Crawford Auto Aviation Museum is located in the University Circle which is full of cultural icons like the Botanical Gardens, and Cleveland Museum of Art, and educational institutions like the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland institute of Music and Case Western Reserve. The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum was founded and opened in 1965 by industrialist Frederick C. Crawford. The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum has a heavy collection of cars which were built in Cleveland between 1898 to 1931.
Panhard et Levassor of 1897 is the oldest car in the collection and Chrylsler Pt Cruiser concept coupe of 2004 is the most modern car in the collection. The museum has 34 cars that are more than 100 years old which is the largest collection in the world. The last passenger car made in Cleveland by Frank Hershey named as Aluminium bodied prototype Peerless of 1932 is one of the rarest cars in the collection.
The museum has a set of stainless steel cars named as, a 1966 Lincoln Continental, a 1960 Ford Thunderbird, and a 1936 Ford Deluxe. The speciality of the stainless cars is that they were guaranteed not to burst, rust or collect dust. Ford built those cars specifically for their suppliers of stainless steel of Pennsylvania.
Crawford explained that he started collecting the cars because it is a shame to see a car getting scraped. His foresight of seeing the value of saving cars which can be historically significant examples became conventional wisdom.
The stories related with the cars in the museum, makes it a historical site stand. The director of the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, Allan Unrein is a great storyteller and clearly loves his work. The cars in the museum has a brief written history which helps to identify them, but getting a chance to hear the stories from Allan Unrein makes a visit to the museum more than just a car show.
The story of 1911 “Hupmobile” is the most unusual story of all the colourful car stories of Craward. In 1910, two employees of Hupp factory and a Press Reporter from Detroit take off in this ordinary car and returned after 18 months by travelling a distance of 48,600 miles visiting 26 countries across the globe without any road maps, motels or gas stations. They carried everything with them they needed. The vehicle has “world touring” painted on its side in Japanese and Chinese characters. The Hupp factory kept the vehicle on display till 1946 and then donated it to Crawford Auto Aviation Museum.
However, the aviation portion of the museum is much smaller. Some of the aircrafts on the display are Great Lakes 2T-1A Sport Trainer of 1929, Curtiss Model E Bumblebee of 1910, Wedell-Williams Model 44 of 1932, Gee Bee R-1 replica of 1932.