Sep 28 2009

More on the Long Island Automotive Museum

Last Friday's post on the Long Island Automotive Museum generated many memories and more questions. Here are some answers and additional photos:

First, the location: As seen on Google Maps, the museum was located near the intersection of Sebonac Road and Sunrise Highway (Route 27) in Southampton about 1/4 mile west of the Sacred Heart Cemetery. A P.C. Richard store is now located across the street from the site.

Second, the current owner of the land is unknown.

Finally, more Long Island Automotive Museum photos from 1948 to 1992 courtesy of Walter McCarthy:


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


Austin Clark with the chopper that filmed the opening day parade through Southampton.


The museum in 1952.


The museum's Fifth Avenue Coach Company bus.


The museum in 1992 after closing 12 years earlier.


Austin Clark visiting the museum site in 1992.


The site of the museum as it sadly looks today.


December 10, 2009: Walter McCarthy has provided additional photos and memorabilia from the Long Island Automotive Museum.


The invitation to the opening of the museum in 1948.


The sign at the entrance to the museum in 1952.


A napkin promoting the museum.


A museum flyer.

Thanks again Walter!


April 30, 2010 Update: The Sandy Hollow Fire Department Truck


Oct 01 2009 Tom 7:25 PM

I was told it was on about a 9 acre parcel by an RE agent. Perhaps it is still in the clark family?

Oct 04 2009 Walter Gosden 11:11 AM

I too believe the property is still in the Clark family. I had many great times at the museum with Austin (he always referred to himself as Austin, not Austie)as did Walter McCarthy. We had great lunches at John Duck’s restaurant, and were well lubricated by the time we left at the end of the day. Austin was a loyal friend and had a wicked sense of humor.

Oct 04 2009 Howard Kroplick 8:36 PM

Hi Walter:

Thanks for the insight! Much appreciated.


Oct 04 2009 George Bartunek 9:00 PM

As a kid, I always enjoyed visiting Mr. Clark’s auto collection and getting a ride on the antique fire engines through the woods at the rear of the property. Probably even more fun was the opportunity of poking through the storage buildings and the unrestored stuff stored outside. One of the cars that was relegated to the “junk yard” was a 4-cylinder Dodge Brothers sedan (?) that had the rear body removed and converted into a farm truck. As I recall, it had a 1947 license plate. I bought the Dodge from Mr. Clark for $20 and he personally delivered it to my home in Riverhead for another $25. I did manage to get it running.

Oct 09 2009 Howard Kroplick 9:27 PM

Hi George:

I appreciate another Austin Clark recollection. By the way, I have been told the Southampton property is still owned by the Clark family.


Oct 17 2009 Tmac 6:31 PM

The Long Island lesson in history, once destroyed.

Oct 17 2009 RA6T7GTO 6:32 PM

I never knew it existed sad it wasn’t kept up.

Oct 17 2009 LIMA 6:35 PM

I wonder what be done for this. Can we contact the Clark family to clean-up the overgrowth and other issues on the property and building?

Oct 17 2009 82GT 6:36 PM

I volunteer to be part of the leanup crew, I’d love to help.

Oct 17 2009 Tmac 6:41 PM

I’d help with a cleanup also and will bring my son. I think if the word went out we could get many people to help.

Oct 17 2009 Long Island63SS409 6:41 PM

This would be a major win for the Motorsports community cleaning up this prperty and reopening the building.

I would love to help.

Find out more if you can.


Oct 17 2009 Tmac 6:43 PM

I am sure it would get good press and would make a nice place to rally our efforts for LI Motorsports.

Oct 17 2009 NYMontess 6:44 PM

I’ll give a hand also.

Oct 18 2009 Craig 6:44 AM

I’ll help.

Oct 18 2009 Keith Korbut 7:34 AM

I would be willing to help. I was involved in the new museum in Springfield Ma. and I would be happy to help out.
Keith Korbut
Duryea Transportation Society

Oct 18 2009 Joseph 8:28 AM

Dear All,
Prior to cleaning up the site, Has anyone considered the consequences? My questions are 1.) is the brush “protecting” the buildings and 2.) would it invite vandalism if the building were now prominently visible? The sentiment to help preserve the site is exemplary and noble. Perhaps the best way would be to form a group and approach the owners with a plan to preserve the edifice. Then, approach the town for a tax exempt status and raise funds with matching grants from private philanthropies and the Federal/ State governments.

Oct 18 2009 jan Hyde 11:00 AM

There seems to be sufficient interest to try to resurrect this site. Finding and working with owner first priority.  Austin invited me to store and display there my 1962 Corvette ex-Frank Dominianni SCCA 1964 BP Natnl Champ #69 for several years.  When vintage racing came along we restored, prepped and raced it from 1987 to 2002. The car’s second life was as good as its first.  Car now in Midwest part of prominent Corvette collection.

