America On Wheels Museum Turns 4 With “Cars that Were Stars”

Apr 3rd, 2012Press Release from America On Wheels Museum


For More Information:

Linda Merkel, Executive Director
America On Wheels Museum
5 North Front Street
Allentown, PA  18102
610.432.4200 x11; gro.sleehwnoaciremanull@rotcerid
cell:  610.653.6464

America On Wheels Museum Turns 4

With “Cars that Were Stars


Allentown, PA March 30, 2012 – What do The Muppets, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Blob and Betty Davis have in common?  They are part of the Hollywood film and TV culture that will soon descend upon America On Wheels.   All were associated with famous cars that once had their “names in lights” and now itching to go on display again during the Museum’s Grand Opening of its new exhibit, “Cars That Were Stars” debuting April 14th and 15th.

Arriving from destinations all over America, and looking their best, this grand grouping of celebrated vehicles will now take center stage at America On Wheels.  Each famed vehicle left its mark of remembrance in either the movies or on television shows.   The six month exhibit will showcase the following marquee of “shiny metal” talent:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car  

– Muppet Car from “The Muppet Movie”

– Austin Powers’ 1998 VW Beetle

– “Fast and Furious 2” Honda S2000

– David Lee Roth’s 1951 Mercury seen in “California Girls” video

– Ernie’s Taxi from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

– 1940 Ford Coup from “The Blob”

– “Nelly Belle” TV Jeep seen on Roy Rogers Show

– Betty Davis Buick “Woody” Warner Bros. recognition gift car

– Rick Nelson 1932 Ford Hot Rod (cruising into AOW in July)

In addition to the new “Star” cars making their grand entrance into America On Wheels, the Museum is also showcasing other film/TV vehicles, presently on display including a 1948 Tucker, Torpedo, No. 1013. This car was featured in the 1988 Tucker-The Man and His Dream.  The 1909 Marsh Metz, once owned by Steve McQueen, will also be on display.

According to Linda Merkel, Executive Director, “Museums are community treasures. Our Changing Gallery showcases a themed exhibit which provides our visitors an opportunity to go back in time and view historical and rare vehicles in all their grandeur.  Changing the theme every six months has truly increased repeat visitation as there is always some new to see and enjoy.”


“Star Cars” On Display:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car– The 1968 film with the same name was written by several writers including Ian Flemming of James Bond fame and starred Dick Van Dyke about an amazing flying car.

Muppet Car – Jim Henson’s “The Muppet Movie” from 1979 was the first in a series of live-action musical Muppet feature films.  Henson used several classic cars in his first film but the most  famous was a pair of psychedelic painted 1951Studebaker Commander Coupes, one of which is coming to America On Wheels.

Austin Powers Car –  On display will be the custom made 1998 Volkswagen Beetle, featured in the movie ‘Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me.”  Oh baby!

“Fast and Furious 2” 2001 Honda S2000 –  This striking hot pink custom Honda roadster was driven by street racer, “Suki,” the only named female racer in the 2003 sequel film.

David Lee Roth 1951 Mercury – extensively modified 1951 Mercury was featured in David Lee Roth’s California Girls video, which was nominated for Best Video at the 1985 MTV awards.

Ernie’s Taxi from “It’s A Wonderful Life” –  Yes, straight from Bedford Falls to America On Wheels comes the famous taxi driven by “Ernie” in the renowned Christmas film directed by Frank Capra and recognized as one of the best American films ever made!

“The Blob” 1940 Ford V8 De Luxe Coupe – This 1958 Sci-Fi thriller was Steve McQueen’s debut film and also starred Aneta Corsaut, “Helen” on The Andy Griffith Show.  Three friends of “Steve Andrews” (McQueen) are seen in numerous scenes cruising around town in a 1940 hot rod (Ford V8 De Luxe Coupe).

Famous Jeep “Nelly Belle” from Roy Rogers TV Show –  Driven on the television series from 1951-57 by Roger’s sidekick, actor, Pat Brady who made the famed  jeep “Nellie Bell” a household word with his catch phrase while trying to stop the vehicle—“Whooaa, Nellie Bell.”

Betty Davis Buick “Woody Wagon” – The 1942 Buick Roadmaster 49 super woody Estate Wagon was originally purchased by Warner Bros. studios in Hollywood for use in several motion pictures, including ‘Now, Voyager’ and ‘White Heat.’  It was widely known as the ‘Bette Davis Buick,’ the vehicle – with a Burgundy exterior and matching interior – was gifted by Warner Bros. to Bette Davis. This famous Super is now owned by jeweler and Buick collector Nicola Bulgari.  The famous “Woody” has only 37,471 original miles!

Rick Nelson 1932 Ford Hot Rod – The 1932 Ford is the holy grail of hot rods. Better known as “the Deuce,” it’s the car every hot-rodder wants.  1950s singer, heart throb, Ricky Nelson drove a ’32 roadster on the Ozzie and Harriet television show

Weekend anniversary festivities include a Slot Car Show & Swap with vendors on site, children’s activities, ice novelties and more. Leader of the Pack, Megatron Truck (from the movie Transformers) will be parked at America On Wheels during the anniversary weekend on loan from Mack Trucks. The new art exhibit will also debut “Automobile Design in the Golden Age: The Career and Works of Theodore W. Pietsch 11 from April 14 through June 25th.  Over 30 works will be on display from Mr. Pietsch’s long career, including some never-before-shown designs from his time with Studebaker. This exhibit is made possible by Frederic Sharf who is a well-known collector, scholar and author.  The Annual Bulldog Beauty Contest will be held on Sunday, April 15th from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

America On Wheels is located at 5 North Front Street, Allentown and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.  Tickets prices are $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors and students ages 6 to 16 are $3.50.  Children under 5 are FREE. Visit for information.

America On Wheels is a Lehigh Valley Museum treasuring the history, culture and social impact of the transportation industry.


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