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1925 Gerin Aerodyne Prototype Restoration

1925 Gerin Aerodyne

Restoring the 1925 Gerin Aerodyne, a vintage vehicle masterpiece that was never fully realized, presents a fascinating challenge. Spearheaded by the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, this project breathes new life into Jacques Gerin’s ambitious vision. Unlike standard classic cars with their predictable symmetrical chassis, the Gerin Aerodyne prototype breaks the mold, introducing complex restoration puzzles due to its unique and ahead-of-its-time design.

A Testament to Timeless Innovation

Crafted by the distinguished Gerin Motor Company, the 1925 Gerin Aerodyne stands as a symbol of early 20th-century automotive ingenuity. Despite its inception nearly a century ago, the prototype's design still resonates with modern engineering marvels. The dedicated restoration team, including skilled mechanic Andy Kenworthy and bodywork specialist Steven White, is committed to preserving this rare artifact's original splendor and historical importance.

Revolutionary Design and Engineering

In the roaring 1920s, the automotive landscape was ripe with innovation. Gerin Motor Company aimed to revolutionize the industry with the Aerodyne, featuring a streamlined form and pioneering technology. Although it never moved beyond the prototype stage, the vehicle's design featured an aluminum exoskeleton space frame and an ingeniously mounted engine on a sliding frame for easy removal—a significant advancement for its time.

Unique Features and Restoration Challenges

The Gerin Aerodyne was notable not only for its aerodynamic body but also for its unusual tire size (760 x 90) and innovative rear inboard drum braking system. These features contributed to its distinct appearance and enhanced performance. However, restoring such a unique vehicle posed significant challenges. The original design's nose did not reflect Gerin’s blueprints accurately, prompting a meticulous redesign to ensure authenticity.

Update 1: The original nose that was designed did not curve out, thus not accurately depicting Gerin’s drawings for the Aerodyne. Therefore, Steven made the decision to redo this body piece, and it has made a world of difference in helping the flow of the vehicle’s body. Another thing that Steven has been working on for the Aerodyne is manufacturing the gauge panel for the inside of the automobile. After the vehicle is painted, more of the interior will continue to be assembled.

Overall, as the Gerin Aerodyne stands now, the car should be ready to paint in about 3-4 weeks. Steven has been meticulously combing over each body panel to ensure they are smooth and accurate to Gerin’s drawings. We’re excited on the progress of the Gerin Aerodyne made thus far, and are even more excited looking at the steps ahead. We hope to see the Gerin Aerodyne finished up very soon so we can show this magnificent engineering work to the public

Gerin Aerodyne

Update 2: The latest update involves giving the front panels and fenders a matte satin finish that adds a layer of complexity to the restoration. Our pursuit of this vision is complicated given that any imperfections, including dust on the finish, cannot be fixed through the usual wet sanding and would require complete refinishing.

To make things smoother, the restoration team at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum have made significant modifications. For example, the front fenders, originally intended to be attached with aircraft rivets, underwent a modification to use threaded inserts not only to simplify the build but also for more efficient panel removal and replacement. However, it's worth noting that in a later stage, the fenders will need to be reattached using the originally intended rivets.

Gerin Aerodyne

Looking ahead, the next phase of the restoration journey involves working on eight panels and the bottom engine panel. All set to go through the meticulous process in the body shop.

Update 3: 5/7/24 Restoration is coming along, and the front and rear fenders are on the Gerin, along with the accent plates. These plates are a great accent and create a complete appearance on this uniquely designed part of this car.

Each step in this complex process brings the team closer to realizing the vision set forth by Jacques Gerin over 100 years ago, making the Gerin Aerodyne's restoration a captivating and evolving tale within the museum's collection.


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