Tag: Museum

After a dream fulfilled, Lyle Aklested says goodbye to Ford museum – Taylor Inman @Daily Inter Lake


Bigfork resident Lyle Aklested grew his collection of classic cars over the years to a total 120 cars, most of which sat in his Flathead V8 Ford Museum that he opened in 1980.

After sharing his collection with the public for nearly 40 years, Aklested is ready to say goodbye to his museum.

Aklested has a storied life. He flips through experiences in his mind, speaking about his time as a boxing referee for the United States during the Olympics to his lifelong career as a farmer in northwestern Montana.

But, one of his greatest passions lies in his car collection and the act of meticulously bringing every one up to spec. Growing up on a family farm in Conrad, he said it’s hard to remember the exact moment when he started becoming interested in cars but reflects on his first few projects — including taking the engine off his dad’s grain auger and putting it in a Model T frame to see if he could get it to run.

“Then I drug my grandfather’s 1918 Dodge out of the dump that he had … it would turn over. When I was a kid, 14 years old, or something like that, I got the thing running. My dad says ‘What are you going to do? You can’t get tires for it.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m going to take and shorten all the spokes on the Model T wheels.’ I’m sure they thought ‘what in the world’s wrong with that kid?’” Aklested said.

The museum’s name is strictly coincidental, he said. A 1951 Ford Flathead V8 was his first car. Despite the museum being in Flathead County, not even a mile from Flathead Lake, Aklested said the name comes strictly from his favorite engine. He said it was a very desirable car at the time in the 1950s, and made the decision to stick with Fords from then on out.

“I thought I’d be more knowledgeable on the Flathead V8’s and Fords and see what the history of them are, for them to change each year, with the engine and with a horsepower or even with the color of the engines, the upholstery— I really got hooked on the history of Ford,” Aklested said.

He built his first “hot rod” when he was 17 years old, a ‘31 Pontiac.

“The old fish hatchery on the west side of Flathead Lake had it sitting out there and a lady from Idaho owned it. So I had written to her and asked her if she wanted to sell it. Yes, she did, and it was $8. That’s what I paid for my 31 Pontiac … and it just went from there,” Aklested said.

HIS LOVE of cars grew with his success as a farmer, which he avidly pursued. He started with a loan to buy all of the necessary equipment and machinery needed for his farm, working his way up financially to be able to eventually pursue things like his car collection. He started purchasing cars to fix up, one after another — and before he knew it, he was in need of a little more room.

“I built another building at my farm in Sweet Grass there, which held about 18 cars. Then finally I thought, well, I can’t do my restoring anymore in the shop with all the tractors and trucks and stuff like that,” he said.

Then he decided to build in Bigfork. He built one shop then a second and then he needed a bigger building again for his cars.

“And that’s how the idea of the Flathead V8 Museum got started,” he said.

Aklested curated his museum as his collection of cars compounded, also creating a section at the front which contained old tools and memorabilia. He said he enjoyed getting to share all of this with whoever wanted to stop in during the years the museum was active.

BUT A few years ago things took a turn when a drunk driver drove through the front of his museum, totaling two cars and shaking Aklested, who decided it was time to look into closing its doors.

“It just killed my heart. If it was a business for me it wouldn’t hurt as much … But this is something that I had set up, that was my ‘Lyle’s man cave,’ that was my thing and so were the cars. We had it opened as a museum, you know, and tried to enjoy the cars with other people. When that happened, it just really did something to me,” Aklested said.

When it was time to start selling cars, Aklested didn’t even have to advertise. His aptly named museum drew its own attention, and he said he has been able to sell his cars to interested buyers all over the world. Which he said made him “feel very good.”

He said collecting cars felt like a pursuit he was never able to satisfy, much like his farming career where he avidly bought more and more farmland— he just kept buying cars. Most of these vehicles he chose to sell, but there are a few special ones he is planning on keeping.

