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Since last winter went so swimmingly, let's try it again! TFS has very graciously opened her home in the west San Fernando Valley to me again. This time her daughter AS (and dog and cat) are there too. Two women + two dogs + two cats = not my usual solitary winter again. Huzzah!
Place name links like Los Angeles, CA go to Wikipedia. Place name links like Los Angeles use a local tourism or government website.
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Leaving Los Angeles

2014.05.10 The Nethercutt Collection


One final museum trip before I hit the road. Today we spent several very entertaining hours at The Nethercutt Collection in the unlikely San Fernando Valley neighbourhood of Sylmar, CA . The collection includes a large number of pre-WW2 automobiles, many from long-defunct (mostly US) makers, and a surprising tour of their Orchestrion collection.

Over a 70-year (!) marriage the Nethercutts made their fortune with the Merle Norman Cosmetics company, and the influence of their involvement in the beauty industry shows in their collection.

I think this was the largest number of pictures I've ever taken in one place: 416 shots in total. About half are exhibit cards, which I usually exclude to keep posts manageable and because they're usually captured only well enough for me to use for reference later. For this collection I'm going to include them because they're informative and decorative and I did a good job of capturing the majority of them.

This page will take some time to load; it's probably the biggest I've done yet.


The Main Vehicle Collection

    A very stylish-looking building, in soft tones. I didn't realize my only picture of it was not so good. Across the street is another set of buildings in the same scheme that look like office/production facilities that I didn't bother to shoot. We'll find out later that there's a big surprise in one of them.

Inside Entrance
    The main collection space is a large but stylish high-ceilinged warehouse full of vehicles. Full of vehicles. Tight spacing, narrow walking lanes, and ropes sometimes made photography tricky with my small camera. Nonetheless, you'll see I was undaunted. :)
Entrance vehicles

In the front door and right into vehicles, some I recognized from The Mullin, and one with the name of a car I've seen at home.

1929 Kissel
Model 8-126 White Eagle Speedster

A fellow at home has this 1912 Model 4-50 Fire Chief's Car so I recognized this marque right away.

1913 Chalmers
Model 18-Six Touring
1937 Talbot-Lago
T150 C-SS Sport Coupe

1931 Bugatti
Type 51 "Dubos" Coupe

originally a Grand Prix racecar





Front wall

Some lovely cars, photography hampered by my camera's limitations in bright sunlight.

1938 Mercedes-Benz
Model 540K Cabriolet A

1930 Rolls-Royce
Phantom II Town Car

Constance Bennett

1930 Cord
Model L-29 Front Drive Town Car

E.L. Cord's namesake

1936 Duesenberg
Model SJN Convertible Coupe

the last Duesenberg model
1937 Cord
812 Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan

"baby Duesenberg "

I've seen a few Rollers, but never this many together. A historical survey.

1937 Rolls-Royce
Model 25/30 Sedanca de Ville

"Baby Rolls Royce"
1955 Rolls-Royce
Silver Wraith Touring Limousine

Marjorie Merriweather Post
1958 Rolls-Royce
Silver Wraith Limousine

Mrs. Eli Lilly
1963 Rolls-Royce
Silver Cloud III Saloon

1972 Rolls-Royce
Phantom VI Limousine

1966 Rolls-Royce
Phantom V Touring Limousine

1937 Rolls-Royce
Phantom III Sedanca de Ville

1932 Rolls-Royce
Phantom II Croydon Victoria

daughter of Frank Woolworth

1930 Rolls-Royce
Phantom I Marlborough Town Car


Caning: hand-painted
faux cane
1913 Rolls-Royce
Silver Ghost Town Carriage


Back wall

Marine Engine: Patrol Torpedo Boat
1936 Pierce-Arrow
Travelodge Model A Travel Trailer

1937 Pierce-Arrow
Model 1702 Enclosed-Drive Limousine


A cozy home on wheels. Except for the lack of kitchen it's pretty much like any travel trailer. It has a bathroom sink and toilet. And fine woodwork. $899 new.

