While the chill of fall may be hitting parts of the world, we are still in full summer mode in Southern California. Last weekend, under toasty 90 degree skies, we enjoyed a weekend picnicking and viewing utterly gorgeous cars. The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, never ones to miss up an opportunity to tour unique places, arranged a tour for our group to view The Nethercutt Collection.
Before the tour, we gathered in a park to enjoy a nice picnic in the shade. The picnic was a warm, sociable get together before the Nethercutt tour. With an ukulele sing-along, homemade ice cream sandwiches, vintage sodas, and lovely company, it was a nice lead in to the thankfully air-conditioned tour of the Nethercutt Collection.
The Nethercutt’s, who founded Merle Norman Cosmetics, displayed a fondness for classic autos early on and soon their restorations were winning concours d’elegance at Pebble Beach and beyond. Not ones to keep their treasures to themselves, they opened the Nethercutt Collection, and the Nethercutt Museum across the street, for the public to enjoy their gorgeous acquisitions. And they share them for free. There is no fee, though you do need a reservation to tour the Collection. The Collection includes not only cars, but mechanical musical instruments as well. Everything in the Collection is in working order. The cars are driven, the instruments are played. Nothing collects dust, except maybe the hood ornament collection.
The salon for the autos is recreated to resemble a car showroom of the deco era. Nothing is faux. The marble is real, the gold leaf is real. Everything is pristine and sparkling. And the cars, goodness did I mention the cars. Utterly divine in their brilliance, color and lines. It was nice to see the Nethercutts didn’t just purchase pristine cars for their collection. They found old, rusted cars in barns that would have rotted away and had them restored to immaculate condition. In fact, they are still purchasing cars and restoring them on site today.
I love the attention to detail and decorative detailing that used to go into cars.
Upstairs lies the mechanical musical instrument rooms. First are the smaller instruments, that they play for you so you can hear them in their glory. However, most impressively, once you glide up the musical, spiral stairway you come to the room with the European orchestrions and nickelodeons. These are orchestras in a box, so to speak. And they are not just lovely pieces of art to look at. They are divine to hear, and hear them you do, as they played several of them for us. Not to be outdone, however, the Wurlitzer organ finished the tour with several pieces played from its 5,000 pipes that surround you. It was a magical afternoon that I can’t wait to do again.
If only we had time to go across the street to see the Nethercutt Museum and locomotive display, I would have so much more to show you, but that may have to wait till another time. Until then, go there yourselves. You will be in amazement that such beauty was created and collected together for you to enjoy.