Boyertown Museum |Historic Vehicles | Golden Anniversary

Collection

On special display through Spring 2018–American Austins and Bantams! Built in Butler, Pennsylvania beginning in 1930 and based on the English Austins, the American version was marketed as a gas-efficient compact car in an era of large, imposing automobile design. Financial problems plagued the company throughout the years and American Austin rebranded itself as American Bantam in 1937. The redesign did not solve their money woes, but the company did make its mark on American history by inventing the first Jeep in 1940. The Army did not feel the small Bantam factory was up to the task of fulfilling the contract, so the work was awarded to Ford and Willys instead. Bantam folded just a short time later.
Eight different Bantams and Austins of a variety of body styles are currently on display in the Museum lobby. Six of these automobiles are on loan to the Museum courtesy of the Rowlands Family in Honor of Ed Rowlands.

Photo Credit: Pam Baumann

In addition to dozens of road vehicles, the Boyertown Museum also counts related literature and memorabilia amongst its collections. Also popular are two examples of roadside architecture: our 1938 Fegely’s Reading Diner and a 1921 Sunoco gas station.

Visiting the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles is a truly unique experience because the Museum buildings themselves are historic. The main gallery of the Boyertown Museum is in the former main factory building of the Boyertown Auto Body Works. From 1926 until 1990, the Boyertown Auto Body Works manufactured truck bodies for commercial and government use. Some of those trucks are now on display in the Boyertown Museum – in the very building in which they were designed and constructed.

Photo Credit: Pam Baumann

Photo Credit: Valerie Hoffman

In addition, the original 1872 Jeremiah Sweinhart Carriage Factory, where vehicle building began in Boyertown, still stands and is part of the Museum complex. 

The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles proudly presents a dynamic exhibit of the reconstructed blacksmith forge and early belt driven machine shop of the Jeremiah Sweinhart Carriage Factory, along with a display of buggies and wagons built right here in the Carriage Works.

 

Check out our Upcoming Events page for dates the Carriage Factory will be open.

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Photo Credit: Adam Cooperstein