As with the automobiles, the trailers were over-produced and under-priced.


cast iron stove

Popper & Co.
Model 13 "Iduna"ca 1915

A total of 159 pipes, twenty-seven of each for violins, clarinets, flutes and piccolos, twelve for cellos (being a bass extension of the violin rank), and thirty-nine gambas, the piano with mandolin attachment and twenty-seven note xylophone accompanied by fifteen orchestra bells, bass drum with tympani effect, snare drum, cymbal and triangle and a solo capacity to bells, xylophone and pipes.

(from a similar one at auction)

1946 Volkswagen
Type 11 Saloon

built under British occupation
1948 Tucker
Model 48 Sedan

Tucker #40 of 51
1941 Packard
1907, Custom Super 8 Sport Sedan

Back up the aisle while we wait for the Tour.

More hints of the music box collection.

1911 Oldsmobile
Limited, Series 27 Limousine

the only one left, original and unrestored
1917 Simplex
Crane Model 5 Touring

1916 Pierce-Arrow
Model 48B-3, 5-Passenger Touring

integrated headlamps

1911 Matheson
Model 18 Silent Six Touring

Kermit the Frog
1907 Pierce
Great Arrow (65Q) Touring

formerly bicycles and birdcages

1905 Multiphone wax-cylinder jukebox
Mills Novelty Company
Bow Front Violano Virtuoso, ca 1925
<--- This electric violin-playing machine accepts nickels, and works. I can't recall what the tune was though.
Rotating wheels "bow" the strings. Self-tuning. Also has a 44-key piano for accompaniment. Uses paper rolls, 5 tunes per roll.
Regina Music Box Company
Coronet Multi-Disc Music Box
1906 Pope-Toledo
Type XII Touring

1907 Westinghouse
Model 40 Demi-Limousine

French, original, unrestored  


The Guided Tour

A 2-hour guided tour is available, held once or twice a day. Admission is free, but reservations are necessary because space is limited. We leave this building and cross the street to a nondescript windowless tower.

1st Floor: Lower Salon    




We've already seen a few music machines at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ . Now we're going to see quite a few more. These are parlour models.    
Regina Music Box Company
Disc Music Box & Stand
Mills Novelty Company
Mills Double Violano Virtuoso, ca 1925



actually a glockenspiel
Automatic Musical Company
Automatic Self_Playing Xylophone, ca 1905
F.G. Otto & Sons
Olympia Disc Music Box
1932 Packard
Model 906, Twin-Six Convertible Roadster

1930 Cadillac
Model 452A Dual-Cowl Phaeton

rare hybrid
1932 De Dion-Bouton
Model DM Roadster

once in the
Ford museum
1924 Cadillac
Model V-63, 7-Passenger Touring

"inherently balanced" V-8
1913 Case
40 Model 0 Fire Truck

only 2800 miles
from new
1904 Cameron
Model J Experimental Light Touring

1903 Peerless
Type 6, Style F Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Phil Hill
1930 Packard
Model 734 Speedster Eight Victoria

1947 Ford
Super Deluxe 79A Station Wagon

1932 Lincoln
Series 241, Model KB Twelve Convertible Sedan

1958 Vespa
Model 400 "Jolly"


one-off tribute to the Fiat Jolly beach car
1931 Stutz
DV-32 5-Passenger Sedan

1909 Packard
Model Thirty Runabout

1927 Star
Model M Coupe


1937 Packard
1507 Fifteenth Series Touring Sedan

1925 Cunningham
Series V-6 Sport Touring

1932 Chrysler
Series CL 8 Custom Imperial Convertible Sedan


1914 Peerless
Model 48-Six Touring


1914 Rauch & Lang
Model B4 Electric Brougham
1914 General Electric
Mercury Arc, 100 AMP Battery Charger/Rectifier

    Mr. Nethercutt wasn't always a "car guy". It wasn't until he'd been married over 20 years (probably wise :)) that he bought his first collectible cars for restoration, in 1956: a 1936 Duesenberg Convertible Roadster (seen on the Front Wall earlier) and a 1930 DuPont Town Car (coming soon). Restoring the DuPont took 18 months instead of a few weeks but in 1958 it claimed the "Best of Show" award at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance . His cars have since gone on to win many more awards.

After 20 minutes of browsing, we're brought together for some background on the collection, and then we're on to the 2nd floor which looks nothing like this one.