“One of the vehicles I’m keeping is a 1958 Ford pickup. I restored it, put it in the colors of yellow and white, which are the colors that I had on all my trucks and everything when I was farming — I’d painted everything yellow and white. That’s gonna be my hearse,” Aklested said.

This 1954 Chevrolet Delray Shows That “Museum Quality” May Not Be What You Think It Is – David Conwill @Hemmings


A good story trumps condition”

This is not the most-perfect 1954 Chevrolet in existence, but it’s still in a museum.

With us, most of the cars aren’t perfect,” says Stanley Sipko, curator at the AACA Museum, Inc., in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was that collection which led to me pondering this question, as there are very few of what you might call “thousand-point” restorations on hand. Points, of course, referring to the scoring systems used to judge competitors at numerous single-make shows held around the country each year.

Why wouldn’t museums seek out cars restored perfectly to factory-built condition? It’s because often those cars have no story to them beyond being representative of an agreed-upon ideal of what a particular car looked like when new. Museum exhibits rarely look to display that level of perfection because it’s not what the general public relates to when it comes to a museum. Automobiles matter most when considered in context rather than in a vacuum.

The context is provided by a museum’s mission statement, says Derek E. Moore, newly appointed curator of collections for the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee; previously director of collections at the National Corvette Museum; former curator of transportation history for the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio; and one-time conservation specialist for transportation collections at The Henry Ford:

“My take as a curator is that it has to be for everyone. It has to be for the car people in this world and it has to be for the general public. That’s where it becomes a challenge. You could buy a warehouse, fill it with hundreds of cars, put out no labels, no nothing, but every car person would probably still come see it because it’s just fun to look at cars; but when you look at a museum, our job is to educate the general public as well and you have to make it interesting and relatable to everyday visitors.

“Be it the most-passionate automotive historian who may walk in our door, down to the least-knowledgeable visitor off the street. The hope is to make it great for them, so they tell their friends and come back.”

We’ve seen cars where the underside of the dash is as neat and clean as the topside, but being “driver quality” doesn’t prevent a car from also being museum-worthy.

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Go to Nebraska to see this iconic California hot rod – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com


An iconic segment of the California hot rod culture is on display in a museum, but it’s a museum halfway across the country. The Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed is located in Lincoln, Nebraska, but is showcasing the famed little black Model T hot rod built by a youngster named Ed Iskenderian, who soon would become famous for creating high-performance camshafts. “Isky” anticipates celebrating his 100th birthday on July 10.

If the Nebraska location for the famous hot rod seems strange, consider that the car is displayed with Ed Winfield’s cam grinder that Isky used as well as with the only other pair of Maxi cylinder heads known to exist. The car is owned by Isky and is in Nebraska on a long-term loan.

As the story goes, Isky — the nickname given by school teachers who couldn’t pronounce Iskenderian — and a buddy John Athan grew up in the same Los Angeles neighborhood and were fascinated by the cut-down and hopped-up Model Ts people were building. 

Athan built a T-based hot rod and then one based on a Model A (in the 1950s the car appeared in the Elvis Presley movie, Loving You). Isky acquired a T-based car from Athan in the late 1930s, replacing the 4-cylinder engine with a flathead V8 equipped with Maxi overhead valve head, and adding an Edelbrock triple manifold and Vertex magneto.

He made many other changes — 1932 Ford front axle with 1937 wishbones, Plymouth hydraulic brakes, Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels, modified 1933 Pontiac grille, gauge panel salvaged from an 8-cylinder Auburn, and a flying-skull hood ornament Isky created in a high school shop class. 

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Home To Serial #1 Model A!!- Model A Museum At The Gilmore – Matt Murray @IrontrapGarage


The Ford Model A Museum at The Gilmore is where we spent a good portion of our trip. This is the world’s largest museum dedicated to the Ford Model A thanks to the Model A Ford Foundation.

