The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
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The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
The Nethercutt Museum ... One of the Worlds Finest Automobile Collections
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Sylmar, December 2011

A few days ago we had a closer look at the Mullin Automotive Museum and we mentioned that there are a few important collections that never seem to run out of spectacular cars to present on the various concours around the world. One of these big collections is without doubt the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley, about 25 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

J.B.Nethercutt made his fortune with Cosmetics and bought his first two classic cars back in 1956, a Duesenberg and a 1930 DuPont Town Car, both in unrestored condition. Although estimated with just a few weeks the restoration of the DuPont took more than 18 months to perfection with a lot of research for originality so the car was driven up to the Concours d´Elegance in Pebble Beach after its completion in 1958. What is the most important concours of our days started small in 1950 with a competition of the current cars, a few years later (in 1955) Phil Hill was the first Best of Show with a classic car and it stayed a classic car show ever since. Just in his first appearance Nethercutt took the crown and the passion for classic cars and their restoration was born.

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Over the years the collection grew and today displays more than 130 collector cars of the pre-war era in the Museum founded in 1971, most of them restored to concours condition in the own restoration shop as the restoration process always was part of Nethercutts pleasure of owning these cars. This led to countless concours awards including no less than six BoS in Pebble, a number that is still unmatched until the present day. After his father passed away in 2004 the famous name today is represented by Jack and Helen Nethercutt who share the passion for old cars and who are regular guests on all major concours.

The exhibition is divided in two parts, the Museum open free to the public on one side of the street and the Collection viewable by reservation in guided tours on the other side.

The Museum features the majority of the collection lined up on a heavy carpet. Although there are a few foreign cars including some Rolls-Royce most of the cars represent the American automobile industry of the veteran and vintage era. Some of the exhibited cars bear a name that is still around (Ford or Cadillac), others disappeared but are still widely remembered (Pierce Arrow, Simplex, Duesenberg or Packard) whereas several are unknown to most of the visitors.

In the beginning of the 20th century many small companies offered their products to the steadily growing motorization in the USA. Many of them started earlier as manufacturers of bicycles or were founded by individual constructors to build small series. Even back then Detroit was the American motor city being the home of the famous Ford Model T but also smaller companies like the Northern Motor Co., Hudson, Chalmers or Lozier were based there. Other companies were based in St.Louis like Moon or later Diana and Gardner. But not just pure automotive companies build cars, even a combine of locomotive manufacturers (ALCO = American Locomotive Company) tried to establish their products on the market but without big success. Most of the cars for sale looked quit the same as there was not much evolution in the early design, most cars featured an open touring body with a light tonneau to safe weight. With semi elliptic leaf springs and rigid axles under the frame the ground clearance was quit high when the American Motor Co. came up with the “Underslung” where the frame “slung” under the axles. In combination with the huge wheels needed due to the concept the Underslung designed by Harry C.Stutz (who later formed the Stutz Motor Company) became the sporting model of the days.

But not just American cars are shown, a superbly restored Mercedes 37/95 Double Phaeton Torpedo of 1913 with its characteristic pointed radiator represents the European engineering as does a couple of Rolls Royce.

The first WW was the first cut for the booming industry as people had other worries than cars and many manufacturers disappeared, others were taken over by bigger companies. The coming era between the wars might be the most interesting of all as many improvements were done we consider today as a modern invention (just see the folding metal top of the Peugeot Eclipse at the Mullin Museum). Today´s big theme is the hybrid concept but electric cars are not new, one of the best known is the Detroit Electric. After WW1 Owen Magnetic started to produce a hybrid car that features a normal combustion engine but with a drive train consisting of a generator, armature and electric engine to turn the back axle. The museum exhibits a rolling chassis showing the technology that allows to drive without shifting.

With the increase of the power of the engines in the 1920s and even more in the 1930s more heavy coach building was possible. Whereas the early 1923 Duesenberg Model A on display looks very much like the veteran cars more luxurious cars were available, the Town Cars with separate passenger compartment became more and more popular. The Museum has a few nice big Packard's and Cadillacs but the most impressive is the 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Town Car by Brewster. With its huge bonnet and the open driver compartment leaving the chauffeur in the rain the body might be the most lavish style to transport the two masteries. The side is decorated with a period rattan pattern and this is the last of the 6 BoS for the Nethercutt Collection back at the 1992 Pebble Beach Concours.

One of the highlights in the Museums section is the small Bugatti T51 Dubos Coupé. Born as a GP racer the car was later rebodied in the Style of the T57 Atlantic giving it a much more compact appearance due to the shorter wheelbase. The Chassis and the Body were separated for decades before being reunited by the Nethercutt restoration department to be shown at Pebble Beach in 2009 were it received the French Cup.

