I love museums. My husband loves old cars. So this weekend we ended up at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in South Philadelphia. The museum features a collection of over 60 rare and significant race cars. What’s more, once a month they actually run a few of the cars in the parking lot. So not only are the cars nice to look at but they’re still in working condition and are mostly original. This weekend they did a Britain vs. Italy theme running two Bentleys and an Alfa Romeo (1927 Bentley Speed Model, 1930 Bentley 4.5 L Supercharged, 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans).
As I said, I’m not really a car-person (I used to joke my dream car was one with a chauffeur) but I know a nice museum when I see one and the Simeone Automotive Museum is a nice museum. The staff was incredibly knowledgeable and outgoing, just coming up to you and pointing out little details on the cars — one gentleman mentioned how a lot of the race cars had retractable or removable windshields for different road and weather conditions while another pointed out the small door on the Auburns behind the driver’s seat was for golf clubs.
I also really liked the set up of the cars on displays with simple but old-fashioned looking backgrounds to depict the car’s era. And these weren’t just examples of cars that won races and set speed records, these cars on display are the actual ones that won races and set speed records.
While there were succinct signs in front of each car, I thought that they could have been a little more informative or verbose. I know my husband was disappointed that you couldn’t see the engines.
Dr. Simeone himself gave a short lecture on today’s Britain vs. Italy topic before hopping into a couple of the cars and racing them around the parking lot. He also gave a few autographs to some young car enthusiasts after the demonstration. Overall, it was a really nice way to spend a morning.
Simeone Automotive Museum
6825 Norwitch Drive
Philadelphia, Pa 19153