Friday, January 12, 2007

The Nethercutt Collection

"The recognition and preservation of beauty has been a major focus of my life, it would suit me well if what people remembered about me was 'Where he went he left beauty behind.'" - J.B. Nethercutt

Merle Norman Cosmetics co-founder J. B. Nethercutt had a passion for beauty of many kinds. Fortunately for us, his interests extended beyond cosmetics. One of his greatest passions happened to be for beautiful antique, classic, and vintage U.S. and European cars.

The recently opened Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, California stands as testament to his passion. It is an amazing place for vintage car lovers to view one of the finest collections of U.S. and European concourse-ready automobiles, all restored to exacting standards. The collection includes Rolls-Royce, Pierce-Arrow, Packard, and Duesenberg cars as well as many other marques. The automobiles are lavishly displayed on marble floors, under glowing chandaliers, between amber classical columns, and in an order and manner that accentuates the historical significance of each automobile.

The museum boasts one of the finest restoration shops in the world whose work wins concourse prizes on a regular basis. Most recently, their 1930 Ruxton Sedan was voted "Dual Winner" at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and their 1930 Cord L-29 Town Car won the "Most Elegant Award" at the Concours d’Elegance in Palos Verdes, California.

Surprisingly, there is much more to see than cars at the Nethercutt. The collections include a horde of music boxes the likes of which Louis IV would be impressed. Ask to hear them, and your wish just might be granted by the museum staff. There is also a musical instrument collection featuring musical pocket watches, phonograph players, pianos and one gigantic Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ - acording to the museum "one of the world's largest and most powerful." All pieces are restored to the same exacting standards as the cars.

Recent acquisitions include a 1912 Pullman Railcar and a Canadian Royal Hudson locomotive steam engine.

Admission is, amazingly, free of charge but requires reservation far in advance. Dress code (slacks, no shorts or jeans, etc.) is enforced. Children under 12 years of age are not admitted. Visit The Nethercutt Collection Online for hours of operation, reservation details and contacts.

Route from Bakersfield

From: Saunders Park in Bakersfield 93309
To: Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar 91342
Drive: 88.0 mi (about 1 hour 25 mins)
  1. Head south on Real Rd toward the CA-58 Bakersfield Tehachapi Freeway 0.5 mi
  2. Take the ramp onto CA-99 S 25.6 mi
  3. Merge onto I-5 S 58.6 mi
  4. Take the San Fernando Rd exit 161B to Balboa Blvd 0.5 mi
  5. Turn right at San Fernando Rd 2.7 mi
  6. Turn left at Bledsoe St 0.2 mi
  7. Arrive at The Nethercutt Collection Museums, 15151 Bledsoe St. Sylmar, CA 91342
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