Golden Art City: Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - For this week's installment of Golden Art City, Amanda Brennan takes a look at the vintage vehicles on display at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche once said, "Design is not simply art, it is elegance of function." Tucked away within the Wedgewood Resort is a building that houses vehicles that personify Porche's sentiment. In 2009 the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum opened its doors. Brainchild of Fairbanks Entrepreneur, Timothy Cerny, the state of the art facility contains more than 80 vehicles from the late 19th century to the 1930's. The models range from early 20th Century Ford Model T's to the custom built McFarlan Type 125, made for a silent movie star. Museum Manager, Willy Vinton discusses the first three models of vehicles to make it to the Interior.

Willy Vinton; Museum Manager>>"Early Franklin automobile and this is a 1970, barrel nosed model D limousine. So it's a little bit fancier than what would have come to Fairbanks at the time. But they call them the barrel nose frame, because of the shape of this thing. Think of it, an air cold car would be much more suitable to the climate up here because it wouldn't freeze. 19-6 type 12 Pope Toledo. And up here in the second picture, you can see that's young Bobby Sheldon leaning on the fender and that's a twin to this car. Now there's three of these left in the world as well. 19-7 model G, white steam car. 30 horse power car, which for steam was very powerful and this is a twin to the third car to come off the boat in Fairbanks."

The auto museum has 8 vehicles that are either one of a kind, or the last of their kind. Vinton discusses one of the earliest and rarest vehicles in the collection.

Willy Vinton; Museum Manager>>"1898 hay motor vehicle. It's the only one they've ever built so obviously the only one left. The Hay family came up here a couple years back and had a reunion here, because none of them had ever seen the car."

With the exception of three vehicles, including the Bobby Sherman Runabout that was built in Alaska, all the vehicles are still drivable. Vinton takes the automobiles out for a spin to keep them in good working order no matter the weather conditions. He says that out of all the vehicles the White Steamer is the most complicated to drive, while the 1920 Argonne is "spectacular." The Argonne is the only remaining vehicle of its kind. The roadster with its sleek lines and 100hp was the equivalent of a Ferrari versus a VW Bug when compared to its contemporary Model T. Vinton discusses how the vibrant colors of some of the vehicles, including the Argonne, are historically accurate.

Willy Vinton; Museum Manager>>"As far as we can tell this is the colors that were on the car, but we have no documentation to verify that. But if they aren't the exact colors that were, they're period correct colors."

"The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum has some of the rarest and oldest vehicles that are still running, today. They are open all year long, so if you guys can, it is worth the trip. Are you ready, Willy? Let's Go!"
For this week's Golden Art City, this is Amanda Brennan.