Tag Archives: Saratoga Auto Museum

Saratoga Automobile Museum Appoints New Director

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jim lettsAfter a nationwide search, the board of trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum has appointed a new Executive Director.

“It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Jim Letts as our new Executive Director,” Anthony Ianniello, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum said in a statement issued to the press. “While serving as the CEO of the Saratoga Regional YMCA for the past 12 years, Jim has had amazing success, growing the Y’s membership from 6900 to 26,900 while raising many millions of dollars through capital campaigns to support and expand the Y’s facilities and activities. We think he is a perfect fit for our extremely active, rapidly growing museum and are thrilled to have him on board for our busy summer season!” Continue reading

Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Spring Auto Show

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Saratoga Auto Museum Spring Auto ShowThe Saratoga Automobile Museum’s (SAM) longstanding Spring Auto Show and Saratoga Invitational, the traditional kickoff of the region’s auto show season, have undergone a slight format change for 2015.

This year’s fundraiser for SAM’s Distracted Driving educational program, which has a primary focus of educating both teens and adults on the dangers of texting while driving, cell phone use and generally not focusing on safe driving, is set for Saturday, May 16 from 10 am-4 pm with a Sunday rain date. It will no longer include the Saratoga Invitational as a separate entity but will still feature world class automobiles. Continue reading

Saratoga Auto Museum ‘Lost Speedways’ Event

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lost speedways for TVThe field of presenters is set, the huge video screen is up and hundreds of chairs are ready to be filled by racing enthusiasts attending the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s most popular program of the year, “Lost Speedways,” on Saturday, November 29th.

The annual look back at speedways that no longer exist and driving legends of the past will get the green flag at 11 am with memorabilia displays in the Golub Gallery and racing videos in the presentation area. In the “Racing in New York” gallery, Jamie Moore and Doug Holmes will be on hand to answer questions about their restoration of the famed Jim Shampine #8 Ball offset supermodified, which has been attracting a steady stream of visitors. Continue reading

Line-Up Set For 2012 Lost Speedways Program

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The Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Lost Speedways program which is scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 24, 2012), has grown into a must see event for those interested in the history of auto racing in New York State and long-shuttered area speedways.

The program will also include Hall of Fame driver Brian Ross’ recollections of his short but eye opening Winston Cup career and his time as an instructor at Andy Hillenburg’s Charlotte driving school along with a look back at the highlights of the century old Fonda Speedway by longtime racing writer and DIRT legal advisor Andy Fusco. Memorabilia will be on display from 11:30 am, with everyone encouraged to bring items to display. The formal presentations will begin at 1 pm.

“Our current featured exhibit, ‘Moonshine to Millionaires – NASCAR’s History, Heroes and Technology,’ has been a huge success and since it will close right after Lost Speedways, I want to focus on NASCAR history this year,” explained exhibit curator and event organizer Ron Hedger. “Plus, we have the opportunity to again enjoy the racing tales of Jim Reed, a multi-year NASCAR champion who was a big hit last year and has agreed to return. He’s going to tell us about winning the 1959 Southern 500 at Darlington, among other highlights of his career, which fits perfectly with the theme.”

“I will also do a pair of presentations myself,” added Hedger. “We have Bill Wimble’s Carnegie Medal on display and I’ll relate that story, along with a discussion of NASCAR’s Speedway division for Indianapolis-type cars, something most people have never heard of.”

“With the cars of Dale Earnhardt and Curtis Turner and the amazing ’59 Thunderbird ‘zippertop’ scheduled to return to Charlotte October 1st, I’ll be replacing them with a Richie Evan’s Pinto and a gorgeous Speedway Division car wheeled by Wally Campbell, so the timing will be perfect. And we may have another surprise or two before November rolls around,” Hedgar said.

There will also be a drawing of one winner in the auto museum’s NASCAR VIP Raffle, sponsored by M and M/Mars, which will see two winners each receive four tickets to the 2013 Sprint Cup race of their choice, $250 travel money, garage passes and a personal meet and greet session with Kyle Busch. The second drawing will be held in the spring of 2013. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the museum or online.

The Lost Speedways event is free to museum members, with others admitted for the standard museum admission charge. More information is available online at www.saratogaautomuseum.org. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the Avenue of the Pines in the Saratoga Spa State Park, just off Exit 13N of the Adirondack Northway.

Photo: An abandoned South Glens Falls Drag Strip.

Auto Museum Offers Pinewood Derby Clinic

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The Saratoga Auto Museum will be holding a workshop for area Cub Scouts on the science involved in building a winning Pinewood Derby Car. The event, which will take place on January 7, 2012 at the Museum (110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs), will begin at 1:00 pm and include Tech Talk (The physics of speed), Speed Shop, and Track Time.

To participate in the full event, preregistration is required and will be limited to the first 40 registrants. Each registration includes a pinewood derby car kit with regulation axles and wheels which will be assembled during the Speed Shop segment. Once the cars are completed, a weigh in will precede a series of heat races on the SAM’s Garage Pinewood Derby Track.