2nd Floor:
Grand Salon





A model of automobile showrooms of the 1910s, 20s, and 30s, when really only the well-heeled could afford these new inventions, and the very wealthy would know of and shop for ones like these.    



1934 Packard
1108 Twelve Convertible Sedan



    bright and shiny shiny shiny, marble and columns and mirrors and chandeliers lighting all the wonders
1933 Duesenberg
Model SJ Arlington Torpedo Sedan





Also known as the "Twenty Grand" because of its astonishing $20,000 pricetag.
1928 Daimler
Double Six 30 Touring Saloon


1930 Minerva
AL Limousine de Ville

multi-continent traveller abandoned in Canada

1923 Hispano-Suiza
Model H6B Cabriolet de Ville


1932 Maybach
DS8 Zeppelin Sport Cabriolet

V-12 designed by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin

1934 Packard
Model 1108 Twelve Sport Phaeton

Inspired The Hussy Collection

see before and after
1933 Hispano-Suiza
Model J12 Coupe de Ville

first French
woman pilot

1905 Franklin
Model E Gentleman's Roadster

New York to San Francsico in 33 days, air-cooled
1923 McFarlan
Model 154 Knickerbocker Cabriolet

Rosco "Fatty" Arbuckle
1932 American Austin
Bantam Roadster

1909 Gobron-Brillié
Model 70/90 Tourer


Australia, two opposing pistons per cylinder
1903 Ruxton
Front Drive Sedan

only 96 produced, 17 survive
1923 Locomobile
Model 48 Victoria Sedan

1886 Benz
MK1 Patent Motorwagen

1986 replica
1901 Toledo
Model A Steam Carriage

1930 DuPont
Model G Town Car

Mr. Nethercutt's first restoration
1928 Isotta-Fraschini
Model 8A All-Weather Landaulet Cabriolet

Mrs. Edmund C. Lynch
1930 Cadillac
Model 452A Town Cabriolet

Cecil B. DeMille
1926 Pierce-Arrow
Series 33 Runabout

1906 Franklin
Model G Light Touring

(L) 1912 Cadillac
Model Thirty 4-Passenger Coupe
(R) 1905 Buick
Model J (?) Touring
1913 De Dion-Bouton
Type EY 50hp Limousine

1912 Franklin
Model G Series 1 Runabout

1898 Eisenach


ancestor of BMW

Wurlitzer roll player
            Now up the stairs, past a player piano that
      earlier played "Rhapsody in Blue" recorded
on a piano roll by George Gershwin ... see this view from above.






quite spectacular
3rd Floor:



radiator mascots


"Spirit of the West"
We leave the vehicle collection behind for a while for 18th & 19th century French furniture, more music players, and 8 display cases of radiator mascots.    
Station Music Box, ca 1895?

H.A. Brassard (?)
Captain's Desk Music Box, ca 1875 (?)

folded-paper gramophone speaker
Crafted from silver, depicting the early west. Made for exhibition in San Francisco at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition by the International Silver Co.
4th Floor:
Music Room
"Cloud 99"

oops, shaky shot

The Gem
Roller Organ

S. Hermitage & Sons

player piano

6-hands player piano

Most of the Nethercutt's music machines live in this large elegant salon, walls lined with over a dozen European Orchestrions augmented by several Reproducing Pianos and a variety of cylinder and disc Music Boxes . All overlooked by a Louis XV-style dining room.





little men ring bells

Mortier 84-key, ca 1928



Hupfeld Helios

M. Welte & Söhne
Style 3 Cottage Orchestrion, ca 1908


Encore Automatic Banjo

dual-disc player

Musical Watches
    The smallest of the music machines. There was also a collection of what we usually think of as "music boxes" in several large display cases lining the entrance to the Salon.    


Wurlitzer Automatic Harp Style B(?)
Model 290 Imperial
97 keys - eight full octaves, with the extra 9 bass keys in reveresed colours. Weighs 2 tons (1.8 tonnes). This one has a player option with a (remote) PC computer console.

