Whilst in Northern California last week, I found I had some time to indulge in one of my favourite activities: visiting the Blackhawk Auto Museum. This hidden gem is in Danville, an hour or so out of San Francisco just north of Silicon Valley. I try and visit whenever I am nearby which is usually once or twice a year.
The museum usually has two levels of cars and smaller exhibits on the ground floor – with several classics to drool over as you enter. Downstairs are some old fuel bowsers that show the art deco and design of the old fuelling systems that make today’s bowsers look positively boring! This time, however, the upper deck was replaced by a historical display discussing the “Wild West” and how the world of the local inhabitants changed dramatically in the 19th Century.
Most of the cars were in storage but they did have a nice selection of Ferrari, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and the Alfa Romeo BAT cars. For me the museum is special because it houses prototypes, one-off cars and very limited build cars. For example, a James Young bodied Rolls Royce that was 50% of the production run – i.e. only 2 were made! The curators clearly like European cars with some special edition American cars thrown in for balance. Notably, not many Japanese cars are ever on show.