Saturday is National Train Day in which we all get together to ponder the glory that is railroading in the United States, including looking at two “heritage fleet” engines at Union Station (click!).
So, naturally, I went to the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum on Tuesday. What the heck, right?
The Car Museum will be open for free on Saturday, as will the others, and for a fan of chrome and polished brass, not to mention solid value per square inch the cars are hard to beat.
Oddly, it’s one of the quieter museums, most of the time. Where are you guys?
I stopped to admire the 1937 Packard Business Coupe, one of the more interesting items in the collection. Unlike most of the others, it was not part of the car collection given to Ogden by the Browning family when it sold the rest of its collection.
This car was given to Union Station by Max Kennedy, Layton, who was surprised when he showed up one day, title in hand, saying “here’s a free car,” and was told he’d have to wait a bit.
Which makes sense, actually. The museum has limited display place and cars tend to be rather large. Union Station has enough stuff just sorta show up (sometimes in the middle of the night) so the museum wanted to make sure this car would fit in.
It did, because there it sits, in gorgeous blue with black accents. It’s a nice counter-point to the other cars. Most of the collection are top-end classics, Cadillacs and the like, the sort of cars (as Conductor Bruce Bybee told one visitor) that would be owned “by bankers and bank robbers.”
The Packard is a car you or I would have owned. Like the Studebakers my dad used to drive, the Packard is just a normal car, with no secret hatches for golf clubs, brass lamps, mahogany woodwork or other fancies.
The car came to the museum in 2008. At the time volunteers working on restoring it figured it would take two years, but you know things go.
But the end may be in sight. The engine’s been rebuilt, the brakes and other necessities repaired, the outside all painted and detailed. A small board shows what is left to be done, mostly cosmetic although if you have the license plate holder for a ’37 Packard sitting around, that would help.
Bybee, the conductor who was on duty Tuesday, said they’ve collected enough money to do the biggest job remaining — the upholstery inside. A volunteer from the Ogden Fire Department is trying to find time to do the work.
There’s a begging box for donations. If you have a buck handy on Saturday, or just some pocket change, put it in and do your bit to restore a bit of normal American transportation from the 1930s and 1040s.
Then go back out and admire all the train stuff. Saturday is National Train Day — what are you doing in a car museum anyway?