Aug 06 2011

Then & Now: Long Island Automotive Museum

Although the Long Island Automotive Museum in Southampton closed and abandoned over 30 years ago, most of the museum's buildings are still standing. Here is a "Then & Now" with recent "Now" photos and many "Then" images from the collection of Walter McCarthy:

Then: 1948


Austin Clark, Jr. and friends at the opening day ceremony on August 27, 1948.

Although the Long Island Automotive Museum in Southampton closed and abandoned almost 30 years ago, most of the museum's buildings are still standing. Here is a "Then & Now" with many "Then" images from the collection of Walter McCarthy, a friend of Henry Austin Clark, Jr., and recently submitted "Now" photos:

Then: 1952


Henry Austin Clark, Jr. in front of the museum.

Then: 1992


The museum in 1992 after closing 12 years earlier.

Now: 2011


Mother Nature has taken over the front entrance of museum which can no longer be seen from the road.


Remnants of the museum signage on the front facade still remain.

Then: 1950s


The Sandy Hollow Fire Department building.

Now: 2011


The same building today.

Now: 2011



Other remaining buildings.

Then: 1978


Inside the Long Island Automotive Museum during a 1978 auction. Click on the photo to enlarge it. Frank Wemple and Walt Gosden both believe the woman on the far right was author Beverly Rae Kimes.

Now: 2011


Same view today...but, sadly, missing the exhibits, cars and people.

Then: 1952


The sign at the entrance to the museum.

Then: 2008


The sign was battered but was still on site three years ago.

Then: 1980s Aerial


Aerial view of the museum looking west.

Now: 2011 Google Earth Aerial


An aerial of the site of the museum today.

Film “The Long Island Automotive Museum”

Links to other posts on the Long Island Automotive Museum on

Archives: Long Island Automotive Museum

Archives: Postcards from the Long Island Automotive Museum

Archives: Then and Now- Long Island Motor Parkway

Archives: Then and Now- Vanderbilt Cup Races

Index: Archives on

Weather permitting, hear the Black Beast Roar on the Motor Parkway from Hauppauge to Lake Ronkokoma Today:

First Annual Motor Parkway “Sunday Drive to Lake Ronkonkoma” Parade and Car Show -Sunday, August 7, 2011


Aug 07 2011 Arthur M 12:20 AM

Howard, I remember going to a great party and tour of the museum in the mid ‘60s when it was alive and well. We were racing at the Bridge and we were invited over. It was a spectacular museum.


Aug 07 2011 Rog Patterson 5:27 AM

Thanks for sharing 1951 Bridgehampton race film, Howard. My new wife and I attended to cheer for Jim Stiles, who won his first ever event driving an MG TC in the novice race after passing Fritz Koster’s HRG during the final lap. Believe I saw a few glimpses of his car in this film, so will re-run a few more times.

Lost track of Jim and have been searching theIinternet for years…no luck so far.

Thanks again!


Aug 07 2011 Roberto M Rodriguez 9:51 AM

Seeing you extraordinary now photos… I can’t help thinking, there for the grace of God… The same thing came so close to happening with the Seal Cove Auto Museum and Richard Paine’s collection. So many great museums and collectors from the past now gone. I think of this daily as I look at our Knox and Thomas Flyer from Henry Austin Clark, Jr’s collection, the American Victoria Underslung from Briggs Cunningham’s museum, the F.R.P. from Harrah’s and the Peugeot from James Melton’s Autorama. Do hope you can come for a visit.

Aug 07 2011 Howard Kroplick 6:11 PM

From Frank W:

“Thanks for posting more pictures of the old museum.  The one I really want to see is the one of the inside during the 1978 auction which I attended.  However, there’s a problem with the link and I can’t open it. 
Many thanks!

I can’t believe how overgrown the site has become.  I have always wondered why the family didn’t sell the land when real estate prices were up.”

Aug 07 2011 Howard Kroplick 6:11 PM


Link has been fixed. Thanks!


