Car Museum Focuses on Innovation
I traveled to St. Petersburg Florida over the Fourth of July weekend to visit with an old friend who is an engineer and vintage car buff. Upon my arrival he informed me that he had stumbled on an advertisement for a car museum near Tampa Bay. This surprised him as he’s been spending a lot of time in the area over the last 15 years and thought he had known where all the cool stuff was hiding. We made a plan to check it out the next day.
What an unexpected treat! There are a lot of car museums all over the country showcasing classic oldies, or other themes, but the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum is completely different. It’s collection focuses on innovation and creativity in engineering and design throughout the history of the automobile. Within its 70+ car inventory it includes many of the first examples of technological and design advances that were revolutionary in their time. Even more extraordinary, each has a Florida license plate and are often driven.
If ever in Tampa/St. Pete its definitely worth carving out a few hours to visit the facility. However, you don’t have to travel to the west coast of Florida to experience what the museum has to offer. By following the link to the “collection” you’ll see a list of many of the cars in the showroom each of which has their own link to a picture and brief history on what makes it so special. I recently spent another hour plus reviewing what I had seen just a few weeks previous!
A somewhat unusual aspect of the museum is that its parent is a manufacturing company. The privately held Polypack Inc. designs and manufactures automated packaging machinery. Their website states that the owner of both the company and the museum’s collection is Alain A Cerf, who bought his first vintage car in the 50s prior to emigrating and moving his company to the United States.
After successfully introducing innovations in packaging machinery design Mr. Cerf further developed this important collection, and subsequent museum, as a tribute to the creativity and imagination of the great engineers working in the auto industry. You don’t have to be a car buff to appreciate the result.
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