Also French design at its best is the displayed 1937 Talbot-Lago T150 C-SS Teardrop by Figoni&Falaschi in stylish two-tone paint, the car won BoS at Amelia Island in 2007.

One of the favourite cars of the Nethercutts is their 1934 Packard LeBaron Sport Phaeton called “Hussy”. The elegant line and the deep metallic red paint was even inspiration for an own cosmetic line, the “Hussy Collection” featuring lipstick and nail lacquer to match the colour.

The museums building is also housing the Nethercutt Research Library. With his first restoration of the 1930 DuPont the founder became aware how important a good research is for a proper restoration. With some of the cars now over 100 years old total unrestored original examples become rarer with every new restoration so it is not easy to find a good reference to show the way these cars were originally built, so a good documentation including restoration reports, original sales brochures and contemporary photos becomes more and more important. The library primarily serves the own restoration shop but also has a research service by request making this a good point to start research for an own restoration.

As mentioned at the beginning parts of the collection are featured in a different building just across the street. Two times a day a guided tour shows the treasure chest of the museum to those who did a reservation, something we recommend to every visitor.
The “Collection building” consists of two floors, the lower and the grand salon. The lower salon displays a vary of cars, music boxes and dolls.

The Grand Salon is the heart of the entire collection. When entering the top floor from the elevator one can see a collection of old furnitures, mascots and prizes on the right side and when stepping to the staircase one can oversee the salon with revolving balustrade. The floor and the columns are done in marble and a huge mirrored wall adds depth to the room. The display is inspired by the big luxurious show rooms of the big American premium car dealerships of that period.

Displayed here are 25 of the most important cars of the collection with most of the big names of the 1930s: Duesenberg, Isotta-Fraschini, Maybach, Packard and Hispano-Suiza.

First car to be noticed is certainly the car that started the passion, the 1930 DuPont mentioned several times before. The car is still in the collection after 55 years and it still does look great. Another example of the quality of restoration is the 1933 Duesenberg Arlington Torpedo Sedan named “20Grand” due to the astronomic price when new. The car was built as a show car for the 1933-34 Chicago World Fair and therefore it has a special attention to details both inside and outside including the silver inlets in the wood panels. The car was restored 1978 to the exact specification of 1933 with the help of the original designer Gordon M. Buehrig and some changes especially to the interior made earlier in its life were corrected during this process. The car was awarded Best of Show both at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Reunion in 1979 and Pebble Beach in 1980. Now 31 years later the car was displayed at the Amelia Island Concours in March 2011 and the car was still looking as good as just after the restoration so it was no surprise that it became Best of Show again in the Elegance Category (as Amelia also features a BoS in a sport category).

Another Duesenberg is the Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton by Murphy that was BoS in Pebble in 1969 in two-tone green, but one of the centrepieces is the Maybach Zeppelin DS8 with a cabriolet body by Spohn. Although a big 8-litre 12-cylinder this car features a very low roof line giving it a sleek appearance, the orange-green paint adds to this impression. The DS8 was the top model of the range wearing the 12-cylinder badge proudly in the Maybach logo.

So this is another “must see” Museum when visiting California. When planning your visit make sure that you get one of the places in the guided tours to the Grand Salon. Additionally the Museum features the 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive that can be visited on sunny days (and there are few rainy days in California).

Best of all: the Museum is free to the public.

