at the Automobile Driving Museum
The Automotive Driving Museum located in El Segundo California (near the LAX airport) has several spectacular nineteen thirties luxury cars in a glassed-off section known as the Lairport Automotive Showroom ( the museum is located on Lairport Drive)
The beautiful 1930 Weymann bodied Stutz patented design system that used a jointed wood frame covered in fabric. It was popular because the body system reduced the usual squeaks and rattles of metallic bodies and improved performance because of the body's lighter weight. This four-door Stutz Monte Carlo Sedan is powered by a 287-cubic inch "Vertical Eight" 8-cylinder engine mounted in a chassis equipped with four-wheel hydraulic brakes. This car one of three built sold for $4,495 when new.
After World War I pilot Charles Weymann used his knowledge of aircraft manufacturing techniques to develop a patented system for automobiles. He opened a factory in Paris in 1921 and through the decade the market for Weymann fabrics bodies grew quickly and Weymann licensed his system to many of Europe's most prestigious manufacturers. Weymann opened a factory in Indianapolis Indiana in 1928 that was mainly devoted to building custom bodies for Stutz automobiles.
Early in the new decade of the nineteen thirties, the automobile buying public tastes shifted to high-gloss painted bodies and the Weymann fabric bodies with their matte finish fell out of fashion. Weymann's Paris factory closed in 1930 followed by the Indianapolis factory in 1931 making this 1930 one of the last of its breed.
Also behind glass was this 1937 Pierce Arrow Town Car with custom body built by Brunn & Company of Buffalo New York. In 1929 Studebaker had acquired the luxury automaker Pierce-Arrow which had been building its exclusive cars with the trademark styling cue of headlight built into the front fenders but in the Depression it was difficult to sell expensive custom-bodied car like this one. During the 1937 model year the full year of Pierce Arrow production only 164 cars were built. Fewer than 20 Pierce Arrows were built during 1938 before production ground to a halt.
Just outside the showroom was this magnificent 1932 Plymouth with a custom Town Car with a body built Brewster & Company of Long Island New York. The original owner of this car was Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the car was used for many years by Eleanor Roosevelt around their estate in Warm Spring Georgia. Roosevelt selected a more mundane Plymouth instead of a more ostentatious make of car to attract less attention during the Depression.
All photographs by the author