Charlie’s Auto Museum sits proudly between the two bays, Port Phillip and Western Port on Purves Road.
It was a cold and wet day as we drove towards Charlie’s Auto Museum, it’s reputation well known. Driving onto the property, we passed used Golden Fleece petrol bowsers alongside faded oil company signage. A thoughtful introduction to whatever lay before us as we entered the museum.
Many years ago, interest in cars for club member Charlie Schwerkolt began when he bought a Studebaker. Going one better, he started the Studebaker car club with other like-minded friends, in 1967.
Charlie’s museum is like wandering through Aladdin’s Cave. Along roped off passageways and showing displays and not in any particular sequence worked well. In the two buildings are a collection of cars and paraphernalia. You name it; it’s on show. Charlie has about 80 cars most of which are his own. They range from a military Jeep, two Bricklin SV-1s, Studebakers of course, a V8 Tatra, a 1990 Avanti and various bikes, one being the well-known Ariel. There is a made-up pink limo, an Australian built Lightburn Zeta, and Goggomobil, Acedes Invalid Car, Royal Mail Vans, a Messerschmitt and a BMW Isetta Motocoupe. There were children’s peddle cars; toys; large models of Titanic and Queen Mary; posters; paintings and planes flying overhead. A Cord stood proudly, and we enjoyed John Denver’s Greatest Hits which played on the remade Studebaker record player. Life as it was, safe and comfortable the way we wished it was today. To add to this mix was a well set up 1950-60s kitchen to conjure up more memories of that era and beyond. Box brownie cameras; sewing machines and radios placed in amongst other objects that are part and parcel of such a museum.
Many years ago, Charlie saw a bright red MG TD for sale on the road side in Dromana. He bought it although he didn’t like it. It is a drawcard as it sits in pride of place in the museum.
Charlie’s Museum is eclectic; classical; olde worlde but above all, an escape into another time and era. Wandering the many passageways and considering today against yesterday, it is the past that guides us and is crucial as we consider the importance of our lives to the present day.
Unfortunately, the 1960s café was not open when we were there. Our visit to this unique museum concluded, and as we returned to the outside world, we pondered about the way it all fitted together. There was no need to have everything in perfect position. What Charlie did was to place objects where he wanted them to be, and it turned out just right. Thank you, Charlie and Therese, for an excellent way to reminisce about times past.
For club members, it’s well worth the outing regardless of the weather.
Words Anne Kruger