On a recent visit to the Lehigh Valley area, I came across the America on Wheels Museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Situated in the heart of the city, there was a ton of different types of vehicles from numerous decades of the past century. Many of the vehicles were on display from many generous local Lehigh Valley Pennsylvanians. I think the important part of this museum is the fact that education was emphasized behind each exhibit. There were many gentlemen on the premises to answer questions or show highlights of the vehicles. It really shows that as a museum it isn’t just about showing cool vehicles, but leaving each visitor with something more meaningful to take home; such as understanding where our history of transportation came from and where we could be going. This is a great museum if you are in the northern Pennsylvania area and since they are constantly changing the exhibits, there is always something new to explore. Here are some of the pictures from my museum visit!
One of the first exhibits that you walk into the museum, shows automobiles that paved the way for future and made you think about what the car of the future could be. Horse buggy, electric car, and steam-powered were some of the types of vehicles that were on display. It is interesting to see that even at the beginning of the automobile industry that there were many alternative fuel sources besides the gasoline powered engine. One of the vehicles that had caught my eye was the 1922 Detroit Electric, which was an all-electric powered car that has been known to get around 45 to 80 miles of range and a top speed of 20 mph. Many saw this vehicle as a selling point because there was no need to crank the vehicle to start the engine like gasoline powered engines. One of the tour guides on the premises had opened the vehicle for us to show us the inside of the car. I had found the interior to be pretty roomy and comfortable looking for an electric car. An interesting fact is that some of the buyers of this car were Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, and Ciara Ford, the wife of Henry Ford.
Pictured above:1922 Detroit Electric
There was a giant Mack Truck section in the museum that highlighted the truck manufacturing giant over the years. The truck manufacturer is actually locally made in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Mack truck bulldog has always been their icon and is still used on their trucks to this day. One would not realize that this truck company has been a staple to this area as well as world economy to help provide growth and prosperity. Construction, police vehicles, food transportation, you name it, it was probably one of their famous trucks. Mack trucks have always been known for their durability and well-built engines. I was told that you can actually tour the manufacturing plant and see how they bring these bull dogs to life. I think that will be another great trip for me visit!
There were many of the original motorcycles on display by today’s manufacturers like Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles. It is really amazing to see how simple but were very powerful. I bet these were a blast to ride and I am sure they would still be fun to this day.
Pictured above: 1912 Harly-Davidson Model 9-A
Pictured above: 1912 Indian Board Tracker Racer
Pictured above from left to right: 1909 Marsh Metz, 1910 Flying Merkel, 1910 Excelsior
These gorgeous pedal cars were on display at the museum. They were built in the early 1900s for children to replicate the cars of their fathers. These were very inexpensive so that parents could afford these pedal cars for their kids. Today, many people are restoring and collecting these cars to remind them of their upbringing. One of the biggest manufacturers of the time was the Steelcraft company. I could not imagine growing up and having a pedal car quite like this. They resemble real size vehicles so well and if I had this as a kid I would have been so ecstatic!
Another exciting exhibit was the Woody section of the museum. Many vehicles in the early century practiced using wood as a means of style and luxury. The late 1950s were many of the last woodies that were in production by car manufacturers. They were discontinued due to durability, cost, and overall strength. These cars are a delight to see as they are such unique and brings a different look to an automobile that you would not normally see. In the 1980s and 1990s, many auto manufacturers used vinyl, or plastic materials to give a similar look of the woodies of the past. Many associate the woodie to the California beach culture where they were vastly popular.
Pictured above and below:1942 Buick Estate Station Wagon
Pictured above and below:1947 Chrysler Town and Country
Pictured above and below: 2005 Ford GT
There were a ton of more vehicles on display. These were some of my favorites! This was a great museum visit and I hope that if I am in the area again, I will get a chance to see what new vehicles that they have a display!