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St Pete Museum Honors the Engineers Behind Vintage, Rare Automobiles: Bay 9 News Visits the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum


The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum in near St Pete, Florida, is more than just a collection of rare vintage cars; it’s a tribute to the innovative minds and engineering pioneers who revolutionized the automotive industry. Recently, Virginia Johnson from Bay News 9 visited our museum and captured the essence of what makes our collection unique in her article, “Tampa Museum Honors the Engineers Behind Vintage, Rare Automobiles.”


Johnson highlights the distinctive focus of our collection, which emphasizes engineering marvels and the visionaries behind them. Olivier Cerf, passionately states,

“It has to be about engineering and the man behind the car.”

This philosophy is the cornerstone of our museum, where each vehicle is selected not just for its beauty or rarity but for its contribution to automotive engineering.


One of the crown jewels of our collection is the 1937 Peugeot, the first car acquired by the Cerf family. With its overhead cam and 4-cylinder engine, this vehicle represents the cutting-edge technology of its era. Johnson quotes Olivier, who proudly notes,

“This car, the engine has never been rebuilt. And this is the original car, and it still runs today.”

Our museum features around 100 cars, each with a unique story and significance. One such example is the rare 1909 Elmore two-stroke currently being restored by our expert mechanic, Andy Kinworthy. As Johnson reports, Kinworthy explains the uniqueness of this vehicle:

“Not like a 4-stroke engine like a regular car. It’s like a lawnmower, a weed eater—something like that.”

The Cerf family's journey into the world of vintage automobiles began in 1957 when Olivier’s father, Alain, purchased the 1937 Peugeot at a police auction in Paris. Reflecting on his father's humble beginnings, Olivier shared with Johnson,

“You know he couldn’t afford a new car. So you know that was a used car back then.”

Today, that once modest purchase is invaluable to the Cerf family, symbolizing their enduring passion for automotive innovation.


Plan Your Visit

The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on Tuesdays. Admission prices range from $10 to $16, making it an affordable and enriching experience for all visitors.


Thank you, Virginia Johnson, for capturing the spirit of our museum and sharing it with the community. For more insights, you can read her full article on Bay News 9.

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