Monday, May 2, 2011

The Automobile Driving Museum

I recently stumbled upon a nice little gem in the South Bay called The Automobile Driving Museum: The Museum That Takes You For A Ride.  They weren't kidding about the "taking you for a ride" part.  Not only is this a classic car museum that is donation based (you can donate as little or as much as you want for the entry fee) but on Sundays, they take museum goers for a ride in a few of their classic cars!  The cars that you can ride in change every week, so check their website to see what's coming up!  On Saturdays, they encourage museum attendees to sit in some of the cars to really get a feel for them.  This isn't your typical "look but don't touch" museum!

A $5 donation got us a personal tour from Liz, a retiree car enthusiast, and a ride in a 1950's Kaiser.  The name Kaiser is the same one from Kaiser-Permanente health insurance.  Mr. Kaiser originally started the insurance group for his employees.  We went for a nice cruise around El Segundo with our driver, who shared with us lots of local trivia.  It was fun to imagine what life was like in the 50's as the Kaiser rumbled down Nash St., absorbing all the bumps with its super-soft suspension.

It was interesting to learn via the tour that a lot of our "modern" technology is really old technology re-done.  Many of the cars in the museum were pre-1950's but some of them had options that car makers today are touting as innovative and groundbreaking.  There was a car that had headlights that would point in the direction that you were turning, another car with wooden wheels had a Continuously Variable Transmission (something we've only seen in the last 10 years or so in hybrid cars), and another car had a convertible hard top.

The Automobile Driving Museum is a great place to visit, whether you're a car nut or not.  It's just fun to see how things were way back when.

L.A. trivia:  Douglas St. in El Segundo is twice as wide as any other other street in the area because it used to be a taxi-way for airplanes.  During World War II, airplanes would be manufactured in the surrounding factories and then taxied to the airport on what is now Douglas St.  It's not a taxi-way anymore, but the street is wide, smooth, and the traffic lights are about a quarter mile apart.  I'll let you put 2 and 2 together.  ;)

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