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Winterthur to Display Elegant Autos from the Country-Estate Era Saturdays in May


1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom, Ascot Tourer with body by Brewster & Co. Courtesy of Winterthur.

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More than 50 magnificent and historic automobiles, dating from 1907 to 1959, will be displayed on Saturdays in May at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library beginning this weekend.


The displays, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, start the10th anniversary celebration of the Winterthur Invitational. They are accompanied at 1 p.m. each Saturday by related lectures in the museum’s Rotunda.


Weekly themes are “Ten Years of Excellence: Select Vehicles Displayed at Winterthur, 2006-2016” on May 7, “American Pre-war Luxury Brands, from Packard to Cadillac” on May 14, “The Personal Automobiles of Ruth Wales and Henry Francis du Pont” on May 21 and “Cars of the 1950s: Winterthur Museum Opens to the Motoring Public” on May 28.


From 1916 to 1969, hundreds of guests came to Winterthur for glittering social occasions hosted by the du Ponts. They arrived in a wide variety of automobiles that reflected the latest in design and fashion. These weather-permitting displays honor this tradition.


The displays are free for members and included with admission. The lectures are free for members and students and included with admission.


The weekly themes and confirmed automobiles include:


May 7: “Ten Years of Excellence: Select Vehicles Displayed at Winterthur, 2006-2016” with a 1907 Autocar, 1918 Buick E45 Touring, 1926 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, 1928 Mercedes S, two-door touring model, 1929 DuPont Le Mans Speedster, 1931 Chrysler M6 Roadster, 1931 Jordan, 1931 Buick Wagon Series 90 Model 9, 1932 Packard, 1935 Cadillac convertible, 1936 Packard convertible, 1948 Jaguar Mark IV Saloon, 1955 Cadillac, 1956 Packard Patrician, 1959 Cadillac, 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, and a Winterthur Rolls-Royce.


“Don’t Scare the Horses: The Development of the American Estate Garage” is the accompanying talk by Jeff Groff, Director of Interpretation & Estate Historian at Winterthur. Innovation and speed were the keystones of American life in the early twentieth century, with the wealthy embracing every new means of transportation to move about—and to show off their success. At their country places, new types of buildings were designed to house their automobiles, and an important new type of servant was added to the estate staff list—chauffeur. The talk will explore the design and function of these early garages; their evolution into key estate features; and the need to define chauffeurs’ duties, status, and relationships to fellow servants and employers.


May 14: “American Pre-war Luxury Brands, from Packard to Cadillac,” with a 1910 Pickard, 1927 Cadillac 314 Phaeton, 1928 Pierce Arrow Limo, 1929 Packard Opera coupe, 1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet, 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom Suburban, 1933 Auburn, 1937 Packard, 1938 Packard 1604 coupe, 1940 Packard, and a Winterthur Rolls-Royce.


Hampton Wayt, an independent 20th-century design historian, will talk about “Affluence at the Wheel: An Appreciation of Luxury Automobiles from Before the Second World War.” Not all antique cars are created equal—although at first glance they may appear to be. The automobiles of the rich, like their mansions, were often worlds apart from those of the lowest echelons of the invention. He will explore three predominant aspects of automobile design—mechanism, comfort, and style—as sought and enjoyed by wealthy car owners in the earliest decades of the machine’s adoption as a mode of travel.


May 21: “The Personal Automobiles of Ruth Wales and Henry Francis du Pont,” with a 1918 Cadillac, 1942 Cadillac Fleetwood Model 7533 Imperial sedan, 1941 Cadillac Town Car Landau, 1940 Buick Limited 90L limo, 1957 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville, 1957 Cadillac Series 75, 1931 Buick Wagon Series 90 Model 9, 1942 Cadillac 7533F, and a 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.


Gregory Landrey, Dwight and Lorri Lanmon Director of Academic Affairs at Winterthur, will give the last two talks. This one is called “The Personal Automobiles of Henry Francis and Ruth Wales du Pont, 1916-1969: Grand Motorcars of a Great American Country Home.”


May 28: “Cars of the 1950s: Winterthur Museum Opens to the Motoring Public” with a 1950 Ford custom convertible, 1950 Buick Special, 1950 Studebaker Commander, 1953 Buick Special 45R, 1954 Buick Skylark convertible, 1955 Buick Roadmaster two-door hardtop, 1955 Cadillac, 1955 Pontiac Starchief, 1956 Chrysler, 1956 Continental, 1956 Corvette, 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible/hardtop, 1956 Mercury Montclair hardtop, 1956 Studebaker, 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1957 Chevrolet convertible, and a 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury.


“Automobile Advertising in the 1950s, from Vogue to Sports Illustrated to Television: Selling the ‘New Look of Beauty,’ ” Landrey’s second talk, offers insight into the advertising of automobiles in the 1950s.



Winterthur, 5105 Kennett Pike north of Greenville, is open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday. To learn more, call 800.448.3883 or 302.888.4600, or visit winterthur.org

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