Oct 18 2009 Terrence McKeever 1:16 PM

If the family were interested and the politicians cooperated do the collectors among us wish to install their vehicles there.There’s insurance concerns,security and all that goes with establishing this type of operation.I feel it is a noble cause as the concept and history of motorsports has almost brought to extinction here,but as a blue collar worker the best I can offer is my time which is limited.
I grew up in Northport and never heard of this place prior to this.
Once again thank you Howard for all you do to preserve the dream and keep alive the history.

Oct 18 2009 Ken Wiebke 1:17 PM

Jan Hyde’s comments are worth considering.  A clean up while very desirable should include some long range maintenance plans.  I would be very willing to lend a hand with a clean up and bring the activity to the attention of my fellow car club members. A restored facility would be a great destination for club events and might be a venue for occasional car shows? Can a committee be formed to explore sponsorship and necessary steps to contact owners and the town/county and possible corporate philanthropic sponsors?

Ken Wiebke

Oct 18 2009 Rob Friedman 6:11 PM

As i said on the first posting of this museum Sue and I visited Austin at the museum ages ago… and yes he and it is missed. On LI Oddities someone said that it was owned by Liberty Ironworks, who has a business about a mile east on County Road 39. Someone else here they thought it was still in the Clark family. I know Austin had property in Glen Cove at Winter Garden (or something like that). Another good point is that brought up by “joseph”
  :“Prior to cleaning up the site, Has anyone considered the consequences? My questions are 1.) is the brush “protecting” the buildings and 2.) would it invite vandalism if the building were now prominently visible? The sentiment to help preserve the site is exemplary and noble. Perhaps the best way would be to form a group and approach the owners with a plan to preserve the edifice. Then, approach the town for a tax exempt status and raise funds with matching grants from private philanthropies and the Federal/ State governments.”:

if somone wants to restore the Long Island Automotive Museum to the glory of Henry Austin clark’s time.. some modern ammenities would have to happen. Even the museum that used to be in Lancaster County (where I was thrilled to see a real Tucker 48) is gone. Somehow I dont think a Quonset Hut would be the right place.  Yes i have fond memories of there and of Austin.. but I also think someone should get the ‘rights’ to the place first.

Oct 18 2009 Walter B. 6:50 PM

I suggest you find out if the owner wants it cleaned up.  And if he does, does he want amateur help doing it.
Are you talking about the grounds or the buildings too?
Lots of questions to be answered.

Oct 18 2009 Howard Kroplick 9:49 PM

Thanks for the great response and excellent suggestions. Clearly, the first step is to locate the current owner of the property and determine if they want the area cleaned up. I have left a message for Austin Clark’s son and will report back when we make contact.



Oct 20 2009 Lee Matthews 3:49 AM

Henry Austin Clark saved many early automobiles that were left in carriage houses,barns etc. in Long Island and elsewhere in New York.  It would take a lot of $$$ and time, but I would like to see this museum preserved in memory of this pioneer car collector

Oct 21 2009 Howard Kroplick 6:12 PM

Thanks again for all the comments on the Long Island Automotive Museum.

I spoke to a representative of the Clark family today. Due to legal and insurance concerns, they do not wish to disturb the property at this time.

If the situation changes, I will let people know.


Feb 27 2010 Art K. 4:36 PM

Found this in a 1957/1958 NY Daily News Almanac and Guide to NYC in the “Scientific Museums Outstanding Exhibits” section:

Long Island Automotive Museum.
“Rt. 39, Southampton, SO 1-1880.  Open Daily, June-Sept., week ends late May, Oct., 9-5.  Adults 50 cents, children 25 cents.  Largest museum in world devoted exclusively to history of the automobile.  Henry Austin Clark, Jr. collection of 100 antique cars, trucks, fire engines, including steam, electric and gasoline models dating from 1896.

Feb 27 2010 Howard Kroplick 9:16 PM

Hi Art:
Very neat!


Jun 10 2010 William L. Palminteri 9:15 AM

I remember visiting the museum in the summer of 1964, or thereabouts, with my parents. We were returning from a trip to Montauk Point. I believe there was at least one Fiat Abarth (Red) in front, which caught my eye as we drove by, unaware of the museum. I asked ny father to turn around and investigate.
I especially remember the Adams Farwell auto powered by a radial engine. Very powerful imagery, the museum was quite an addition to my life experience, and we came upon it by accident. What a pity that the museum no longer exists.

Bill P.

Jun 14 2010 Howard Kroplick 11:36 PM

Hi Art:

Thanks for the information. Here is a link to more posts on the Long Island Automotive Museum:


Jan 15 2011 GENE MARTIN 7:32 PM

I am the first employee of Austie Clark.I worked for him before he opened the museum.Me and Norris Hopping moved the cars to the museum from many locations.If anyone wants info contact me at email. As far as I kmow the museum is still in the Clark family.

Feb 01 2012 phil Weiss 12:42 PM

We will offer at auction March 2nd 2012 material from the Henry Austin Clark Jr.‘s museum including uniforms, pennats etc.

Leave a Comment