America’s Car Museum in Tacoma is a tribute to automobiles of all sorts. While the internal combustion engine is dominant throughout the museum, they do have a section that is focused on electric vehicles. This includes the sort of car you might expect to see and some that are a touch more exotic. The research/competition cars are strange looking things. Aerodynamics dominate in vehicles that are clearly aimed at maximizing efficiency while not worrying about things like handling or utility. Having a whole roof section of solar panels is impressive.
Not all of the vehicles are that extreme though. Others are the sort of thing you are used to seeing on the road. Some of the original electric road cars (including those from the Victorian era) are there and also some concept demonstration vehicles that are likely to lead to something in production before too long. These already look just like any other car on the road today.
When a museum has a wide variety of vehicles to look at, it seems a bit cheesy to spend too much time looking at the modern supercars. It feels a bit like being a kid with a picture of a Countach on the wall. However, supercars are pretty cool and worthy of a look. On the main floor of America’s Car Museum, there were a few pretty great looking cars.
Ferrari were well represented with some lovely looking modern motors as well as a Testarossa. That car took me back to the 80s. An Aston Martin was also there along with a Lamborghini Aventador which was pretty special. Porsche was also well covered. A 918 first caught my eye but I was quickly drawn away by a Carrera GT. This was only the second example I had seen. (The first was actually driving along Wacker Drive in Chicago, something that would make me very nervous in a car that expensive!)
Since I didn’t grow up in the US, a lot of the older cars in museums are not ones that I knew about as a kid. However, a Lotus Esprit is one right out of my childhood. I fell in love with this car as a result of The Spy Who Loved Me when Bond’s Esprit morphed into a submarine. From then on, I dreamed of owning this car. The America’s Car Museum has an example of the pre-turbo Esprit in its collection and, while it certainly is dated by the styling, I still think it is a great looking car. Just don’t pay attention to the switches and knobs pinched from the parts bins of the major car manufacturers of the time!
The onset of shorter days and less reliable weather (or at least weather that can be relied on to be crummy) means day trips to indoor places. Nancy thought a trip to Tacoma to look at the LeMay collection in America’s Car Museum would be a good plan and she wasn’t wrong. I have seen this museum many times as I drive south on I-5 but hadn’t given much thought to it before. A couple of days before Nancy suggested it, a friend of mine back in California told me he would be going there in the spring so obviously everyone else was thinking about it but me.
The museum is a cool looking structure. An asymmetric curved roof based one a wooden interior frame, it sits on a hillside next to the Tacoma Dome overlooking the harbor. The museum is on multiple levels so, while the building doesn’t look to extensive, it provides a lot of space for the large collection of vehicles. I shall be showing a few specific examples of cars from the collection in upcoming posts but, for the time being, you can get an idea of the overall museum.