Yesterday, for a nice break from the Southwest Florida summer heat, I took a trip to the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. Located across the street from the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and very close to the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, the museum is a convenient Sarasota indoor attraction. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the waving arm of their sign and the enticing classic cars (for sale) outside. Inside I found the immediate relief of cool air and even cooler cars. The foyer of the museum contains a few classic cars and a handful of other antiques; everything from Singer sewing machines and old cameras to a classic 1900s piano that you can actually play.
Walking further back, I came across one of the older cars in the museum- a 1905 Schacht, a car that, in my opinion, looks more like a stagecoach than something with an engine. To the left, I found similar makes and models from the early 1900s, the prettiest of which was the 1912 Ford T Torpedo Roadster (pearl white with red leather seats). As the cars jump a few years in age my eye was caught by a 1972 Mini Cooper (the original Italian made car). With lime green body paint and purple racing stripes, I could see myself racing through narrow streets across the UK and the European continent. Immediately adjacent are two cars with serious pop culture significance. The first is the navy blue 1965 Mercedes Benz 230SL owned by John Lennon (of Beatles fame, naturally). The second is the cream colored 1979 Mercedes Benz 300TD, John Lennon’s last vehicle. Interestingly, the first car is built out to English driving specifications while the latter, driven in America, is in its original German made form.
The next two cars, belonging to John and Mable Ringling, have found a fitting home so close to the roads they once drove on. John sports a 1920s Rolls Royce while Mable drives the smaller 1923 Pierce Arrow Touring Car. From this point on in the Museum, the cars get faster and flashier as they shift in age to the 1950s and beyond. The room adjoining the main area contains cars you can get up close and personal with, as well as motorcycles, pinball machines, and even a scuba-submarine vessel! The muscle cars of my parent’s generation, the large sedans of the generation preceding and even the racing cars of the ‘90s to present can all be found here. From Ferraris to Fords and even obscure finds like the Delorean to the never released Iso Rivolta Varedo, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum is sure to please!
The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located directly across from the Ringling Museum of Art on the northeast corner of US 41/Tamiami Trail and University Parkway in Sarasota, Florida.