Neighborhood Travels

Nethercutt Collections Salon

After spending several minutes in awe of the antique cars on display in the  Nethercutt “garage” area, I followed our guide as he led us up stairs through the massive bronze doors.  The suspense continued as we waited in a foyer, until, at last, he opened the doors to the salon.

Marble, gold, and crystal chandeliers!

According to our guide, all showrooms looked like this in the first part of the 20th century.  Wow!

1930s Luxury

While the decor is impressive, the true glamour is on the floor.  The Nethercutt Collection is breathtaking.  We gathered around our guide as he told us the story behind the 1934 Packcard.

1934 Packard Sport Phaeton

I wish I had paid more attention to my fellow tour members.  I was busy framing the car and never saw the people in the background.  Still, I think this is a splendid-looking automobile.  Shall  I show you what it looked like when Mr. Nethercutt first found it?

What a transformation!

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “It’s a Duesy.”  It’s out of fashion now, but one can still hear it said in old movies.   It means that something is extraordinary.  The phrase was popular in the 1920s and 1930s and related to the Duesenberg automobile.

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Arlington Torpedo Sedan

Can you read the sign?  It says this car sold for $20,000 when new.  1933 was the height of the Great Depression.  Unemployment was at 25%.   This stunning car was built as a one-of-a-kind ultra-luxury item for the 1933 World’s Fair.  Imagine the awe as people came to see it.   I was in awe ninety years later!

German Excellence

Have you heard of Mercedes-Maybach luxury cars?  Don’t worry; I hadn’t.  Before uniting with Mercedes,  Maybach was a successful German luxury auto manufacturer.

1932 Maybach DS8 Zeppelin

Once again, I’m impressed by the styling, but I wonder what was happening in Germany in 1932.  Let’s not dwell on that.  The DS8 was an engineering masterpiece.  It had a V12 engine, was water-cooled, and featured a unique transmission system.  The clutch was used only when starting, reversing, or stopping.   By the way, the circular patterns on the front fenders are reflections of the chandeliers.  All the cars in this showroom sparkle!

The 19th Century

How about something different?  I’ll leave the 1930s for an earlier era.

1898 Eisenach Runabout

In the late 1800s, a few experimental steam cars were created.  By the early 20th century steam was abandoned in favor of gasoline.  Our guide also mentioned that during this early period, engineers were still considering where to put the steering wheel.  Some chose the left, others the right.  A few designs featured a steering handle right in the middle!  The Eisenach design features a right-handed steering system.   The horsepower rating for this car’s engine is 10 HP,  so perhaps a handle is adequate.   It couldn’t have been long before the wheel was standard.

This vast showroom contains far more cars than I can feature in this post.  To see more, please click this link.   To see these gorgeous vehicles up close and shiny, you’ll have to drive to Sylmar.  You won’t be disappointed.

Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.


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  • Gorgeous cars! Great photos! I didn’t know the origin of “it’s a duesy.” I’ve seen it spelled “doozy” which sounds right but doesn’t reveal the origin. Either way, that’s pretty cool. I’ll have to start using that expression again.

    • I don’t know how to spell it, but thought it best to relate it to the car. I like your idea of using the expression again. Maybe will do it, too! And as always, thanks for the kind words.

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