Sprawling, big-budget car museums are great, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be tedious. To balance things out, I’m a big fan of those local car collections, usually housed in a repurposed industrial building. These hidden gems offer a more intimate experience that often isn’t available in the large-scale organizations, and provide a glimpse into collections you might not see otherwise.
Tucked away in historic Grovewood Village in Asheville, North Carolina, the aptly named Antique Car Museum hides a small collection of cars that began a little more than 50 years ago. The former weaving workshop houses founder Harry Blomberg’s car collection he gradually amassed as the owner of Asheville’s oldest family owned car dealership.
1922 American LaFrance Type 75
I’d consider this massive fire truck as the crown-jewel of the collection. These American LaFrance rigs are popular as the ultimate rolling garage art, and often appear in local parades around the country. This particular truck served Asheville for over 40 years.
1928 Chandler Sedan
Chandler is one of many defunct U.S. automakers that disappeared before World War II. Unlike many others, Chandler went under not on account of the war, but as a result of overconfident expansion, buoyed by strong sales during 1928. That same year, Hupp Motor Car Company purchased Chandler and its debts, and summarily discontinued the brand.
1940 Buick Century
Introduced in 1936 as the replacement for the popular Series 60, the Century packs a 320 cubic-inch inline-eight pushing out 165 hp. This was a sizeable bump over the more affordable Buick Special’s 233 cubic-inch engine, earning the Century’s nickname as “the banker’s hot rod.”
1932 Chevrolet Coupe
Despite Chevy moving over 300,000 Series BA Confederates in 1932, it’s uncommon to find one of these coupes in original configuration, considering they’re a popular canvas for hotrodders.
1927 REO Flying Cloud
After Ransom E. Olds left the fledgling Olds Motor Works (an early Oldsmobile) in 1904, he started REO Motor Car Company. It proved to be quite successful in the Pre-War era, especially with the REO Flying Cloud model.
1950 MG TD
This itty bitty MG roadster is the lone import in the collection. MG’s “T” series were examples of what made the British automaker so popular—low weight, small engines, and simple engineering.
1959 Edsel Corsair
Removed from the well-documented failure of the Edsel brand, I struggle to see why Edsels like this Corsair are considered to be poorly designed. Parked next to one of the many misshapen crossover SUVs plucked up by modern consumers, this Corsair is downright stylish.