Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Samsung Transportation Museum Part Six: Main Gallery – Public

After the lobby and the Focus Exhibit comes the main gallery of the Samsung Transportation Museum. While the gallery is one big room, the museum has divided the cars into five categories: public, sports, classic, Korean, and premium. The four cars in the public section are ones that were mass-produced and relatively affordable.

1923 Model T Ford
1923 Model T Ford by Kate Tompkins

This is where the mass-produced automobile began. According to Wikipedia, over its production lifetime (1908 through 1927) some 15 million Model Ts were produced by Ford. The Model T didn’t just put middle-class America on the road. It was also built in plants in Australia, South America, and Europe. The Model T had a four-cylinder engine producing 20 hp, and could do 40-45 mph, though I’d hate to try it. It got 13-21 mpg and could run on ethanol, gasoline or kerosene (gasoline was originally a waste-product from the kerosene refining process). The one in the museum appears to be a two-door coupe, but there were also four-door sedan and touring models, and also roadsters available.

1956 Volkswagen Beetle

What the Model T was to America, the Volkswagen Beetle was to postwar Germany. Its name actually means “people’s car.” Over 21 million of the original Beetles were built from 1938 to 2003. Like the Model T, it was built not just in its own home country but in plants worldwide. Ferdinand Porsche (yeah, that Porsche) had a hand in its design. While the Beetle has Nazi connections in its past (you can read the whole story on Wikipedia), it was a good and economical car, and deserves its iconic status. Besides, it’s so cute!

Seems I didn’t shoot any footage of the Beetle, probably because it’s not exactly a rare car. You can see it in this brief video clip I took of the main gallery, however.

1972 Austin Mini 1000

1972 Austin Mini 1000 by Kate Tompkins
Heh. I don’t think of the Mini as an economy car, especially now that they’re made by BMW, but I guess it was if you lived in the United Kingdom. My parents drove a Mini Cooper station wagon of about this vintage (a year or two older, but the same generation) when I was a kid and I doubt it was cheap, but then it had to be imported.
1972 Austin Mini 1000 by Kate Tompkins

I note that the picture of the Mini on the museum’s website is NOT the car in question. Nice looking car, though. Our Mini was blue like this one (apparently built for export since it’s left-hand drive) but had extra space behind the back seat. Yeah, it’s small, but if you flipped the back seat down, there was even room for my sister and me to sleep on long road trips.

1959 BMW Isetta 300

1959 BMW Isetta 300 by Kate Tompkins
Umm. I dare say it was cheap, but with only 161,728 vehicles sold over eight years (Wikipedia), I wouldn’t really consider it as something bought by the public at large. It’s really just a bike with a cover. Bet it was easy to park though and got great mileage. If you’re wondering about the lack of doors on the side, that’s because the whole front opens up. They claim it will do 53 mph. Yikes!
1959 BMW Isetta 300 by Thomas Tompkins

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