Inside you will find the very first Model A ever produced, which was a gift to Thomas Edison, and is technically the first hot rodded Model A. The Museum is filled with every body style Model A you can imagine, a Model AA school bus, and a plane!!! The Ford Model A Museum is one of the many reasons to visit The Gilmore Car Museum on your next road trip!!

Pontiac Fiero museum destroyed in Michigan flooding was labor of love – Bob Golfen @ClassicCars.com


There are so many sad stories of loss coming out of the recent dam collapse and flooding in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, with many homes ruined and lifetimes of possessions destroyed, and adding to the overall misery in the midst of a deadly pandemic.

One of the more-painful stories, at least for car people, is that of Tim Evans and his Fieros Forever museum, which was brutally destroyed by the flood waters rushing through.  Located in Sanford, just a quarter mile down from one of the two dams that failed during several days of rain, the museum focusing on the mid-engine Pontiac two-seat sports cars was a labor of love for Evans.  He pretty much lost it all.

“The building got 8 or 9 feet of water,” Evans said in an interview with Autoweek magazine. “The garage door blew out and everything got washed away. We had a car up on the hoist; it’s now upside down in the back yard.”

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New Material Now Available From The Archival Digitization Project – @ACDMuseum


Last year the ACDAM made parts of the archival collection available online in a searchable database for the first time. In response to recent school and business closures, the museum staff has decided to release as much of the archive as possible to the public ahead of schedule. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum Archive Database now includes the Photographs Auburn Collection, Photographs Cord Collection, and approximately 1/4 of the Photographs Duesenberg Collection!

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2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Duesenberg Automobile and Motor Company, Inc. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime occasion with an unbelievable gift of the very first customer-purchased production passenger vehicle built by the Duesenberg brothers, which has been in the same family’s ownership for 100 years.

Donated by CyrAnn and James C. Castle, Jr. of California, the 1921 Duesenberg Model A Coupe features a body built by the Bender Body Company of Cleveland, Ohio and was produced to the order of the car’s original owner, Samuel Northrup Castle, including space for his seven-foot-tall stature.  Mr. Castle was from a family of Hawaiian missionaries and was a founder of Castle & Cooke Co., a Hawaiian sugar cooperative, when he ordered the car and received it in 1921 due to delayed production.  It was the first production Model A to be built after the prototypes were completed and tested and the first one to be sold to the public.

The Castle Duesenberg would remain in his possession until his death in 1959 when ownership was transferred to his nephew, James Christian Castle, and was transported to San Francisco and placed into storage. Upon his death in 1994, ownership then transferred to his son, James C. Castle, Jr. and his wife CyrAnn. The 1921 Duesenberg Model A Coupe has remained in the Castle family until the decision was made to entrust the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum with the care and preservation of the vehicle and to be its future steward.

“This gift to the museum is one of the most significant donations to the collection in the 45-year history of the museum,” states Brandon J. Anderson, Executive Director & CEO of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum.  “The Castle’s generosity will allow for future generations to appreciate the history of Duesenberg, automotive design and engineering, the evolution of the automobile, and the legacy of the Castle family in perpetuity.”

This Duesenberg Model A was the first in American passenger vehicles to be equipped with four-wheel hydraulic brakes and an overhead-cam in-line straight-eight engine producing a top speed well over 100mph.  In 2010, the Castles commissioned a 10,000-hour, three-year restoration to bring the vehicle back to its original appearance and specifications.  In 2013, the Castle Duesenberg would go on to win the Classic Cars of America Trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Best of Show at the Niello Concours at Serrano, and the Automotive Heritage Award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

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Cemented in history: Entombed 1954 Corvette joins museum’s collection – Larry Edsall @Classiccars.com


In 1954, Richard Sampson, a successful business owner in Brunswick, Maine, bought a new Chevrolet Corvette.

Cemented in history: Entombed 1954 Corvette

“After driving it for four years, he wanted to park it somewhere safe,” reports the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentuck

Cemented in history: Entombed 1954 Corvette

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Related – Through the generosity of donors, the National Corvette Museum hopes to grow its collection