PRINCETON — People have been fascinated by motor vehicles from the beginning. As of December, a new museum featuring some interesting variants on the motor vehicle theme will be opening in the Historical District.
Princeton Railroad Museum Director Pat Smith said on Tuesday that Randy Shelton, a 1980 graduate of Princeton Senior High School and engineer with Ford Motor Company, would be opening up the Mythical Collector Unauthorized Vehicle museum in the old Bike Works building on First Street just up from the railroad museum.
“He has the first Ford Model A which was converted into a snowmobile that he brought it to the August cruising event as a special attraction,” she said.
Another attraction, she added, would be the first semi-trailer which was built by Augustus Fruehauf, a Detroit, Michigan blacksmith in 1914.
“A local businessman who had bought a boat wanted a way to transport his boat to his home on Lake Michigan which was faster than a horse-drawn wagon. Fruehauf cut the back off of a Model T and attached a hitch of his own making to which he hooked up a trailer of his own design, which was called a semi-trailer.
Soon, other people asked him to build trailers, and, in 1918, the Fruehauf Trailer Company was formed,” Smith said. Shelton, she added, had a 1917 model Fruehauf semi-trailer, which would also be displayed in the museum.
“In addition, he’ll have a 1920 Ford Model T which was modified with a saw to cut ice out of lakes; a 1929 Model A Aircraft Tug which was used by the military to move planes on ships; and a 1928 Model A Farm Tractor Modification Kit from Montgomery Ward used to convert Model A Fords into tractors. There will also be photographs showing how these vehicles worked,” she said.
The museum is tentatively set for a December opening as Shelton is busy modifying the Bike Works building to house the collection.
Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org