Golf carts may be the preferred means of transportation in Ohio's Put-in-Bay during the summer months, but the village lays claim as having the largest number of classic and antique vehicles per capita than anywhere else in the world.
There are over 200 vintage vehicles on South Bass Island, and the Skip Duggan Antique Car Club, founded in 2006, has more than 120 members.
I'm thinking the math here surely makes a case for the cars-per-capita claim!
I have to admit that driving my little Ford Focus made it seem like we were driving the biggest vehicle on the road at times (especially when it came to finding parking on the island!), but there are plenty of impressively large vintage vehicles on view at the Antique Car Museum in the Perry Caves attraction complex.
The museum contains the collection of Charles "Skip" Duggan, founder of the Put-in-Bay Boat Line and Jet Express ferries and a community activist who organized first antique car parades around South Bass Island on Sunday afternoons in the late 1990s.
Duggan, who died in early 2007, built his collection of cars throughout the years and organized the parades so he and other car collectors could show off and share their cars with others.
Duggan was especially fond of Ford Model Ts and Model As, and the museum collection contains several unique types of those vehicles as well as others.
The island also claims to be home to 26 Model Ts and 46 Model A cars.
The museum at the Antique Car Barn houses more than a dozen antique cars, plus lots of vintage road signs and gasoline memorabilia. There are some unusual vehicles like an old snowmobile originally built to deliver mail in Minnesota, a cherry-red popcorn truck and an ice truck purchased new by the Miller Boat Livery.
I found a brochure at the museum with a list of the antique cars housed there:
- 1915 Model T Speedster (the oldest car on the island)
- 1919 Dodge Touring Car
- 1920 Center Door Model T
- 1921 Model T Roadster
- 1924 Model T snowmobile (the one built for mail delivery in Minnesota)
- 1926 Model T tractor
- 1929 Model A Tractor
- 1929 Model A Ford Taxi (only 5,000 made)
- 1928 Model A Phaeton AR
- 1930 Willys Whippet Touring Car
- 1930 Chrysler Coupe
- 1930 Peanut Wagon
- 1930 Model A Roadster Pickup
- 1930 AA Ice Truck
- 1931 Victoria Tudor
- 1931 Model A 400 (only about 5,000 made)
The museum also has a few vintage golf carts, scooters and other examples of small, motorized vehicles used to get around the island over the years.
We visited the island during the week, so we didn't see the Sunday parade, although we did spot the occasional vintage vehicle on the island roads.
The Sunday parades run through the warmer months and generally feature 40-50 vehicles each week that include many of the cars in the museum.
The procession starts from near the Miller Boat Company's Lime Kiln Dock around 2 p.m. An antique police car, and maybe a vintage fire truck or two, typically lead off the parade, which tours the entire island and goes through downtown Put-in-Bay.
Kids can try to catch some sweets from the candy truck that usually ends the parade with a Put-in-Bay police cruiser escort bringing up the rear.
The Antique Car Museum is open daily May through September from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on weekends in April and October from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Admission is free.
Thanks to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Visitors Bureau and Miller Ferries for sponsoring my visit to Put-in-Bay, providing lodging, ferry transportation, help arranging visits to South Bass Island and Put-in-Bay attractions for my review, with no further compensation. I was free to express my own opinions about the stay and experiences, and the opinions expressed here are mine.
© Dominique King 2013 All rights reserved