Registration fee for the event is $10.00 and will include a car kit and Museum admission for the scout and an adult, so participants should come early to check out the “Porsche: 60 Years of Speed and Style in North America” exhibit before the Pinewood Derby event begins.

Participation in the Tech Talk and Track Time segments is also open to Cub Scouts who have previously completed their car and just want to join in the fun.

For registration, visit www.saratogaautomuseum.org and click on the Pinewood Derby link.

Photo: Pinewood Article from 1954 Boy’s Life magazine. Hat tip PinewoodPro.com.

1950-70s Car Show Planned for Downtown Albany

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The Saratoga Automobile Museum and the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) have announced that the Downtown Albany Fall Car Show, an ‘open air’ event, will be held on Saturday, October 15 from 11 am to 4 pm.

North Pearl Street will be closed from Pine Street to Sheridan Avenue to create an exhibition and judging area for the show, which will showcase automobiles and motorcycles from all eras but focus on vehicles from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

The BID has partnered with the Saratoga Automobile Museum in organizing the show, which will be held rain or shine.

Retailers and restaurants throughout Downtown will be open during the Car Show, with many planning on having specials and sales. Additionally, a balloon artist will be taking requests and the Devil Dawg plans on making an appearance. Music is also anticipated throughout the Downtown restaurants and pubs. An event guide will be available on the BIDs website as the event draws near. Visitors should note as well that the Downtown Albany Restaurant Week, set for Oct. 13-21, will overlap the event and provide great post-event dining options.

The event is free for spectators. Vehicles and motorcycles can be pre-registered for $10 or registered the day of for $15. To register, contact Peter Perry at the Saratoga Automobile Museum at 518-587-1935 ext. 17 or e-mail peter.perry@saratogaautomuseum.org. Information is also available online at www.downtownalbany.org or by calling 518-465-2143 ext. 13.

Saratoga: New Exhibit Celebrates Porsche

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The Saratoga Automobile Museum is unveiling an exhibit celebrating 60 years of Porsche in North America on October 1, 2011. The exhibit showcases sixteen significant Porsche sports and racing cars and honors Joe Buzzetta, successful New York Porsche racer and automobile retailer. Now a successful New York State businessman with six auto dealerships on Long Island, Buzzetta was a factory Porsche driver in the 1960s and 1970s. Co-driving with Udo Schultz, Buzzetta won the 1967 Nurburgring 1000 KM race in a Porsche 910, perhaps Porsche’s most sentimental victory – it’s first overall win in Germany’s most prestigious sports car race – as the home team won before the home crowd after a decade of trying. His personal collection includes a Porsche 904, 906, 907, 908 and a 910, all restored.

Marque founder Dr. Ing. Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferry, understood that racing was the crucible in which to prove Porsche’s superiority and capture world attention. Imported into America by Max Hoffman, an Austrian expatriate friend of the Porsche family, the low, streamlined little cars attracted great interest. Six decades of popularity in America have established Porsche on the top tier of performance automakers. Accordingly, The Saratoga Automobile Museum is pleased to present “Porsche: 60 Years of Speed and Style in North America,” sponsored by Porsche Cars North America and New Country Porsche of Clifton Park, NY, and Greenwich, CT.

Automotive journalist and Museum consultant, Ken Gross, will be the exhibit Curator. Joe Buzzetta’s Porsche 904 and 906, as well as a 908 engine, will be on display in Saratoga. The Collier Museum in Naples, FL, is loaning Buzzetta’s Nurburgring-winning 910 for the exhibit. Former Porsche/SCCA/ IMSA competitor, Bob Bailey, a Saratoga Automobile Museum trustee, is loaning cars for the exhibit, as is Paul Plugfelder, whose Porsche 959, 914-6GT and 911 RS will be on display. Porsche Cars North America will be bringing the exciting new Porsche 918RSR Race Car for the opening of the exhibit, as well as several cars from the Porsche Museum after Rennsport, a 961 and the LeMans winning GT1.

Joe Buzzetta will be honored at the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Annual “Drive For Excellence” Gala on October 1, 2011. Among the noted drivers expected to attend will be endurance racing champion, Vic Elford, a winner at Le Mans, the Targa Florio, the Daytona 24 Hours and the Nurburgring andScooter Patrick who co-drove with Joe at LeMans.Invitations have also been extended to several of Joe’s other old Porsche Factory teammates, including Brian Redman, Derek Bell and Hans Herrmann. Positive confirmation has been received from two so far. It will make for a very memorable evening with Joe and his Porsche teammates speaking at the dinner of their memories of the Golden age of motor racing with the Porsche Racing Team.

