Motor Mouth Blog

Come explore the musings of your fellow car enthusiasts. Get excited about the movement we are all a part of!


ACM Visitors Voted, and We Listened

By Scot Keller, Curator of Exhibitry

When we launched the Through the Lens – Cars Defined by an American Century exhibit in December, we put forward ten automobiles, one from each decade 1910 – 2010, that we argue best represented the history and culture of the period.

The idea was to ”make the case” for the specific cars while leaving it up to visitors to decide on their own. To have some fun and encourage dialog in the exhibit, we created a feedback component where guests cast votes for one car per post-war decade, with a promise to change the exhibit based on their opinion.

And vote they have. Without influence from foreign powers, 45,000 votes have already been cast. The Vox Populi have spoken, and we are making changes, the first being for the 1970’s.

Of the five cars from that decade, the Trans-Am has handily beaten the others. Accordingly, we added an epic Screaming Chicken adorned 1976 example to pair next with the first generation Honda Civic. Suffice it to say; you’ll not likely see two cars contrasting each other as much as these.

In another part of the exhibit, visitors have a chance to record which car brand will define the decade ending in 2020. The hands-down choice is the Tesla, with over 75% of the comments. Voilà, we added a pristine first generation to the exhibit.

Another clear favorite has been the DeLorean for the 1980’s. We decided not to add that to the exhibit because we have two excellent examples, side by side, on the next floor down and are reluctant to separate them.

Photo by @Stanced_Photography.

The top vote gatherers aren’t the only things changing. A few on the list have been, well let’s just say, unenthusiastically received. Cars like the 60’s Corvair, the poor Pinto from the 70’s and 80’s Dodge Aries K-car aren’t generating a lot of love.

Therefore we decided to shake-up the voting and replace these too. What should we add to the list?

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Car Stories: The Pierce-Arrow 38C

By Renèe Crist, ACM Collections Manager

The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company of Buffalo, New York, produced some of the finest automobiles made for thirty-eight years. For over 20 years, Pierce-Arrow was the car of choice by the White House for the use by the President. The Pierce-Arrow was considered the American equivalent of Rolls-Royce, making this example one of the finest cars available in 1916.

There were approximately 2,004 Model 38-C4’s produced in 1916, and this Brougham Limousine was just one of the seventeen body styles that were available. The car sits on its original chassis and body on a 134-inch wheelbase. It is powered by its original a 6-cylinder engine with 38 hp, 4-inch bore on a 5 ½ inch stroke. Some luxury features on the car include an electric clock, intercom to the driver from the rear seat, and crystal flower vases in the rear passenger compartment. The base price new was $5,350.

1913 Pierce Arrow Hood Ornament

This 38-C represents the Nickel Period, referring to the plating process used on automobile brightwork. The car is an especially important piece of automobile history since Nickel Period cars were often overlooked in favor of the earlier Brass Period and the later Chrome Period. Many Nickel Period automobiles have been lost or their original nickel mistakenly chromed in later restorations. This 38C-4 Brougham Limousine was restored to its current condition in 1964 by Lambert Lobberegt for his private collection of fine classic vehicles Issaquah, Washington. Harold LeMay acquired the car for his collection from the Lobberegt Estate in 1997. The car was donated to LeMay-America’s Car Museum in 2003.

A fine representation of automotive design and elegance, the car has been presented on the lawn at The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2005, Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance in 2006, Rocky Mountain Concours d’Elegance in 2007, and the Kirkland Concours d’Elegance in 2006 and 2011.

Recognized as a Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA), the car has been featured on exhibit in the Classics and Coachwork Exhibit at America’s Car Museum.

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This February, stay at a downtown Seattle Hotel and Experience Culture and Creativity with Half-Off Entry to 40 Regional Museums

Content courtesy of Visit Seattle

In need of a vacation or staycation? The fourth annual Seattle Museum Month, running February 1 – 28, 2018, offers downtown Seattle hotel guests 50 percent off the admission price to 40 participating museums and cultural institutions in the region. A Seattle winter getaway in February is the perfect opportunity to explore fun and diverse museums. The offers isn’t exclusive to Seattle museums either – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma is included in the offer!

New this year to Seattle Museum Month are the Tacoma Art Museum, the Seattle Children’s Museum and the W.W. Seymour Conservatory.

Returning museums include Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), The Museum of Flight, Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, LeMay – America’s Car Museum, Seattle Pinball Museum, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo,  Museum of Glass, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Suquamish Tribal Museum, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and Chihuly Garden and Glass.

The discount program is only valid for guests staying at one of the participating hotels, up to four people, during hotel stay dates. Visitors must present an official Seattle Museum Month guest pass at participating museums to redeem the discounts.

“The Alexis hotel along with the three other Kimpton hotels in the city excitedly welcome the return of Seattle Museum Month,” said Tom Waithe, Regional Vice President of Kimpton Hotels, Pacific Northwest and Mountain Regions. “We have seen a tremendous surge in winter weekend visitor interest to the city when there’s opportunity to explore and save at so many venues. Our hope is that this year Seattle Museum Month is the best ever, and the program continues to grow and develop in the years ahead.”

Since the launch of Seattle Museum Month in 2015, the program has established itself as the perfect winter retreat for anyone, of all ages, to experience Seattle and the region’s unique and engaging museum collection, spanning arts, history, heritage, pop culture, natural history, aviation, automotive, and more.

