Smithsonian to include Ford roadster

Ford Street Roadster featured in Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum selected for inclusion in New Smithsonian transportation exhibition. GLENDORA, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2003) - A Ford Street Roadster currently featured at the Wally Parks NHRA ...

Ford Street Roadster featured in Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum selected for inclusion in New Smithsonian transportation exhibition.

GLENDORA, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2003) - A Ford Street Roadster currently featured at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum has been selected for inclusion in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, and will be highlighted Thursday (Aug. 14) when officials from the Washington, D.C. museum annouce part of its new transportation exhibit during a downtown Los Angeles publicity tour. The press event will be held at the Automobile Club of Southern California headquarters (2601 S. Figueroa St.) at 11 a.m. (PT).

The new Smithsonian exhibition, "America on the Move," which offers a reminder of the inspiring role transportation has played in shaping the American landscape and society, will open to the public on Nov. 22 at the esteemed historical preserve. The Ford Street Roadster will join another vehicle with a California heritage during Thursday's press event -- a 1976 Kawasaki motorcycle used by the California Highway Patrol.

The Ford Street Roadster, one of the earliest examples of a hot rod, is owned by longtime high-performance enthusiast John Athan of Culver City, Calif., and has been featured at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum for six years. The famed '29 coupe, which was used in the 1957 film "Loving You" starring Elvis Presley, remains relatively unchanged from its early factory appearance, with only a couple of modifications.

"The Smithsonian was looking for a vintage hot rod that remains true to its originial form," said Sam Jackson, executive director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. "This one is a flat-head '29 Ford and it is prototypical of the type of car used by the earliest hot rod enthusiasts. We are very excited that the car will be one of the featured attractions in the new exhibition at the Smithsonian."

"America on the Move" will encompass nearly 26,000 square feet on the first floor of the museum, taking the place of former exhibitions in the old Road Transportation, Railroad and Civil Engineering Halls. The exhibit will have approximately 300 objects.

Located on the grounds of Los Angeles County's Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., the 28,000-square-foot Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum houses the very roots of hot rodding. Scores of famous vehicles spanning American motorsports history are on display, including winning cars representing 50 years of drag racing, alongside dry lakes and salt-flat racers, oval track challengers and exhibits describing their colorful backgrounds.

The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT). Current NHRA members are admitted free. Admission for non-members is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors 60 and older, $3 for juniors six through 15, and free for children under the age of five. The Museum also is available for private parties, meetings, corporate events, weddings and special group tours. The Parks Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. in Pomona. For additional information regarding special exhibits, museum events or directions, call 909/622-2133 or visit www.nhra.com/museum

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Series General , NHRA