American Antique Car Association (AACA) Museum

The American Antique Car Association museum is located on the way into Hershey, Pennsylvania, just off of Route 39.  We visited it today and wandered around for a couple of hours.  There are three floors but the largest and most complete exhibits are on the first floor.  The 2nd floor had a lot less space devoted to exhibits and was almost entirely motorcycles.  The ground (basement?) floor was mostly buses and motorcycles but had been partially cleared out for an upcoming weekend event.

1908 Zimmerman Surrey

The layout of exhibits was a little strange in that it was only partly chronological.   In a couple of instances there was a theme, like the iconic cars from the 1960’s.

But in other instances there were 1970’s muscle cars next to 1920’s runabouts.  Most eras were well represented however, with many of the cars that embodied the times.

1924 Stevens-Duryea Runabout

1906 Cherval Runabout (made almost entirely from wood!)

There was an ongoing discussion in many of the exhibits concerning the value of restoring antique vehicles versus leaving them as-is.  Part of the concern about restoration is that many of the cars and motorcycles at the museum are the only surviving models of their kind in the entire world and that the process of restoration often means that some original parts are replaced with new ones which lowers the value and decreases their authenticity. For this reason many of the cars and motorcycles were displayed as-is.

1906 Model B Brush Runabout

Having said that, most of of the vehicles had been restored, although this was often done before they were given or loaned to the museum.

1924 Fageol Passenger Bus
1938 Autocar Tanker
1962 Corvette Convertible

There was a special exhibit of Tucker automobiles, which was claimed to be the largest collection of Tuckers (three!) in one place in the entire world.  They were a very snazzy car for their time with very advanced engineering and it’s a shame the company failed.

1948 Tucker
1948 Tucker

There were a lot of motorcycles, somewhat jumbled together by era and condition.  I’m not a motorcycle afficianado, but there was one there that brought back memories.

1969 Honda 90

I had a Honda 90 (and a Honda 50 and a Honda 150) at one time or another during my late teens.  Put a lot of miles on them and even rode to Yosemite Park and back on one.  Almost killed myself more than once while riding them too.

It was an interesting museum in its own way.  Although fairly comprehensive there were some notable gaps.  In particular there seemed to be very few cars from the 1930’s and 1940’s.  In addition the cars displayed from the 1950’s through the 1980’s were all mainstream cars and there wasn’t anything particularly unusual or quirky from that era. Fords also seemed to be poorly represented as there wasn’t a Thunderbird, an Edsel or even a Mustang to be seen.

Neither Susan nor I are “car” people, but we were able to appreciate the rare and unusual cars displayed at the AACA Museum and don’t feel we wasted our time.  We give it an A for handicap accessibility as it had electric doors, an elevator and well laid-out and roomy bathrooms.

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