1912 Pathé Camera
Used by D. W. Griffith on The Birth of a Nation (1914-15) and Intolerance (1916).

The tour has two guides: a lady to talk and provide commentary on the collection items, and a man to help herd us around but primarily to operate the music machines. In the Salon he led the show to demonstrate his great enthusiasm for his regular job as maintainer of the music collection, and the next two items.
Excelsior-Pan Orchester



left pipes


right pipes
An Orchestrion is a music box that tries to replicate an orchestra . I seem to remember that this one has 157 instruments built into the cabinet and walls. It was custom- built for a Dutch hotel based on the Helios III/39 (I think), like the other Helios above but extended with multiple side cabinets for more instruments.    




Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra

Centered in the salon is the keyboard console for the 5,000-pipe Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ ("Unit Orchestra")






on an elevated riser during show time
    Behind the big Excelsior-Pan is a wall full of theatre organ, once used to accompany silent movies. Originally simple "church" organs, Robert Hope-Jones extended the "theatre" organ concept to include a complete orchestra and introduced several technical and stylistic innovations like electro-pneumatic action, curved consoles with tabs for stops, new tonal colours for movie music, and sound effects controlled through two swing-out panels on either side of the console.
The museum has extended the console to include a remote-control computer interface tucked away in a corner of the Salon. After a 20-minute walkabout the 2nd guide delighted in presenting a demonstration of some of the system's features and abilities, and then a computer-driven set of three famous tunes.


Wow, that was quite unexpected, and in a great way. That's what happens when you do just enough homework on where you're going. Mind you, the Nethercutt website doesn't really convey the sizable scope of their collection and this place is a hidden gem.


Now, Back to the Cars

I was a photographin' phool, I admit. Collect 'em all! is my motto. I have a collection of automobilia and other odd things, and have had other collections since youth so in the presence of the "free" nature of digital photo collection for a place I may likely never visit again with a brain that may not remember so well someday I... collect 'em all. TFS blessedly puts up with my flitting (or zooming) about and click-click of my camera, leaning over exhibit cards or pushing the limits of protection ropes, catching her in shots and then re-shooting, and being anything but a leisurely musem browser. So here's a wall of the rest of the cars.

1913 Mercedes
37/95 Double Phaeton - Torpedo

1936 Pierce-Arrow
Model 1603 Imperial Saloon Limousine

1937 Graham
Cavalier Series 95 Sedan

original, unrestored, 28,555 miles
1925 Franklin
Model 10C Sedan

air-cooled, wooden chassis
1913 Christie
Front-Drive Steam Pumper/Fire Engine


1923 LaFayette
Model 134, 4-Passenger Coupe

luxury by Charles W. Nash
1952 Hudson
Hornet, Twin-H, Convertible Brougham

1915 Stevens-Duryea
Model DD, 7-Passenger Touring

1916 Dort
Model 5/Touring


1919 Packard
3-35, Twin-Six, 7-Passenger Sedan

Fleetwood body, Phil Hill
1913 Winton
Model 17-D Six 4-Passenger Touring

pioneer US maker
1916 Packard
Model 1-25 Twin-Six Limousine

1925 Chevrolet
Superior Model, Series K Touring

1915 Ford
Model "T" Coupelet

1914 Knox
46-Little Six/Touring

1930 Ford
Model A / Sport Coupe

1931 Ford
Model A, Deluxe Phaeton (180A)

1915 Packard
Model 5-48, 7-Passenger / Touring

the largest Packard
1936 Ford
Model 68 Deluxe Roadster

1919 Pierce-Arrow
Model 51 7-Passenger Touring

1932 Lincoln
Series 231, KB, Coupe

1930 Packard
745, Deluxe Eight/Imperial Sport Laundaulet

1928 Stearns-Knight
Model J-8-90 Limousine

1928 Chrysler
Model 72 Sport Roadster

1938 Cadillac
Series 90 Convertible Sedan

Ganna Walska
1935 Cadillac
Model 452D 5-Passenger Convertible

1932 Chevrolet
Confederate Series, Model BA Deluxe Coupe

1932 Cadillac
355-B Deluxe Sport Coupe

last "tombstone" radiator shell
1933 Cadillac
Model 452-C Imperial Limousine

1931 Cadillac
Model 370A Convertible Coupe

1931 Daimler
Double Six 50 Royal Limousine

1932 Cadillac
Model 452B Deluxe Sport Phaeton

1928 Pierce-Arrow
Model 36, 7-Passenger Touring

1930 Cadillac
Model 452A Imperial Cabriolet


A little break in the stream of vehicles to look down the middle aisle. There is A LOT of automotive history in this building.
1937 Cadillac
Series 90 Aero-Dynamic Coupe

