Typically, time capsules are buried deep in a hole for a future generation to uncover. However, one large capsule has sat in plain sight in Mount Dora for 14 years.
On a non-descript corner in this small Central Florida town is a vault of memories where dreams are meticulously stored. Stepping inside Mount Dora's Museum of Speed uncovers an extraordinary collection of spotless dream cars, as well as perfectly staged vintage vignettes of the time period they represent.
The 7,000 square foot museum was the brainchild of Mount Dora residents, Kerry & Cindy Bogard, who opened the museum and classic car dealership after a lifetime of infatuation with classic cars. At 12, Kerry started collecting model cars while he was bedridden with Rheumatic Fever for two years.
Gifted with an entrepreneurial spirit, he later began buying repossessed cars, fixing them up and then selling them for a small profit. Eventually, a career in radio broadcasting provided the income to start a serious car collection, so when the couple retired from their careers the classic car business was an easy transition.
Kerry is still like that young kid. When he rattles off impressive facts and stats of each car, there is still a child-like sparkle in his eye. The couple's knowledge of each vehicle's nuances makes it clear that passionate and lifelong car junkies run the show.
Currently. the museum boasts an impressive collection that ranges from the enviable 1963 split window Corvette Stingray, and the blue 427 ERA Shelby Cobra to an original 1939 Ford Woodie Station Wagon and menacing 'Rat Rods', hot rods that resemble Mad Max vehicles. Two of the most impressive cars are the Shelby GT350 Mustang Paxton Supercharged, which is only one of 11 built by renowned car maker Carroll Shelby, and the 1958 Porsche Speedster, one of 331 built.
However, the museum isn't just for gearheads and classic car enthusiasts. The attraction features a 46-year collection of vintage memorabilia to transport visitors back in time, and remind them of nostalgic items they have long since forgotten. Whether spotting a vintage bumper car, drive-in movie speakers, or a Howard Johnson's menu, visitors are left recalling times past. There is also an impressive signed guitar collection with autographs from Eric Clapton, Don Henley, Madonna, Ozzy Osbourne, Ron Wood and more. "The cars are actually secondary", said Kerry.
For some reason, the original custom-made ambulances and hearses, called Pro Cars, are like magnets. The Bogards currently have five of the difficult to find cars which are typically Cadillacs or Packards.
Among the dozens of impressive cars, possibly the rarest in the museum is a 1957 Ford F-100 Ambulance equipped by Superior Coachbuilders. It's the only original one known to exist and is complete with radio equipment, gurney, siren, lights and emergency gear. The 1935 Desoto Airflow Coupe, is one of only 6 left in the world, according to the Airflow Club. This car has an Art Deco Airflow Body designed in a wind tunnel by Orville Wright.
With access to virtually any classic dream car, Kerry says his ultimate car would be any vintage Ferrari. The couple has owned them previously and Kerry regrets not keeping his favorite, but said, "Life has a way of getting in the way."
The Museum of Speed is located at 206 N. Highland Street in Mount Dora. Children must be 14 years and older. For hours, click here.
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