Sunday, April 11, 2010

1888 fire engine at the Autorama

April 1953
The Melton Museum Moves 

Never one to let the opportunity for publicity pass him by, my father made a big deal of moving the cars from Connecticut to Florida.  On April 3rd, 1953, five of the antique buggies were driven—under their own power—the 1,500 miles from Norwalk to Hypoluxo.  It took six days.  The vehicles included a 1906 Rainier limousine, a 1923 Rolls Royce, a 1911 Franklin and others.  "Jumbo" the 13-ton, 24-foot long 1888 fire engine, made the journey on a flatbed trailer.  All the cars had banners saying "I'm on my way to the James Melton Autorama in Hypoluxo, Florida.  Drive Safely."  The cavalcade stopped in New York, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Savannah and other cities en route.

In New York City, the cars parked briefly in front of the Plaza Hotel, where a Central Park coach horse decided to get acquainted with the 1906 limousine, nibbling at the brass and licking the hood, to the amusement of admiring bystanders.  In Washington, DC, President Eisenhower greeted the travelers.  In Savannah, a parade was staged around the arrival of the remaining three cars (the Rainier hade gone lame with tire trouble; it's not clear what happened to the fifth car).

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