Cruise Through Automobile History

image: bridget shirvell

A 1950s Isetta image: bridget shirvell

Before Porsche made high-end cars, it made tractors. For farmers. One of BMW’s first automobiles was made out of a refrigerator. The door was a refrigerator door. Don’t believe me? Cruise on over to the Collector Car Showcase in Oyster Bay and see the Porsche tractor, the refrigerator car and a whole host of other cars and Americana memorabilia.

The multi-level, 18,000 square foot automotive museum on Route 106 is the first such facility to call the New York metro area home in more than 60 years. It’s the result of a lifetime of collecting by curator and owner David Jacobson and two years of remodeling, organizing and finessing.

David Jacobson and  Bobby Sands image: bridget shirvell

David Jacobson and Bobby Sands image: bridget shirvell

Step inside through the 1950s Shell gas station replica and history buffs and automobile enthusiasts will feel like a kid in candy shop. Vintage automotive advertising signs, all originals, line the walls. There are 1,100 signs in total dating back to the early 1900s.

“All original, they tell a wonderful historical story of the evolution of the country and Americana art work,” VP Director of Marketing Sands said.

image: bridget shirvell

image: bridget shirvell

Cars and motorcycles fill the floor. A 1964 GT4, loaded with all the options available at the time, including power windows, sits in pristine condition. Across the room is that refrigerator car. A 1950s Isetta, the first car model BMW made as it expanded from motorcycles to cars. The door of the car opens at the front and yes, there are four wheels. The cars being shown will rotate for different exhibits and events, ensuring that there is always something new for someone to see.

There are also gas pumps from different decades telling the story of how gas pumps evolved from the very first ones with globes that light up to advertise to clear glass ones that showed how many gallons and if it was actually gas you were getting.

image: bridget shirvell

image: Collector Car Showcase

The space itself is anything but the cold, sleek décor so popular today. Reclaimed 150-year-old wood from Vermont and handmade bricks compose the walls, a black ceiling gives a warehouse touch and 1940s shatter proof lighting complete the vintage feel. Leather lounge chairs in one corner, a small stage for jam sessions in another and a cocktail/coffee bar make it a place to come in, relax, or hold an event.

In May, the Collectors Cars Showcase held it’s first event, a comedy and cars night and the space is also available for private events that in the past three months have included a 70th birthday party and corporate events.

And that’s only the main floor.

image: bridget shirvell

image: bridget shirvell

Go downstairs and the mood changes to a bit more modern and open. This is where you’ll find that Porsche tractor as well as more than 15 other Porsches dating from 1960 to 2012. It’s another event space where sleek black high top bar tables and/or lounge chairs can be arranged in any way and two pizza ovens sit ready to use.

“It’s a museum, event space, an ever-evolving unique entity,” Sands said.

See for yourself:
Collector Car Showcase
85 Pine Hollow Road
Oyster Bay, NY 11771
Hours: Tuesdays-Fridays 10am-4pm, Saturdays 10am-6pm