The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, located in the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg area of west central Florida, features a unique collection of vintage cars and vehicles that demonstrate special creativity and imagination in their history and engineering. They include pioneering front wheel drive and rear engine cars from the 1920’s and 1930’s, and each vehicle was chosen based on the engineering achievements that made it an important part of the evolution of the automobile. These are the cars that set the standards for the engineering of automobiles today. Visitors enjoy a provocative blend of art and science in 12,000 square feet of gallery space.
Featured automobiles include Tracta, Citroën, Panhard and Voisin (France); Tatra and Aero (Czechoslovakia); DKW, Auto Union and Mercedes (Germany); Alvis, Allard and BSA (England): DeLorean (Ireland), and Willys Knight and Ruxton (USA). A special feature at the Museum is the world’s only faithful replica of the French 1770 Fardier de Cugnot, the world’s first self-propelled vehicle.
The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum opened to the public on March 19, 2005. It is located in Pinellas County, Florida, home of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, and just a short drive from Tampa. The museum is adjacent to the parent company, Polypack, a manufacturer of automatic packaging machinery. The owner of Polypack and the collection housed by the museum is Alain Cerf. Following is an introduction by Mr. Cerf.
Polypack, Inc. designs and manufactures automatic packaging machinery. This is a technical activity based upon research and innovation. Behind any machine, robot, computer or automobile stands a human being. His or her ability to create and give life – albeit a very limited artificial life – to useful equipment will lead to the development of material progress.
I was born in France and bought my first “vintage car” out of necessity in the 1950’s when a car such as a Talbot, Delahaye or Darl’ Mat was less expensive than a modern “people’s car”. I loved those classics and one after another, after good service, they were garaged, waiting for better years. Tatra cars from Czechoslovakia became another interest. I was intrigued by technology and styling that could almost have come from outer space. The idea of a collection based upon avant-garde automobile technology grew stronger every day.
Tatra and its engineer, Hans Ledwinka, symbolize the rear – engine technology; front wheel drive engineering was the obvious counterpoint with its great apostle Jean Albert Gregoire. They are the Yin and Yang of automobile technology. In the course of our research, we discovered more creative engineers, some of whom are unknown to the public at large. The names include Jaray, Muller, Porsche, Rasmussen and Rohr.
We hope you will enjoy our collection at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum while discovering the great engineers who designed and built these innovative cars. Welcome to Polypack’s tribute to creativity and imagination.
Alain A. Cerf