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Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) Vehicle Display

The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) now has an ongoing display here at the AACA Museum, Inc. with the ability to share a variety of historically significant vehicles throughout the year with visitors to the Museum.  The 1933 Graham Blue Streak 8 Sedan was the first vehicle on view through mid-January 2018.   The second automobile, is a 1920 Anderson Six Convertible Roadster, now on display through early June.    This ongoing exhibit will feature other significant vehicles that will be changed out 2-3 times each year.

1920 Anderson Six Convertible

January 24 – Mid-June 2018

1920 Anderson Six Convertible

Photo credit: Casey Maxon, Historic Vehicle Association

A Rare 1920 Anderson Six Convertible – One of only seven known survivors of South Carolina’s first automobile company that operated between 1916 and 1922.   It was added to the National Historic Register for its local and regional historic significance.   It is currently owned by Paul and Kathleen Ianuario of Duncan, South Carolina.

From 1916 to 1925, a total of approximately 5,500 Anderson cars were produced in Roch Hill, SC, in direct competition with offerings from the North.  Featuring the motto, “A little bit higher in price, but made in Dixie,” Anderson cars were indeed the South’s luxurious alternative to Detroit’s mass-market vehicles, featuring mahogany, South Carolina hickory, premium leather and top-quality trim and materials.  The cars also introduced exciting color schemes to the automotive industry, tempting buyers with the rich palette of purple, blue, yellow and other alternatives to the more fundamental color schemes of Northern competitors.

John Gary Anderson, the industrialist and inventor behind the company, was also a poet and sculptor.  His cars featured numerous innovations, including an electric windshield wiper years before Ford offered the technology.  Other firsts included power convertible tops, a floor-installed headlight dimmer switch (which he invented), and a unique review mirror.  There was also an onboard air compressor driven by the car’s transmission for pumping up tires and a toolkit integrated into the side door for on-the-go-repairs.  The radiator cap featured a thermometer know as a “motor meter,” that was visible to the driver.  However, customers paid the price for all this innovation and luxury, with an Anderson ranging in cost from $1,650 for the five-passenger touring car to $2,550 for the sedan, compared to a $345 to $760 price range for the contemporary Model T Ford.

1920 Anderson Rear Seat 1920 Anderson Six Convertible Dash
1920 Anderson Mascot and Motometer 1920 Anderson Engine

Photo credits:  Casey Maxon – Historic Vehicle Association.

All content and images provided by Historic Vehicle Association.

More on The Historic Vehicle Association:

The HVA is dedicated to preserving and sharing America’s automotive heritage. In 2014, the HVA established the National Historic Vehicle Register in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Heritage Documentation Programs and Library of Congress to document historically significant automobiles in America’s past. The HVA is supported by over 400,000 individual historic vehicle owners, key stakeholders and corporations, as well as individual benefactors. Please visit: historicvehicle.org

Past Display Vehicles:

A 1933 Graham Blue Streak 8 Sedan was the first vehicle on view.  It was on loan and was painstakingly restored by The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage. The Graham Blue Streak is likely best known for its streamlined body design by chief designer Amos Northup.

The Graham Blue Streak was on view through January 24, 2018.

1933 Graham Blue Streak | Casey Maxon Photo

Photo Credit: Casey Maxon,  Historic Vehicle Association

Northup and the Graham Brothers – Historical content provided by HVA

Brothers Robert, Joseph and Ray Graham began their automobile business with the acquisition of Paige-Detroit in 1927.  The launch of the Graham-Paige automobile in 1928 was a huge success.  The company sold over 70,000 cars; the second highest figure for a new company to that point in time.

By 1930, the nation was in the depth of the great depression, but the Graham brothers were optimistic that things would turn around.  They decided to invest heavily in the new car that would be so far ahead of other that it would sell when nothing else could.

That car would be the 1932 Graham Blue Streak 8 Sedan.  It was a new design from the ground up.  The chassis was engineered to have the axle pass through instead of under the rear chassis.  This made the car lower and wider which improved handling.  The eight-cylinder engine with a high compression aluminum head produced 95 horsepower and made the car fast.

The body designed by Amos Northup was more elegant and streamlined than anything else on the road.  For the first time, a production car had a grille slopped back, the fenders and sides (or valances) which were immediately imitated, and it was the first production car to use pearl-essence paint using fish-scales to create a metallic-like finish.  The frame was concealed on all sides.  The headlights were painted and not fully chromed to harmoniously blend with the overall design.

The car was an integrated whole not a mash-up of disparate elements, a design built for speed, handling, safety in an elegant, streamlined modern package.  Ahead of its time, the Graham Blue Streak proved to be a tipping point from the old way cars were built to the new, modern streamline design.  More than eighty years later, Northup’s design of the Graham Blue Streak would again make history.

1933 Graham 8 Blue Streak
1933 Graham Blue Streak Preston_Rose Historic Vehicle Association

Photo credit: Preston Rose, Historic Vehicle Association

1933 Graham Historic Vehicle Association photo credit Alessandro Di Fazio

Photo credit: Alessandro Di Fazio, The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage

For more on the history of Amos Northup and the Graham Blue Streak>>

Current day recognition:

In July of 2017, this vehicle was the 19th vehicle to be inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register. The announcement was made during the opening ceremony of the Concours d’Elegance of America near Detroit.

The HVA National Lab works to document out Nation’s automotive treasures.   The HVA National Lab was a gift from The NB Center and is located in a building adjacent to The NB Center complex.    Each vehicle goes through an extensive documentation process in the studio which is equipped with an infinity cove about 40 feet wide and 80 feet deep with a turntable floor to rotate the car for photos.   The camera equipment was approved for use by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and all National Register photos are taken from a distance of more than 60 feet.  The images are preserved in the Library of Congress for the next 500 years and would appear as accurate and distortion free as possible.

More on The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage:

The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage is an institution dedicated to preserving America’s automotive heritage through its commitment to craftsmanship, education, and good stewardship. Located on 27 acres in east Allentown on the site of the former Boulevard Drive-In Theater, the many buildings of this private facility not only provide a home to over 150 vintage American automobiles, they house restoration shops and a dedicated track for this collection which is ready to be driven. The focal point of The NB Center is what is commonly referred to as “The Lodge”; a strikingly beautiful facility handcrafted from wood and stone salvaged from 2-period barns in-state. It houses the new state-of-the-art projection and audio system which can be used with the restored drive-in screen on the property. Another very important part of The NB Center is the Historic Vehicle Association’s National Laboratory. Additionally, to share the collection with other enthusiasts and those who will enjoy them, The NB Center automobiles continue to be displayed at public car shows and events, as well as on loan to various institutions.