The Classics: Tampa Bay Automobile Museum

imageThe Tampa Bay Automobile Museum showcases some of the most beautiful, innovative, and most influential cars in automotive history. Every car in the museum is an important piece of history, each possessing its own distinct qualities. The following pictures don’t do the massive collection justice. Only a few cars were included in this post, although that does not mean the rest of the collection is any less precious. Enjoy.

1953 Talbot Lago T15 Ql6

The 1953 Talbot Lago T15 Ql6 features the traditional lines of the era, however under the hood is a rather innovative power plant. The hemispherical 6 cylinder engine puts out 120 horsepower and displaces 2.7 liters.


Peugeot Darl’Mat

This exquisitely styled Peugeot, made from 1934 to 1939, was originally purchased from a police auction for $150 dollars. The car came in coupe, and roadster body styles. A racing version was also made.


Panhard Dynamic

The beautifully styled Panhard Dynamic was made from 1936 to 1939 and featured unibody construction. Under its smooth and innovative styling the Dynamic features a state-of-the-art six cylinder and an independent front suspension. Only 2,581 were made.


1956 Claveau 56

The gorgeous Claveau 56 was a prototype designed by Emile Claveau. It featured a two-stroke, three cylinder, gasoline engine that powered the front wheels. As with many other of Claveau’s creations, the 56’s styling is very innovative for the time, with a steeply raked back windshield and a smooth profile. The Claveau 56 was originally shown at the 1956 Paris Auto Show.


Hanomag Komissbrot

The Hanomag company in Germany, known for it’s engines and locomotives, built the rear engined Komissbrot. Originally designed by two inexperienced automotive designers, 1,600 were made from 1925 to 1928.


1965 Ford Mustang With Ferguson All Wheel Drive

There is more than meets the eye with this 289 cubic inch V8 equipped Mustang. It features all wheel drive, ABS, an automatic transmission, and was made for only three years.


Citroen 2cv

The odd-looking 2cv was produced in France from 1949 to 1990. It features a two-cylinder, four stroke engine. Early models produced only eight horsepower, however the 2cv could achieve 50 miles to the gallon. About five million were made during its 41 year production run.


CGE Gregoire Electric

The little CGE Gregoire electric prototype was first produced in 1970. Even with a fiberglass body it weighed 2,000 pounds, 1,000 of those pounds belonged to the tremendous amount of batteries used. An electric motor drove the rear wheels, and at a speed of forty miles an hour the car could achieve a range of forty miles.



The Type 82 Kumbelwagon had been designed to be the German army’s version of the Jeep. Based on the Type 1 “Beetle” running gear, the Type 82 featured an air-cooled, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine and a torsion bar front suspension. The Kumbelwagon was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and his son as a recreational vehicle, however the vehicle was modified for military use during World War II.


NSU Ro80

Introduced in 1967, the sleek and innovative Ro80 really does not look its age, thanks to its neat and clean styling, although the real surprise is under the rear hinged hood, where amidst the jungle of wires, is a one liter rotary engine putting out 113 horsepower. Unfortunately, the car was plagued by problems from it’s unreliable engine. It was not uncommon for owners to go through multiple engines while the car was still under warranty.


Cord 812

In a dark corner of the museum their lies a piece of fantastic automotive engineering and design. The sumptuous styling of the Cord 812 is simply ageless, with its retractable headlamps, bulbous front fenders, and subtle grill. Under the hood is a Lycoming V8. This particular model has a supercharger allowing the engine to produce roughly 195 horsepower, while the standard model produces 125 horsepower. This engine was mated to a preselect automatic transmission that allowed for gears to be selected before the actual gear change. Reliability problems cut the Cord’s life short: only 4,000 were produced from 1936 to 1937.


Tatra T97

Tatra, a czechoslovakian company, is known for its unique rear engined vehicles. The compact T97 was first introduced in 1938. After Czechoslovakia was invaded by Germany, Hitler ceased production of the T97 because of its similarities to the KDF-Wagon, also known as the Beetle.


