiling home.

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Sorta creepy

To give you an idea on size, I'm holding the camera at my chest level, about 5 feet from the ground. These things are huge, and it messes with your head because they look similar to a wardrobe, but are so much bigger.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Paper playback

Perhaps the craziest part is the music from these machines is all stored on paper rolls.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Spinning wheel

All of those violins are played at the same time. The metal hoop is the bow, which spins. Rubber-tipped tabs press the strings. I can't imagine tuning it.

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Thunderous

This was the biggest orchestrion in the room, a Hupfeld Excelsior-Pan Orchester. At least 18 feet wide, probably about 6 deep. It had drums, accordions, an organ, and more. Completed in 1926, it was used in a Dutch hotel's dining room.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Innards

And you thought your phone was complex. I'm guessing "turning it off, then back on" doesn't fix most problems.

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Console envy

Now that is a console. It seemed an oddity, just a lovely console in the center of the room. But there were no pipes visible...

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Presentation

Definitely an "A" for showmanship. The lights dimmed, the console rose from the floor, and curtains parted to reveal most of the 5,000 pipes of the Wurlitzer theater organ, one of the largest in the world (the larger pipes were hidden in the walls).

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Rainbow connection

The sound was tremendous. Bass so deep you could feel it. Being a theater organ, it also made sound effects (for silent movies).

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Museum

The Nethercutt Museum, across the street, is far more traditional. Rows of beautiful cars.

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Stunning

In my opinion, the most beautiful car at the Nethercutt: a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150 C-SS. Those lines, the colors...perfection.

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Talbot-Lago

A 3.96-liter six-cylinder engine putting out a respectable 140hp. I bet this thing still cooks.

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Almost as awesome

Probably the best car in any other collection, this gorgeous Bugatti Type 51 would be the best consolation prize ever if you couldn't get the Talbot-Lago. 185hp from it's 2.3-liter straight-8.

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'Vette

My favorite Corvette, a 1965, looking showroom new.

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1955 Thunderbird

I knew a guy who had his 911 GT2 painted this color. He and I have different tastes.

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Quite a Doozy

A 1936 Duesenberg SJN, featured in the 1949 version of "The Great Gatsby."

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Caravaning

A classy 1936 Pierce-Arrow, towing an even classier Travelodge trailer.

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Nicer than my house

Polished wood floor to ceiling...I could live here.

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Travelodge Model A

This was a last ditch effort to keep the Pierce-Arrow brand afloat. It didn't work.

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Cord

What an incredible looking car. Easily my no. 3 favorite in the Nethercutt: a 1937 Cord 812, with a supercharged V-8 and 175hp. Surprisingly, it's front-wheel drive.

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Row of Rolls

A whole bevvy of Rolls, stepping back through the years. Not a vast amount of change through the decades.

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Mini

What a cute, tiny...Bugatti? Yep, a Type 23 Brescia Cabriolet.

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Packard

This 1956 Caribbean was the last of the real Packards. After this, they were rebadged as Studebakers. 310hp from its 6.1-liter V-8.

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Green machine

This 1928 Minerva, from Belgium, was owned by General Billy Mitchell.

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Now those are rilms

1931 Ford Model A, the last year available. Quite a lot of car for $580.

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Mr. T

A 1915 Model T "Coupelet" in its traditional colors.

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M-O-O-N. That spells 'moon'

Another forgotten brand, Moon made 10,000 cars in 1925. This 1923 Model 6/58 had a 58hp inline-six.

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Dort

Winning the "Best Name" competition, this is a Dort Model 5.

"Hey, man, I just bought a Dort."

"Wow, nice Dort!"

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Hudson

A beautiful 1952 Hudson Hornet, almost, but not quite, Doc Hudson.

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Steampunk

Out back behind the museum is a full-on steam locomotive and custom Pullman railcar.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Whistlestop

You enter from the rear of the train. Even from the outside it's more lavish than any train car I've seen.

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Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison

Boombox

But does it have Bluetooth?

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Dinner for eight

High-style dining, from your personal chef of course.

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Wait, roommates?

Surprisingly, the beds were small, and there were two in the big room. I guess Ms. Baldwin Stocker liked company. There are also two much smaller, similarly appointed, single staterooms.

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En suite

Just imagine trying to shower while the train was moving.

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Hallway

This is looking back down the hallway towards where we came in.

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Live-in chef

Adjacent to the kitchen is the servant's quarters. Not bad digs.

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Kitchen

A sizeable kitchen, considering.

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Engine room

The last stop on the tour, the incredible engine room of the Royal Hudson locomotive.

For the full story behind the tour, check out A tour of the Nethercutt Museum and Collection: From classic cars to self-playing orchestras.

Published:
Photo by: Geoffrey Morrison
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