influential styling
1930 Marmon
Big Eight, Model 112 Sedan

1928 Minerva
AM Convertible Town Cabriolet

Belgium, Billy Mitchell
1932 Pierce-Arrow
Model 52 Sedan

1921 Lincoln
Model L Phaeton

" Leland Built"
1923 Voisin
C-5 Sporting Victoria

Rudolph Valantino bought 3
1912 Alco
Model 9-60 7-Passenger Touring

1920 Kenworthy
Model 4-80 7-Passenger Touring

the only one
1911 Pope-Hartford
Model Y 7-Passenger Touring

1913 Lozier
Type 72 Lakewood Torpedo

with open and closed bodies
1911 Moon
Model Thirty Toy Tonneau

1922 REO
Model T6 7-Passenger Touring

Ransom E. Olds
1928 Gardner
Eight-In-Line 85, Sport Sedan

1916 Simplex
Crane, Model 5/Touring

1918 Pierce-Arrow
66 Prototype 7-Passenger Touring

test car, only 1 of 4 surviving
1926 Bugatti
Type 23 Brescia Cabriolet

original, unrestored, fabric body
1910 Hudson
Model 20 Touring

1908 Northern
Model C Touring

1956 Packard
Caribbean, 56th Series/Convertible

1923 Moon
Model 6-58/Sport Touring

1928 Diana
The Light Straight 8/Sedan Deluxe

1933 Pierce-Arrow
Model 1242 7-Passenger Touring

1933 Franklin
Model 17A Club Brougham

the "Bankers Car"
1931 Packard
845 Deluxe Eight Sport Sedan

Irene Rich
1933 Pierce-Arrow
Model 1247 Convertible Sedan

1937 Lincoln
Model K / Twelve Berline

1938 Lincoln
Model K Twelve Touring Coupe

    Whew! That's alotta carsss... 133, give or take - you count :). And there were a few I didn't shoot, and a few more that I think I missed.

This collection could really used about 30% more space, just to loosen it up a little. Unlike the other two transport museums in my Top 3 (below), the vehicles are roped off so interior shots are not so easy.


On the Way Out


Car guys collect up car parts. Fancy-car guys collect up fancy-car parts.

There was a long wall of about a dozen cabinets with spare parts and gifted items like mounted hood mascots. No greasy piles of junk though: these were all cleaned and polished for show.






Glass Mascots



Not sure what the theme of this room was.

1927 Lincoln
cutaway engine

1 of 5 for the Ford Trade School
1950 Mercury
Customized Coupe

Joe Bailon
1933 American Austin
Bantam Coupe

1934 Ford
Model 40 Deluxe Roadster


There isn't much of a lobby, not even a gift shop.

Ladies are encouraged to visit the Merle Norman shop in another building though. :)

1920s Hammond Multiplex Closed Universal Typewriter  

Used by Formula 1 race driver Phil Hill to write his columns for "Road & Track" magazine.  

By rotating the type shuttle, fonts could be switched in seconds.

1905 Dalton Adding Machine

We ran out of time and I was more focused on the cars inside to tour (guided only) the steam locomotive out back.

1937 Canadian Pacific Railway Royal Hudson Locomotive #2839
1912 Pullman Private Car #100 California

A most impressive collection! Cars (and Not-Cars) I've never seen. In my Top 3 with the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN and Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, CA . Early AutoAmericana from a time when anyone could jump into the automaker business, with some names I'd only heard of, and some I hadn't. Having seen a room full of music machines in the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ the collection of machines of every size across the street from our original destination added hugely. I really knew diddly about music machines before this winter; now I know a whole lot more. Who knew?

I could have used an extra hour and battery to capture everything in my collector- and expositor-ly way.

Next time.

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Document ENW/BOQU/0.2:2014.06.09    A branch of The BRIDGE Tree