Sunday, June 24, 2012

Caverns and Cars

"What possibly can be in common between caverns and a car museum? The answer is in the passion of H.T.N. Graves, president of Luray Caverns Corporation, who started long ago locating and purchasing cars and other artifact deemed important to the history of traveling on wheels and roads" (

This passion has resulted in a unique collection. It is not the number of vehicles in the collection but the light that they shed on the birth and early stages of the development of the auto industry.

The restoration of the vehicles on display approached perfection. This was not a museum to rush through, pausing for a glimpse. This was a journey of small steps paired with extended periods of standing.

1892 Benz Vis-a-Vis

This is one of the oldest automobiles on permanent display in the United States. It was one of the very first cars produced in any quantity for sale.

I thought this was an interesting placement of a seat--facing the driver.

The steering mechanism is shown here, and

this is a closeup of the undercarriage of the Benz.

1903 Orient Buckboard

This model was produced almost entirely of wood--no metal springs

just the natural spring of the hickory wood frame. But it got 35 miles to the gallon.

1903 Knox Seven Passenger Tourer

Seven passenger? It took awhile, but I finally realized that there are two seats in the red "trunk" in front.

1908 Delauney Belleville Town Car

This car featured solid mahogany coach work and

leather three-stage fenders.

1906 Schacht "Highwheel" Roadster

The high wheels of this model were good for driving in mud and the ruts of roads in the country.

1908 Sears Model J Motor Buggy

I knew Sears sold homes; I now know the company sold automobiles. This model had tiller steering, a dual exhaust system, and a 2-cylinder, 14 hp engine.

1909 Middleby Roadster

The identifying information stated that this is the only known Middleby in existence;

however, one of the staff at the Museum mentioned that a recent visitor said that he was pretty sure that there was another in a town in Pennsylvania.

We will continue our walk of small steps tomorrow.

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