Upstate New York Classic Car Museum Gets $ 1.5 Million Tune-Up | Business
Vicky Klukkert The Daily Star
The Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich is getting a makeover to reflect what’s inside the building.
Brothers Mike and Dan O’Reilly of Principle Design & Engineering of Norwich were commissioned to redesign the exterior of the building in Chenango County. The building looked like a warehouse and didn’t look like a museum, Mike said. The museum is located near other Norwich museums, but it didn’t look like a museum, he said.
âThe building didn’t reflect that there were $ 30 million in vehicles inside,â Mike said. “We were hired to come up with a concept. We started by blowing up the facade of the building.”
Dan said, âWe looked at the designs of vintage car dealers and chose a 1940s GM dealership as our model. “
Mike said it took about three months to come up with the full design. The facade of the building will have two garage doors and a curved glass exhibition hall on one side, and the main entrance to the museum and cafe with a curved facade on the other side. One of the main attractions of the exhibit hall will be a turntable that has been donated to the museum and built into the floor, Mike said.
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The cost of the renovations is $ 1.5 million, Dan said.
Mike said when they spoke to contractors about the curved structure he said he was told it was no longer done, but they were able to find a contractor and a glass company in the state that were up to the challenge. Wakeman Construction Companies of Sidney was hired to do the renovations.
“It takes a lot of work, skilled work,” said museum president Dick Schutt. “Workers had to bend the steel using a crimping tool.”
Schutt said the museum will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year and that the board wants to “make the outside look like the inside. We have a world class exhibit here.”
Schutt said the museum houses 170 cars and 30 motorcycles in its five buildings. The museum has two full-time and four part-time staff and the rest are volunteers, he said. It is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Only four cars in the museum are not of American manufacture.
âThe oldest car in the museum is an 1899 Leggett, one of two made in Syracuse by the Leggett Carriage Company,â said Schutt. âThe most recent is a 1981 DeLorean. It is one of four that were not built in the United States. It was built in Ireland. I tell people that we don’t have a flow capacitor, so they can’t go back to the future. “
In addition, the museum houses two very first electric cars from 1910 and 1914 and a steam car.
âIf you didn’t live in an urban area, it was hard to charge your car, so they weren’t popular,â Schutt said. “Steam cars lasted 20 miles before you needed more water to run the engine.”
The majority of the cars on display were from the Staley family, Schutt said. When the museum opened, the 50 cars donated by the Staleys filled a building. Over the years, the museum has been able to purchase adjacent warehouses to house the cars.
The museum receives about 17,000 visitors a year from around the world, including Europe, the Middle East and Australia, Schutt said. âThis is a museum that you plan to go to,â he said. “There is no freeway nearby.”
Dan said the newly designed cafe will have large garage doors so it can be opened in the summer and can be used for events. Two antique gas pumps will be placed in front of the cafe and the sidewalk has been designed to make it look like a road leading to the pumps.
âOur future plan is to organize outdoor events,â said Schutt. “Saturday morning cars and coffee or a weekday ice cream party and a cruise.”