TREMONT — The Seal Cove Auto Museum opens Friday, May 22, with a new look and a new mission. Just 100 years after the first Maine Auto Show was held in Bangor, the museum will feature exhibits that share that period in automotive history. A sporty, red, 1909 Corbin – which could have been at that Bangor show – will welcome visitors as they step back into the automotive history of the “Brass Era.”
Red, white and blue banners, reminiscent of the First National Auto Show held at Madison Square Garden in 1900, bedeck the walls and surround autos and motorcycles, including a Stanley Steamer. Others, like the 1915 FRP are the only model known to exist.
Visitors can view an 1899 Benz replica, as well as dozens of original vehicles that illustrate the many developments that took place between 1899 and 1916. Twenty-seven of the vehicles on display are more than 100 years old. Some were built when vehicles had no windshields, bumpers, horns, or electric lights. Even the word “automobile” had not been imported from France when these horseless carriages were built.
While many of the rare automobiles are finely restored, Restoration Alley shows the “barn finds” that enable the study of the construction of these early vehicles as they await future restoration.
“The transformation of the museum into a place where history can be shared is a work in progress,” said the museum’s executive director Roberto Rodriquez. “We want this to be a place where people of all ages can come, have a picnic overlooking the pond, and learn about how the automobile changed the way we live. Here are the steam, electric, and gas cars that vied for popularity over 100 years ago. They offer potential for many future programs and frequently changing exhibits. We want the museum to be an asset to the island and hope that everyone will come to visit frequently.”