Sep 25 2009

Film “The Long Island Automotive Museum”

The place to go to view vintage automobiles, race cars and trucks in the New York area soon after World War II was Austin Clark's Long Island Automotive Museum in Southampton. This amazing 5-minute film documents the opening of the museum on August 27, 1948 and a typical day at the museum in the early 1950s. The film was provided from the archives of the Long Island Old Car Club by Walter McCarthy and is being shown to the public for the very first time on .

Film Highlights include:

-Opening day on August 27, 1948

-A helicopter aerial view of a vintage automobile parade through the Hamptons

-A typical day in the 1950s

-Austin Clark driving a Sandusky truck

-Veteran Vanderbilt Cup Race driver Joe Tracy working at the museum

-What the museum looks like today


Sep 25 2009 Hugh Nutting 10:02 AM

GREAT FUN thanks for posting

Sep 26 2009 L.I.M.A. 12:01 PM

It is extremely disheartening to me to see how the motorsports history here on long island is consistently ignored, but towns spend, waste millions on a house because it was a original town hall….
  That is not history deserving of money to be thrown at it…

  The history of long island and motorsports birthplace here in the U.S.A. is constantly ignored…but when a FD or town needs money they sure know how to throw on a car show… and use the motorsports community.

Sep 26 2009 Terrence McKeever 12:32 PM

Howard, thanks again for sharing your valuable and vast knowledge of what we once had here. It’s a dam shame what has become of the motorsports legacy here on Long Island.That last picture says it all.There’s parts of this history sitting in yards right now rusting away because there is no place to put them.
Maybe someday with the efforts of guys like you,and organizations like LIMA we can get something done to reverse this great loss and revive our once rich motorsports experience here. There many museums here catering to a vast array of topics but none to the automotive field probably the one with the largest following.

Sep 28 2009 Ken Wiebke 10:23 AM

We lived in Ridgewood had a bungalow in E Hampton in the 50’s and 60 and recall as a kid seeing “old cars” when we drove past. In particular there was a 5th avenue bus displayed on one day. Regret my mom and pop never stopped to take a look. Agree w the sentiments expressed that this is part of Long Island heritage and some effort as restoration is desirable.  Beyond that in the category of “field of dreams’ can’t something be done w say the Calverton property so dirt bikes and ATV can be enjoyed w perhaps a venue for using cars like the Black Beast.
Lastly in the 1948 shots all the ordinary cars of that era would be more or less collectable today ..

Sep 29 2009 Howard Kroplick 12:36 AM

Thanks for all the good memories. Ken, here is a link to see that bus one more time:



Oct 01 2009 Tom 7:18 PM

Some great footage here! I pass it everyday. It is a shame. And wow look at all that nice open land, back all those years.

Oct 21 2009 Dave Loder 3:21 AM

As a native Long Islander I’m saddened to know this museum’s demise is apparent.

Dave Loder
Reno, Nevada

R.I.P to the glory of our automotive history’s great era on Long Island.

Jun 14 2010 Howard Kroplick 11:42 PM

Here is a link to more posts on the Long Island Automotive Museum:


Feb 24 2011 SCCutler 11:10 PM

Oh! Many were the times I visited there, and in the summer of ‘77, Mr. Clark gave me a job sorting and cataloging parts, in the warehouse, that he had purchased in the liquidation of an old parts house. I spent more time flirting with Maureen and Anne, though. What a place - and what a loss.

Apr 06 2011 Bruce A Iseman 10:00 PM

My mom and dad took me there in the late 60s.I must have been 6.I remember the older gentleman and the ride on the old fire truck. I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT WONDERFUL DAY.THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Aug 03 2011 Walter Jamieson Jr 9:58 PM

Certainly the most extraordinary car ever to have been associated with the Long Island Automobile Museum was Bugatti ch. no. 54213.  Originally a factory T.59 GP car in blue, it was later painted a striking two-tone coffee and cream. Returned to blue by English enthusiast Rodney Clarke, with full road equipment, including Atlantic-style riveted pontoon fenders, it became an iconic Bugatti, then and only then when the road equipment was added. It was photographed countless times, served as the subject for the most expensiive 1/2 scale model and was very widely known. The Long Island Autommobile Museum published a postcard of 54231 that looks like it might have been taken on or near the grounds of the Museum.  It was probably owned at the time by F. H. Luddington, who lived in the NY Metropolitan area. It went from Mr Luddington to Hans Holterbosch, also a New Yorker, who wisely kept it in its unique configuration.  A few years ago it was sold to someone in England or France who, in a misguided act of vandalism, had all the road equipment removed, thereby destroying what many considered one of the most superb of all Bugattis.

Aug 03 2011 Walter Jamieson Jr 10:08 PM

In the event that Austin Clark did own Bugatti 54213, then it went from him to Mr. Luddington.  I admit to being unsure about its ownership at the time.

Aug 06 2011 Walter Jamieson Jr 7:50 AM

The writer claims that Clark owned a Bugatti Royale, but doesn’t say which one.  He could never have owned 41100, 41121, 41131, 41141, or 41150.  The only possibility then is 41111, unless 41150 was briefly with him between Peck and Nethercutt. Did he ever really own either one, or is that just local lore combined with wishful thinking?  Does anyone out there know for sure?

Aug 07 2011 Howard Kroplick 8:07 PM

Hi Walter:

I do not know the cars that were owned by Henry Austin Clark, Jr.

I do have several of Clark’s Bugatti postcards which I will post sometime this month.


Feb 15 2013 Jeff Missinne 9:32 PM

I have a well-worn old 16mm short subject that includes scenes of the Long Island Automotive Museum.  The buildings are as they looked in the 1950’s clips shown here.  The film runs 10 minutes in black and white.
However, the titles of the film are missing and I have no idea of its true identity or who made it.  Most of the reel deals with bizarre turn-of-the-20th-century driving laws, with re-enactments involving period cars probably from the LIRR.
The film may have been made by an industrial-film outfit, or by a newsreel company like Pathe’ or Movietone.  Anyone know what it is?

Feb 15 2013 Howard Kroplick 9:44 PM

Hi Jeff, never heard of this film before. Any chance of making a DVD copy. Please contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).?

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