Tracta A

The Tracta A, made in France, was first made in 1929 to race at Le Mans. In 1929, it placed first in its class, and placed seventh overall. Powered by a four cylinder engine joined with a four speed transmission, the car could achieve 90 miles an hour. It raced from 1929 to 1930.



The unusual Ruxton was a front wheel drive car made from 1929 to 1930. It features slim looking headlamps that really add its distinctive look, but with this prototypes multicolored paint job, this car cannot be mistaken for anything else.


Alvis Model F.D. 12/75

The Alvis featured a supercharged 1.5 liter four cylinder and an aluminum body and frame. It was made in Great Britain in 1928.

imageFardier De Cugnot

The Fardier de Cugnot can really be considered one of the first automobiles, but can be more aptly described as the first self-propelled vehicle. It was made in 1770 and was designed by Joseph-Nicolas Cugnot featured an early steam engine that could allow the vehicle to tow five tons, more than some of today’s pickup trucks. The example shown is a working replica of the original which is currently housed Conservatoire de Arts et Metiers in Paris.



Quick Overview: 2014 Fiat 500L

Fiat 500L Trekking shown

Fiat’s second entry into the U.S market since their recent comeback sure looks promising. On paper, thanks to its unique looks, fuel-efficient engine and spacious, versatile interior, Fiat’s latest iteration of the beloved 500 should be a hit. If only it was also promising in the real world. Outside, the 500L looks like a bloated 500, and is a rather poor adaptation of the 500’s classic styling. However, it is unique and greatly stands out among some of its bland and boring CUV competitors. The front end is familiar, with two elliptical headlights, and turn signals below. Between the headlights is a chrome strip, with the Fiat logo residing at the center. The front fascia has a stepped look to it, and below the turn signals, is a thin grill. At the bottom of the bumper is a large, rounded, rectangular grill in which a black, plastic bar runs across. The fog lamps sit just underneath. The side profile is certainly different, with large windows all around, including front and rear quarter windows, nearly eliminating visibility issues. Toward the bottom of the doors is a chrome strip, running along the side between the pronounced fenders. The rear features tail lights that are elliptical in shape, and a rear bumper with a protective black plastic insert. The interior is extremely airy and spacious. Headroom seems so plentiful, you may be able to wear a sombrero in the little Fiat, leg room is also generous in both the front and back. Seats are very comfortable and supportive. Interior appearance is also another strong point. Everything in the interior is of a rounded shape, including a large body colored insert that mimics that of the regular 500. Controls are easy to reach, and the interior has a generally ergonomic layout. In the back is a respectable 23.1 cubic feet of cargo space, more than enough for the daily shopping expedition. Unfortunately, the interior of the 500L also features the same style gauge cluster as its smaller sibling, where the gauges sit on top of each other, making them difficult to read. The quality of the interior plastics is appalling, the dashboard and door panels feel cheap and hard. There are only a few areas where the plastics and craftsmanship of the interior are satisfactory. Under the hood is a 1.4 liter MultiAir turbo charged four cylinder, putting out 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine is also found in the 500 Abarth and the Dodge Dart. Acceleration to 60 comes in 9.1 seconds, and cornering has been said to be sporty and enthusiastic. Fuel mileage is very good, at 24 mpg city, and 33 mpg highway. Equipped with the manual transmission, the car achieves 25 mpg city. Pricing is an area, besides interior quality, where the Fiat is a letdown. The base Pop starts at $19,900, and it only comes with a six speed manual. ¬†However, it does come equipped with a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and heated rear view mirrors. The next model is the $20,195 Easy, which adds features such as aluminum wheels and a six speed automatic. Next is the Trekking model, which features a unique front and rear¬†fascia and body side cladding, supposedly creating a rugged look. It starts at $21,195. The top of the line Lounge model, priced at $24,195, adds chrome body accenting and an optional sunroof among other features. The Fiat 500L does not make as much sense to purchase as certain competitors. Although cheaper than the Mini Countryman, it does not have the value pricing that competition such as the Kia Soul and Scion Xb posses.