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March 8, 2012 - Today's adventure was a real treat since we've waited three months to get a reservation to see the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, CA. J. B. Nethercutt, originally from South Bend, IN moved to Santa Monica in 1923 to live with his aunt, Merle Nethercutt Norman, the founder of Merle Norman Cosmetics.
Long story short: J. B. went into business with his aunt, got married, got rich and, with his wife Dorothy, decided that they loved and wanted to collect vintage and antique automobiles (among many other things that caught their eyes). J. B. and Dorothy have since passed away, but the collection is now tended by their son Jack and his wife Helen Nethercutt, who also control Merle Norman Cosmetics. The Nethercutt Collection features rare collectibles ranging from mechanical musical instruments and antique furniture to the true heart of the collection: over 250 American and European automobiles dating from 1898 to 1997. Opened in 1971, The Nethercutt Collection is a not-for-profit educational institution and a resource for automobile enthusiasts, historians, students and scholars. It is open to the public at no charge.
What a place this is! We had a free 2 1/2 hour tour that left us breathless. I took quite a few pictures but tripods weren't allowed, so some of them are a little fuzzy. For some professional pictures, be sure to follow the links above.
The Collection spans two huge buildings, one of which looks like the fortress that it is.
This is the grand salon in the fortress-like building.
It was made to look like a typical automobile dealership of the pre-Depression era.
Here are a few pictures of some of the 250 automobiles on display. The first thing that strikes you is the beautiful colors of these automobiles, which have all been restored in their original factory colors. Most people tend to think of these cars as being black as a result of the Ford slogan ("You can have any color as long as it's black") and because the old movies were always shot in black and white. Well, they were manufactured in a variety of stunning colors.
These are just two pictures taken in the music room that has many one-of-a-kind musical instruments and other artifacts. There are about twenty Nickelodeons and European Orchestrions in the music room, in addition to the grand pianos and the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ.
The tour concludes with a walk through of a fully restored locomotive engine and a private Pullman car.
No one would ever be disappointed by touring the Nethercutt Collection. If you can arrange a visit, you'll be as astounded as we were.
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