The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles is pleased to announce the opening of its new special exhibit: ''What a Motor Vehicle Should Be:' Charles Duryea's Pennsylvania Autos.' Arguably the largest collection of Duryea automobiles, the exhibit will run from Aug.15 to Oct. 31,and traces all the major eras of Charles Duryea's time in Pennsylvania.
Charles Duryea, along with his brother Frank, built one of the first automobiles in the United States in 1893 in Massachusetts. Just a few years later, Charles moved to Reading, Pennsylvania to the Relay Bicycle Manufacturing building at 10th & Exeter Streets. He later moved to an old tannery at River Road & Elm Street. Throughout his time in Reading, Duryea worked to perfect the automobile and made several innovations to this end. He also stubbornly held on to what he felt a motor vehicle should be instead of bowing to public demand. This resulted in bankruptcy and a radical new car design the last few years in Reading. Examples of both his early and later years in Reading are on display in this special exhibit.
Also on display will be one of Duryea's rarest cars-a Duryea Gem. Built in Philadelphia in 1917, the Gem was a motorcycle/automobile hybrid and represents Duryea's last attempt at building a production vehicle. There are only three known Gems left in the world. This will be the first time the Boyertown Museum has displayed the Gem since its move to its current location in 2001 at 85 South Walnut Street.
''What a Motor Vehicle Should Be:' Charles Duryea's Pennsylvania Autos,' will be on display until October 31, 2012. The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30a.m.to 4p.m. and is closed on Mondays.
The Museum, located at 85 South Walnut Street in Boyertown, PA preserves the transportation history of Pennsylvania and displays over eighty locally manufactured cars, trucks, carriages, motorcycles, sleighs, and other types of vehicles.