Car Gazing at the California Automobile Museum

I don’t know much about cars. But do I enjoy looking at vintage automobiles and learning about their history and design. I marvel at the meticulous work that went into restoring them to pristine condition. And let’s face it: Cars from middle decades of the 20th century are way more stylish and interesting to look at than most cars on the road today.

So, when I had part of a day to kill before heading home from California recently, I decided to spend it at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento.

The warehouse-like building was undergoing a roof replacement, so part of the museum was closed to visitors, exhibits were in disarray, and cars had been moved around to accommodate the ongoing work. Still, about two-thirds of the museum’s collection of some 150 vehicles was on display. Each was beautifully restored, and a docent told me that most are in drivable condition.

If you love old cars or simply love looking at them, the California Automobile Museum is for you. The roof work should be done this year, so the museum soon will be back to normal, with even more to see.

A row of beautiful cars from the Roaring ’20s. Love those running boards!

The 1938 Chrysler Imperial Airflow Sedan (left) was an early attempt to improve automobile aerodynamics. The 1950 Ford Station Wagon was one of the last “Woodie” models designed with real maple and mahogany panels.

This 1953 Bel Air was Chevrolet’s luxury liner. Featured in a national ad campaign around this time, popular singer Dinah Shore was encouraging Americans to “See the USA in your Chevrolet!”

Two classics from the 1960s: a 1965 Ford Mustang and a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette. The latter was repainted in its original “Corvette bronze” color but is otherwise in its original condition.

Now this is a museum shop! If you want to drive home in a beautifully restored vintage car, here’s your chance!

David Romanowski, 2017


About David R

For more about me, check out my blog "Bike Walk Drive" at
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2 Responses to Car Gazing at the California Automobile Museum

  1. Harry Darling says:

    I too enjoy looking at the old cars. I am not much interested in restoring any of them however. We have a small auto museum here in Saratoga, and of course, there is the Hemming museum in Bennington, Vermont, nearby. Nice selection of pictures presenting a good cross section of the cars on display!


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