Tuesday, January 1, 2013

MGs and The Owls Head Transportation Museum

Many people's favorite cars have come from Morris Garage.

One of the best places to get an MG fix is The Owls Head Transportation Museum in the coastal Maine town of Owls Head, not too far from Camden.

Visiting the Transportation Museum off-season, and given that it is only closed three days a year (New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas) a pleasure to do.

The museum enjoys tremendous community support and has an army of well informed, passionate, and wry volunteers.
One aspect that sets it apart is that virtually every item on display actually works.   All vintage cars can be,  and are,  driven.  All planes, replicas and originals, fly.  (Although they do have a rule -  if you are over 73 years old you can no longer take passengers in the planes.)   This keeps the facility from acquiring the dusty  brittle feel often associated with lesser museums.  Flying the planes is made easier given the museum abuts the Knox County airport on land donated by the town.

This being Maine, they have a moose.

This is where one can see, according to Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car (October, 2012):  “One of the most comprehensive MG collections in the country, if not in the world.”

Britain's Morris Garage

In a world where far too many people appear to be auditioning for their own reality television show,  this is such a remarkable understatement.

Watching volunteers doing restoration work.

One wing houses vehicles that are for sale, including this rare 1932 Ford B Woodie Wagon (priced at $100,000).


Cranky Yankee said...

My first two cars were MGs, but neither one was destined for a museum.

BlueTrain said...

Ah! That's more like it!

I claim to be a Rover afficianado, though I haven't owned one for years. However, I did have an MG sedan (saloon car), an 1100 from the 60's, which was not really an MG.

I don't recognize all the models. Are one or two of them Crosley's? I'd be disappointed is there's wasn't an Allstate in there somewhere, too.

Anonymous said...

Love it! This is a perfect antidote to too much holiday!

mary anne said...

MG roadster! One of my all time favorite cars. Along with the Jeep Grand Waggoneer and the Volvo P 1800. Nowi want to visit this museum.

Anonymous said...

Muffy, I cannot believe that your father had a 1952 MG as well! My father had a lovely black one. How he adored that car. It was the honeymoon car, turned bring the children to the first day of school car, to the car that he would endlessly tinker with in retirement. His go to source for parts was Abingdon Spares in Walpole N.H. - they still remember him. During this last stage, Dad would put it in the Memorial Day parade with his grandchildren in the back to wave the flags. Sadly, after Dad passed Mom kept the car for as long as she could until she sold it to someone else to love. Thanks for bringing back the memories and Happy New Year.

Marie said...

In 1974 I was all set to buy an MG -my father axed the idea (probably with just cause as I never could get out of 1st gear). But in my mind I still think it was a missed opportunity for great fun.

Happy New Year

JSprouse said...

A 1952 MG TD (black w/red leather) was my first car. Then a TR3, a 750 Abarth Zagato,a Lotus Europa and a couple of Land Rovers. I'm still looking for a '60's Morgan +4 I can afford. Great pictures, great memories. I was to Owls Head a number of years ago. A must see place. Thanks Muffy.

Mummy said...

Lovely posting..great way to start off the new year!

Anonymous said...

Muffy...this post brought back memories of a visit to a local car museum (Blackhawk Museum) here in Northern California. My father-in-law and I bonded like father and son that day. Nice to see that you share an appreciation for vintage (and well made) vehicles as well...in particular MGs.

Happy New Year!


Flo said...

What a neat museum, I will have to put this on my list of "to do" when we come to New England. My list is getting rather long thanks to your blog!

Nadja Cipriani said...

Happy New Year! I have been recovering from the flu so reread an old book, Rosamunde Pilcher's Winter Solstice (comfort reading not intellectual).

When I read this quote by the character named Sam in the book, I thought of you;

"...I secretly believe that there is nothing so good-looking, so comfortable, so exactly right, as a familiar, well-tailored tweed jacket. It'll stand up to anything the elements choose to hurl at it, and by evening be perfectly acceptable at anybody's dinner table. I love the smell and the feel of tweed...."

p. 335, Winter Solstice, Rosamunde Pilcher

Just thought I'd pass along as you've shared your Barbour tweed a bit on the blog.

Many thanks again for a great site.

Anonymous said...

Muffy, Have you been to the Seal Cove Auto Museum? Also in ME, albeit smaller than Owl's Head and dedicated to early automobiles. Similarly discreet founder/ owner, and all cars can be and are driven, even the steam powered ones.

Greenfield said...

My Dad had an MG when he was young, too--one worthy of "Click & Clack!"

Anonymous said...

My Father did not have an MG (Land Rover) but my Mother did! She still has the pictures when she was young and had very long red hair. She and my Aunt drove from San Diego to Seattle to the World's Fair in that convertable. It was sold when she got pregnant. I know she still misses that car.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the gret photos you took at the Owl's Head Museum. As the owner of a 1952 MG TD (like your dad's) I appreciated seeing the cars and hope to someday visit that museum.
I also had a 52 TD back in my college days, having purchased it in 1960. I guess I never got over selling that car after 3 years and with re-kindled interest some 40 years later, I bought the one I now have in 2001.

Anonymous said...

In 1965, my older brother bought a 1953 MG TD for $1000. Yes, that figure is correct, only one thousand dollars. In those days, nobody wanted such an impractical, slow car.

The car was in good overall condition, black with red leather, and chrome wire wheels. The side curtains buttoned in (no roll-up luxury windows), the top was a manual pull and click, and it came with a tonneau cover. Top speed was about 60 MPH at best.

I remember it as raw motoring, more suited to English country lanes than city streets. Mechanical breakdowns were frequent. On one occasion, the windshield wipers failed during a cloud burst, and my brother had to stick his head out to navigate.

Of course, it was work of art, perhaps best suited to be admired in a museum, than to commute in.

What became of it? What became of 1965? Wonderful memories.

Cranky Yankee said...

Anonymous 8:10 PM's comment (along with my experience with two MGs) reminds me of the adage, "A gentleman never drives his Jag farther than he's willing to walk home." Yes, English cars can be a tad quirky.

Anonymous said...

Are the MGs a permanent exhibit or temporary?
I can not tell from their web site.

Anonymous said...

Great cars! --Holly in PA

Patsy said...

How have we never been here?? I will remedy that in 2013!

I suspect you've been to Larz Anderson and Heritage in Sandwich (MA). If not, both are worth the trip.

JL said...

Muffy, thanks for the time travel. My parents had a 1952, British green, MG when they first lived on Beacon Hill and worked in Boston. I loved hearing stories of their "adventure trips" to Maine and New Hampshire. It was an adventure as you never knew what to expect with the car's electronics. Still they looked fondly on those times. While I was photographed in the MG with my proud Mother, my coming into the world soon brought to an end the MG adventures, as parking was at a premium in Boston. Unfortunately, the MG made way for a station wagon and I am left to, still, dream about that MG and the adventures it had.