For more informations please visit

Text & Images: Peter Singhof

Nethercutt Collection
1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen Replica
1898 Eisenach Runabout
1901 Toledo A Steam Carriage
1905 Buick C Touring
1906 Franklin G Light Touring
1906 Pope-Toledo Type XII Touring
1907 Pierce Great Arrow (65Q) Touring
1908 Northern Model C Touring
1909 Gobron-Brillie 70-90 Tourer
1910 Hudson 20 Touring
1910 Napier T-24 Tourer
1910 Pierce-Arrow 48 27th Model 7-Passenger Touring
1910 Royal Tourist
1911 Mattheson 18 Silent Six Tourer
1911 Moon Thirty Toy Tonneau
1911 Pope-Hartford W 7-Passenger Touring
1911 Pope-Hartford Y 7-Passenger Touring
1912 ALCO 9-60 7-Passenger Touring
1912 Cadillac Model Thirty 4-Passenger Coupe
1912 Christie Steam Pumper- Fire Engine
1912 Franklin G Series 1 Runabout
1912 White GF Sixty 7-Passenger Touring
1913 Chalmers 18-Six Touring
1913 Lozier Type 72 Lakewood Torpedo
1913 Mercedes 37/95 Double Phaeton Torpedo
1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Town Carriage by H.J.Mulliner
1913 Winton 17-D 5-Passenger Touring
1914 American Model 644 (Underslung) Touring
1914 De Dion-Bouton Model Type EY 50 HP Limousine
1914 Knox 46 Little Six Touring
1915 Ford Model T Cabriolet
1915 Packard 5-48 7-Passenger Touring
1915 Pierce-Arrow 48B-3 5-Passenger Touring
1915 Stevens 7-Passenger Touring
1916 Packard 1-25 Twin-Six Limousine
1916 Simplex Crane Model 5 Touring
1917 Pierce Arrow 66-A-4 Seven Passenger Touring
1919 Pierce-Arrow 51 7-Passenger Touring
1920 Kenworthy 4-80 7-Passenger Touring
1921 Owen Magnetic 60 Phaeton by Lind
1921 Owen Magnetic Model 60 Phaeton
1923 Duesenberg Model A Phaeton
1923 Hispano-Suiza H6B (32CV) Cabriolet de Ville by Saoutchik
1923 Lafayette 134 4-Passenger Coupe
1923 McFarlan Model 154 Twin-Valve Six Knickerbocker Cabriolet
1923 Moon Model 6-58 Sport Touring
1923 Voisin C5 Sporting Victoria
1925 Locomobile 48 Victoria Sedan
1926 Bugatti T23 Brescia Cabriolet by Gaston Grummer
1926 Pierce-Arrow 33 Runabout
1926 Renault Model 45 All Weather Cabriolet by Kellner
1927 Lincoln Cutaway Engine
1928 Chrysler 72 Sport Roadster
1928 Daimler Double Six 30 Touring Saloon
1928 Diana The Light Straight 8 Sedan Deluxe
1928 Gardner Eight-in-Line 85 Sport Sedan
1928 Hispano-Suiza H6C (32CV) Binder Cabriolet
1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A All Weather Landaulet Cabriolet
1928 Minerva AM Convertible Town Cabriolet
1929 Kissel 8-126 White Eagle Speedster
1930 Cadillac 452A Imperial Cabriolet
1930 Cadillac 452A Town Car by Fleetwood
1930 DuPont G Town Car by Merrimac
1930 Minerva Series AL Limousine de Ville
1930 Model A Sport Coupe
1930 Packard 745 Deluxe Eight Imperial Sport Landaulet
1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Malborough Town Car by Brewster
1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Brewster Town Car
1930 Ruxton Front-Drive Sedan
1931 Bugatti T51 Dubos Coupe
1931 Daimler 50 Double Six Royal Limousine
1932 Cadillac 452B Deluxe Sport Phaeton
1932 Ford Hot Rod with Corvette Engine
1932 Ford Roadster (Highboy)
1932 Lincoln Series 231 KB Coupe
1932 Maybach Zeppelin DS8 Cabriolet by Spohn
1932 Pierce-Arrow Model 52 Sedan
1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Croydon Victoria by Brewster
1933 American Austin Coupe
1933 Duesenberg SJ Arlington Torpedo Sedan Murphy Rollston&Co. "20Grand"
1933 Hispano-Suiza J12 Coupe de Ville by Binder
1933 Pierce-Arrow 1247 Convertible Sedan
1933 Pierce-Arrow Model 1242 7-Passenger Touring
1934 Duesenberg J Dual-Cowl Phaeton by Murphy
1934 Ford Deluxe Roadster (710)
1934 Packard 1108 LeBaron Phaeton "Hussy"
1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Convertible by Dietrich
1936 Hubmobile The Six-Series 618G 6-Passenger 4-Door Sedan
1936 Pierce-Arrow Imperial Salon Limousine
1937 Cadillac Series 90 Aero-Dynamic Coupe
1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan
1937 Graham Cavalier Series 95 Sedan
1937 Packard 1507 Twelve 15th Series Club Sedan
1937 Pierce-Arrow 1702 Enclosed Drive Limousine with Caravan
1937 Talbot-Lago T1500 C-SS Teardrop by Figoni&Falaschi
1941 Packard 1907 Custom Super 8 Sport Sedan
1948 MG TC
1948 Tucker Model 48 Sedan
1950 Mercury Fully Custom Coupe
1951 Bentley Mark VI 4.5 Litre Coupe de Ville by Franay
1952 Hudson Hornet Twin-H Convertible Brougham
1956 Packard Caribbean Convertile