Cars of Yesteryear

There are many different forms of inspiration for the posts on this blog. Sometimes, the sites featured are from the recommendations of family and friends. Other times, it’s something we’ll see on a YouTube video, a television show, or an online article. On occasion, we’ll have one destination in mind, and we’ll scan the map to see what else might be in the area that would be fun to visit. But perhaps my favorite way of discovering a new spot is simply driving past it, thinking “Hey, that looks neat, we should visit it,” and then coming back on another day to check it out.

When my wife and I drove down to Tennessee this past March for my friend Justin’s million mile rollover with his 2003 Honda Accord, we were detoured off the highway due to a significant traffic jam in eastern Pennsylvania. As we wound our way through a series of two-lane county roads outside of Kutztown, my wife spotted the words “car museum” and hastily scribbled down the location. On a warm, if overcast, Saturday in mid-May, I clambered into my Honda Accord and set off for what would turn out to be one of the coolest car museums I have ever seen.

Let’s begin:

Old Spokes Car Museum

Map of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, with blue route running from New Brunswick NJ to Kutztown PA.
My destination for the day – an 80-mile one-way drive to Kutztown, PA.
I-78 with sign along side of road that says Welcome to Pennsylvania.
The overcast skies didn’t make for much of a scenic drive, and as I crossed into Pennsylvania, a few drops of rain hit my windshield. Fortunately, that was the only rain I’d see all day.
2012 Honda Accord coupe parked in front of Old Pokes Car Museum.
After almost an hour and a half of driving, I arrived at my destination: Old Spokes Car Museum, the world’s largest collection of Hudson automobiles.
Interior of Old Spokes Car Museum.
The museum is housed throughout two former car dealerships along Old Route 22: a former Maxwell dealership holds the bulk of the collection, and a 1930s Ford dealership houses yet more vehicles. The lobby of the museum was once a restaurant in the Maxwell dealership.
Hudson Model 20, in green.
The Hudson Motor Car Company was established in 1909 in Detroit, Michigan. The company’s first car was offered with a selling price of under $1,000: the Hudson 20 (via Wikipedia).
Hudson car in front of Hudson sign.
While the classic and antique Hudsons were amazing to look at, equally enthralling was the sheer attention to detail in the signage, most of which are original signs from the first half of the 20th century.
1920 Hudson coupe.
Hudson products were considered a step above the mass-market Fords and Chevrolets, competing against up-market brands like Packard, appealing to white-collar professionals. This Hudson Coupe from 1920 features a special accessory: see the small panel behind the passenger door? That’s for stowing your golf clubs on the way to play a quick 18 holes.
Metal wire shelves holding oil cans.
While the cars were fascinating, I also appreciated the attention to detail for other period-correct artifacts, such as these cans of oil.
Classic Sinclair filling station pump.
And this classic Sinclair gas pump!
Hudson Terraplane.
In the 1930s, Hudson launched an affordable, mass-market brand of vehicle: the Terraplane. These cars were affordable, reliable, and good performers – one Terraplane set the speed record for driving to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire (via Wikipedia).
Blue-green roadster convertible.
The vehicles were absolutely pristine, and according to the museum guide who gave me the tour, every vehicle in the collection still runs. This roadster, for instance, will capably handle 65 miles per hour on the highway.
Green Hudson roadster.
The collection has been built up over the past 50 years, and now includes over 80 vehicles, all kept in meticulous condition. So awesome!
Hudson Hornet convertible, in blue.
Thanks to the Pixar movie Cars, most people today are familiar with the Hudson Hornet (voiced in the film by the late, great Paul Newman). The Hornet was the top-of-the-range offering from Hudson in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Hudson Hornet in red and gold.
The Hornet is one of my all-time favorite cars as well. Beyond its prowess on the road, it dominated motorsport for several years, winning the majority of NASCAR races from 1952-1954. On my bucket list is the dream of someday taking one of these for a test drive.
Hudson Wasp, in white.
The Hornet brought you to the dealership, but a look at the price tag and your bank account meant you were more than likely to go home in a Wasp. Smaller and less powerful than the Hornet, the Wasp is still a gorgeous car that prioritized passenger safety, including side-impact protection, a noteworthy achievement in the 1950s (via Wikipedia).
Dashboard of classic Hudson car.
All of the cars in the collection were as immaculate on the inside as they were on the outside.
Hudson Rambler Custom station wagon.
Changing American car buying tastes led to Hudson losing market share in the mid-1950s. Falling profits forced the company to merge with Nash, producing vehicles like the Rambler Custom (pictured). Nash and Hudson formed American Motors Corporation (AMC), which was eventually bought by Chrysler in the 1980s (via Wikipedia). The Hudson name has not been forgotten, however… you may have recently seen commercials for the Dodge Hornet, a crossover utility vehicle that has resurrected the old model name.
Old Route 22 in Pennsylvania, with farmland on either side of road.
After thoroughly enjoying my tour, I asked my guide for a lunch recommendation, and he suggested a place a few miles away. Instead of the interstate, I took Old Route 22, one of the original east-west roadways in the United States. Established in 1925, Route 22 originally ran from Cincinnati, Ohio to Newark, New Jersey (via Wikipedia).
Exterior of Fogelsville Hotel.
The recommendation? Hops, a bar and restaurant in the Fogelsville Hotel. The hotel was constructed in 1798 by Judge John Fogel as a respite for travelers at a busy crossroads. Hops, which owns another restaurant in the area, became the proprietor several years ago, offering good food at reasonable prices.
Cheeseburger and tater tots on white plate.
My dining selection? The Sam Adams Burger – a burger topped with Sam Adams barbecue sauce, bacon, pepper jack cheese, and pineapple, with a side of sweet potato tater tots. The burger was ok… I ended up removing some of the bacon and pineapple, as the flavor was a bit overpowering. The tater tots, though? Out of this world.
Entrance to Mill Pond Trail.
After an hour drive home, I found myself needing either some exercise or a good nap, as the carbohydrates from lunch were putting me to sleep. I opted for a hike in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park in East Brunswick, NJ.
Tree-lined path through woods.
The tree-lined trails of the park feature enough roots and rocks to keep me interested during a hike. It wasn’t as challenging as climbing Blue Mountain in the Adirondacks, but it was still decent exercise.
Davidsons Mill Pond.
Despite the gray, overcast skies, the pond was still a worthwhile payoff for the hike. Awakened and enlivened by the walk, I set off for home.
Car odometer reading 218000 TRIP A 166.6
As I pulled into the garage, my Accord knocked off another milestone – 218,000 is now in the books! 220k is getting closer and closer… onward!

Wrapping Up

If you are a classic car aficionado, the Old Spokes Car Museum is a must-visit location! Owing to the small staff that runs the museum, visits are by appointment only – simply call the phone number on the museum website to get on their schedule! Tickets are $15 per person, but group rates are also available. I’d highly encourage a visit!

Thanks, as always, for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead.

‘Til next time.

5 thoughts on “Cars of Yesteryear

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s