Also planned on October 1st is an Adirondack Porsche Tour (about an hour & a half), leaving the Saratoga Auto Museum at 10:00 AM, over some spectacular mountain roads, ending at the Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing on Lake George for lunch on the lake. On Sunday October 2nd the Saratoga Auto Museum’s “Octoberfest German Car Lawn Show,” featuring Porsche, will take place on museum grounds starting at 10:00 AM. The show is open to all German cars. Porsche owners and enthusiasts are invited. Details will be available soon on the museum’s website or by calling the museum.

The Porsche exhibit will open to the public on Oct 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM, and will be occupying the downstairs galleries until January 31, 2012. Members of Porsche clubs are welcome for the run of this exhibit and will be offered a generous Museum discounted admission. Call for details and group rates. Along with the feature exhibition the Museum has on display, “East of Detroit, Cars Made in NY”, and several significant cars that raced in NY. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located at 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY. Hours of operation during the fall and winter months are Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.

For more information, call Peter Perry at 518-587-1935 ext. 17 or visit the Saratoga Automobile Museum on the web at www.saratogaautomuseum.org.

Photo: An early electric Porche Courtesy Auto History Online.

Museum Gets Auto Racing Trove For Library

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When racing historian and memorabilia collector Ed Biittig Sr. of Sloansville recently decided it was time to pare down his book collection to make more room for other collectibles, the library of the Saratoga Automobile Museum was the beneficiary.

Ed and wife Betty soon had cartons filled with some 350 books ready for delivery to the auto museum, where they are currently being sorted and catalogued by volunteers headed by the library coordinator, longtime museum volunteer Jerry Hart.

“If we find we have duplicates, some of the books will eventually be offered for sale,” said Hart. “But the majority will be cataloged and added to our already extensive collection that will be made available for use by the public every Wednesday beginning in August. Our library is divided into sections on such specific topics as Buick, Ferrari or Chrysler and broader topics such as auto racing. Enthusiasts are always welcome to use the volumes for research or just for enjoyment.”

“This is the fifth major donation we’ve had,” added museum trustee Ron Hedger, who coordinates the museum’s “Racing in New York” gallery. “Along with small donations from countless supporters of the museum, Ed’s books will join major donations from the late volunteer Ed Marks, Bud Lyons, Michigan automotive engineer Don Everett and racing personality John Fitch. I’m sure followers of auto racing will love Ed’s contribution”

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the grounds of Saratoga Spa State Park at 110 Avenue of the Pines. For more information, guests can visit the Museum’s website at www.saratogaautomuseum.org or call (518) 587-1935.

Saratoga Automobile Museum Names New Chair

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Trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum (SAM) unanimously elected Gloversville businessman Charles Montano as Board Chairman at their annual election meeting of the trustees in May.

Montano becomes the fourth Board Chair of the Museum, joining the late founder and initial chairman Lewis Golub of Lake George, Bob Bailey of Diamond Point and the most recent chairperson, Jean Hoffman of Clifton Park, as head of the Board of Trustees. Other board officers elected at the meeting included Seth Rosner of Saratoga Springs as Vice-Chairman, Dr. James Hoehn of Menands as Treasurer and Robert Ensign, Jr. of Latham as Secretary. Chairs of the board’s various sub-committees will be announced at a later date.

A Gloversville native, Montano owns and operates a commercial/industrial rental business with divisions specializing in apartments and luxury home development in the downstate area. He is also a well known automobile collector, with a number of “Woodies” from his collection the focus of a recent exhibit in the Museum’s Golub gallery.

“Cars with wooden bodies have always fascinated me,” offered Montano. “But they only represent a segment of my collection and my interests. I truly love all aspects of the automotive world.

“As chairman of the Board of Trustees, my goal is to continue and expand our programs that bring these diverse communities together. Whether your focus is woodies, the brass era, auto racing, classic cars, any of the diverse makes that highlight our lawn shows or our automotive-themed educational programs, the Auto Museum is your place and I want everyone to feel welcome here.”

“Charlie Montano epitomizes the caliber of leadership and automobile enthusiasm the Museum needs to continue advancing the exceptional cultural enrichment we strive to provide for our growing communities,” said Taylor C. Wells, SAM Executive Director.

SAM Board members fulfilling their current terms include Bob Bailey, David Darrin, Wayne Freihofer, Ron Hedger, Jean Hoffman, Tony Ianniello, Eric King, Ed Lewi, Lee Miller, and Alan Rosenblum.

The mission of the Saratoga Automobile Museum is to preserve, interpret and exhibit automobiles and automotive artifacts. We celebrate the automobile and educate the general public, students and enthusiasts regarding the role of the automobile in New York State and in the wider world. In addition to technical and design aspects, our educational focus is on the past, present and future social and economic impact of the automobile

The Museum is chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York Department of Education as a not-for-profit institution. Additionally, the Museum is a member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM).

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the grounds of Saratoga Spa State Park at 110 Avenue of the Pines. For more information, guests can visit the Museum’s website at www.saratogaautomuseum.org or call (518) 587-1935.