Aug 07 2011 Howard Kroplick 11:17 PM

From East Gandel:

A lot of people remember Austin Clark, and I remember him well as a board member of BRRC, Bridgehampton Road Races Corp., who ran the street races 1949-53 and built the race circuit in 1954-5. My group, Bridgehampton Racing Group, leased the track from them in 1971 and ran it until 1984. They were our “landlords” and were happy to see someone else keeping it alive.

Austin had the biggest private automotive library (in his own home) I’ve ever seen. There are some of his cars in OwlsHead, Maine. Other BRRC members included BJ Corrigan, Alfred Momo, and Hewlett Treadwell. Thanks for the memories. And don’t forget our Rally October 1! There are some people out here who haven’t yet had a ride in The Beast.

Aug 08 2011 Harry C. Reynolds 10:17 AM

Howard-  Just a note to thank you for your always interesting blog.  It brightens my day.
            Harry C. Reynolds

Aug 08 2011 Howard Kroplick 5:18 PM

From Millie M:

“Hi Howard, Great Pix! Why was the museum closed? 
best regards,

Aug 08 2011 Howard Kroplick 5:21 PM

Thanks everyone for all the the LIAM comments and memories!

Millie, like most museums, it was difficult to turn a profit.


Aug 08 2011 Howard Kroplick 5:22 PM

From Lou K:

“Just viewed the then & now pictures and film about The L.I.Automotive Museum. I enjoyed the trip back but not the ‘now’ journey. Do you know what exactly happened that allowed such decay to occur? Did the proprietor pass away ? Who owns the land now?

I enjoy your letters every week.”

Aug 08 2011 Howard Kroplick 5:24 PM

Hi Lou:

I believe the property is still owned by the Clark family. Due to zoning problems, the property has not been developed since it closed over 30 years ago.


Aug 09 2011 stevel 8:41 PM

thank you so much for this artical. brings back so much. One of the first things my family saw after moving to the Island in 1962 was stop at the LIAM on the ride to Montauk.How well I remember the Flyer,the Jolly Fiat and especially the little baby blue Bugatti that looked like it just pulled in with it’s dust and worn,cracked leather.Once we even saw a little mouse scurry across the floorboard of that Bug!We went there as a family an I continued with my family when I raced at Bridge.One day it was closed an it was like a death.Probably made me the car nut I am today.Always got a kick ‘cause we lived on Sandy Hollow Rd(in Northport).Anyone know where the Bug went?

Aug 09 2011 Jeffrey Notarbartolo 9:09 PM

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.  Thinking back to my childhood when my family visited the museum in the mid sixties made me realize the influence the museum had in my life.  It fostered a real love in me for the automobile and its history.  How sad that this Long Island treasure has been lost these thirty years.
Jeff Notarbartolo

Aug 19 2011 Howard Kroplick 12:06 PM

From Richard W:

“I look forward to the info you send out….the video of the Long Island Automotive Museum was both sad and uplifting at the same time…...I fear that America’s infatuation/ love affair with the automobile is waning…...I try to instill the wonder of the auto in my kids, but…..... I have a fully restored 1930 Model A Ford Cabriolet and an unrestored 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe 4 door edan that was owned by my grandfather…...absolutely beautifully engineered vehicles with personality. I look forward to your next newsletter!”

Jan 18 2012 Larry Boyd 8:45 PM

Since I was a boy, I wanted to visit Henry Austin Clark Jr’s Long Island Automobile Museum, but it was a long way to there from Middle Tennessee.  One of the reasons, of course, is the we love antique automobiles.  The other important reason I wanted visit there:  My uncles’ and dad’s names were Henry, Austin, Clark, and (F.C.) Jr. !  So, I felt an emotional attachment to this great museum and man who I never got to see in person.  I like to think that Henry Austin Clark Jr. and my uncle Henry, dad Austin, uncle Clark, and uncle Jr. finally got together in Heaven and had a good laugh about their common names and love of the old cars.

Jan 18 2012 Howard Kroplick 9:56 PM

Hi Larry:

Thanks for the memory. Much appreciated!!


Oct 14 2012 SAMMY 6:30 PM

Howard I remember going out to the museum when I was in my early teen’s If I’m not mistaken my Mom might still have photo’s. I’ll try to get them and see you get to share my exciting visit before I was able to drive

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