Welcome to the Academy of Art
University Automobile Museum.
I’m William Barnes, the curator. I’ve been here about 12 years. The University started in 1929. Having this automobile collection
was a dream of Richard Stevens,
who has loved cars since he was 6 years old. He would look through the windows
here in San Francisco and see these great cars; this is his way of bringing back the past,
so future generations can
familiarize themselves with styles of the past. Let’s take a look at our Tucker. This car is a recent addition to the collection,
because we had so many people
asking about Tuckers. They would come in and see the other cars,
and ask, “Do you have a Tucker?”
and we didn’t. We had been looking for one for quite a while. This Tucker is Tucker Number 3
off the assembly line,
which was really a makeshift assembly line at that time. These cars were futuristic in a way;
there were some safety devices that
were added to this car that were light years ahead of the other manufacturers’. Unfortunately, Tucker wasn’t able
to produce enough of them to stay in business.
They built them in 1948, and that was it. Let me show you the interior. In the interior of this Tucker,
you can see that they designed
a safety zone over on the right; that was designed for a passenger
to avoid any kind of dashboard injury. They were able to get down there on the floor for safety. They did roll-over tests in these cars,
and they performed well. Some of the switches
on the dashboard
included for safety: a center-controlled headlight
that would turn on and off
when it was about 10 degrees off-center, which made it easier to look around corners. Tucker incorporated a lot of other
manufacturers’ components in this car: rear engine,
and an automatic transmission.
They were light years ahead in 1948. Why don’t we go take a look
at William Randolph Hearst’s Duesenberg? Supercharged 1935
Murphy-bodied, disappearing top. This would have been a great car
to have in the mid-1930s. William Randolph Hearst picked it out as a used car.
He probably had a lot of fun driving this thing. These engines are dual overhead-cam,
in line 8 cylinder,
with the supercharger. They built high 20s of these cars total. They’ll go over 100 miles per hour.
This would have been a lot of fun to drive. I can take you over to look at this Buick now.
restored back in 1989 by Fran Rocksis. All of the caning you see here
on the doors was hand applied. This car was ordered new by Sandra Plankington.
She took this car to Florida
from New York every summer. Let’s take a look inside. The inside of the Buick,
is super comfortable: lots of leg room,
it has some neat instrumentation here,
that allows passengers to keep an eye on what the driver is doing while we are riding. The interior can be kept cool
by rolling down the windows in front
as well as on the sides to get cross-ventilation. When you had your friends along,
you could add by pulling down the jump seats,
one on each side, so you get 4 people back here pretty comfortably. Let’s take a look at our Mercedes 300 SL. You know why they call it a gullwing?
Take a look. The inside of this 300 SL is really cool.
There are a lot of gauges. A fuel-injected engine meant
there were many more things
to keep an eye on while driving. It was originally designed as a racecar. Mercedes figured out a way
to tilt the steering wheel down,
so you can get in easier, when it was street-used, It is kind of hard to climb over the sill here,
but that gave you a lot more room to put your feet in,
before you could take it out for a drive. These cars really are fun to drive:
a lot of power,
very solid chassis. This car was owned by the Jenny Craig collection,
prior to us obtaining it. Let’s go take a look at this
Plaid-Side Roadster Willys. This car uses a Knight sleeve-valve engine. They are super quiet, a little smoky —
that was the demise of this engine — This car was designed by Amis Northrop.
It was a big smash at the auto show.
They sold out the first year. Let’s take this one for a ride. First we will have to turn on the fuel supply.
This car does not use
a fuel pump, in a sense. It uses a vacuum tank.
It uses engine vacuum to draw fuel into this tank
from the gas tank in the back of the car, and it gravity-feeds the carburetor. Now that that is on, we are ready. Thanks for coming along for a tour
of the Academy of Art’s automobile museum.
I hope you enjoy the drive as much as I do.