To see the full list of participating museums, visit the Seattle Museum Month website at

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Rocket Car: 1986 Owasso Pulse GCRV Autocycle

By Renee Crist, ACM Collections Manager

Higher fuel prices in the years following the 1970’s oil embargos opened the door for new manufacturers offering innovative options for those seeking fuel efficient transportation. The Pulse Autocycle, designed by aircraft designer Jim Bede and built by the Owosso Motor Company from 1984 to 1990, advertised its fuel consumption at 70+ miles per gallon.

The Pulse can be described as an enclosed motorcycle with outrigger wheels attached. It seats two, one in front and one in back. The car came equipped with a 400cc air-cooled Yamaha engine with 6 speeds and chain drive. It rides on a 120″ wheel base, has a total length of 192″ and weighs approximately 1000 pounds.  The car has automobile-like steering, with clutch, brakes, and gas pedal on the floor just like a car.  However, the gear shift, located on the right arm rest, shifts sequentially the same as a motorcycle.

The Pulse was also referred to as a “GCRV”, or Ground Cruising Recreational Vehicle.  The term describes a vehicle that has the performance and acceleration of a motorcycle engineered into a comfortable weatherproof vehicle with many of the attributes of an automobile. It rides on two automotive type wheels and tires with outriggers, each fitted with a small 8″ diameter wheel, and because only one wheel makes contact with the ground at a time, the design met United States federal regulations to be licensed and operated as a motorcycle. To operate the Pulse on the road, most states in the USA required the driver have a motorcycle endorsement on their regular driver’s license.

The first 21 manufactured by Owasso were called “Litestars”. Owosso Motor Car Company made 101 cars in 1986 and records obtained from the Lightstar/Owasso Registry indicate that #223 was manufactured in April of 1986 and titled to an owner in Pennsylvania in July of that year. Only 44 were ordered from the factory painted yellow.

There was a total of 325 Pulses built by the Owosso Motor Car Company.  America’s Car Museum’s Owasso Pulse is a complete unrestored original example that is frequently an object for study by engineering and design students.

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The Drive Home III: Epilogue – Driving the Future

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

Twenty-four-year-old Michael Ciesielski had never driven a classic car in his life–until he jumped in a 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville and drove over 2,400 miles from Florida to Detroit in the middle of winter.

Mike is barely into six months on the marketing team for Kettering University (formerly known as the GM Institute in Flint) and had been assigned by the university to pilot its cherished Cadillac, endowed to the school by a longtime, popular chemistry professor named Reg Bell.

Professor Bell was one of those transformative figures who embodied the spirit of the college responsible for training generations of America’s transportation business leaders and engineers. For a university heavy on science and technology education, but devoid of sports teams, this particular Cadillac is both an iconic mascot and treasured university asset. Continue reading “The Drive Home III: Epilogue – Driving the Future”

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The Drive Home III tour from Florida to Detroit ends with a bang

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

Vintage vehicles weave across the country on their way to the North American International Auto Show

The Drive Home III, the annual cross-country classic car tour held by America’s Automotive Trust for the opening of the North American International Auto Show, covered nearly 2,500 miles in a weaving path to Detroit, and was accident free – until the last hour.
Continue reading “The Drive Home III tour from Florida to Detroit ends with a bang”

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The Drive Home III: Homecoming

Photo by Derek Klein. Other photos by author, unless otherwise noted.

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

The Drive Home III –the little classic-car caravan that could – reached Detroit on Friday after more than 2,484 miles through unseasonably cold weather in the south. Beginning in Boca Raton, Florida, the annual mid-winter tour zig-zagged across the southeast before driving into the Cobo Center for the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

The trip was not without incident, or accident. Although a number of the mechanical maladies were typical of cars pulled from collection display and driven – with failures from voltage regulators, heater cores and batteries – by-and-large the cars all worked well, even outperforming some of the modern support vehicles on the tour. Continue reading “The Drive Home III: Homecoming”

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A Diary from the road – Days 9/10: 2,484 Miles Later — Rode Hard And Put Away Wet

By Rock Jenkins, State Farm, The Drive Home II and III Driver

The final 250 miles from Cincinnati were fairly ordinary, except for one thing we hadn’t seen on the trip: rain. North of Cincy we stopped in a downpour at a Dunkin Donuts Cars and Coffee where Chris Zimmerman welcomed our Drive Home III team with coffee, breakfast sandwiches and – of course – donuts. Continue reading “A Diary from the road – Days 9/10: 2,484 Miles Later — Rode Hard And Put Away Wet”

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A Diary from the Road – Day 8: Things Get Really Interesting In Nashville and Bowling Green

By Rock Jenkins, State Farm, The Drive Home II and III Driver

What a great day with the resilient and energetic Drive Home III team, and today’s drive from Nashville to Cincinnati proves once again that our country is replete with passionate stewards of the automobile who are determined both the cars and the heritage and spirit that make them so special.

Our first morning stop was the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville where owner Jeff Lane and his Marketing Director Vicki Garrison gave us a tour of the incredibly diverse array of Lane vehicles. Housed in a massive old Sunbeam Bakery building, the eclectic 500-vehicle collection features an extensive variety of wheeled vehicles. Examples of the genres include micro-cars (defined as cars with motors under 400cc), cars from different countries, flying cars, bicycles, and various oddities. Continue reading “A Diary from the Road – Day 8: Things Get Really Interesting In Nashville and Bowling Green”

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The Drive Home III: Day eight – Memory Lane

By William Hall, The Drive Home veteran

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville is certainly known for its collection of micro-cars and rare oddities of the automobile world, but the 500-vehicle museum that Jeff Lane has built is a true temple to transportation, saluting the unknown innovators that pushed forward automotive evolution through success and spectacular failure. Continue reading “The Drive Home III: Day eight – Memory Lane”

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