Collector Car Showcase has been wowing buffs with vintage automobiles and other museum-quality, car-related items from ancient gas pumps to art deco signs to a collection of oil cans since it opened in Oyster Bay in February.
Now, with an exhibit that runs through the end of July, it has taken a new, faster turn.
"Century of Speed: 100 Years of Competition ... Race Cars" features an assortment of rare racers that actually extend back more than 100 years, to the 1909 Alco-6 "Black Beast" that won the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup race on Long Island Motor Parkway and finished 33rd at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
Also featured is a 1956 Ford Victorian that Long Island racer Marty Himes used on the stock car circuit, the midget racer Mickey Rooney drove in the 1949 film "Big Wheel," a 1954 Jaguar XK120M, a 1959 Porsche 356, a 1966 Shelby GT350 and lots of other classics that make car nuts' wheels spin.
David Jacobson, 52, a car enthusiast and collector, founded the museum after realizing that while other parts of the country had similar venues, this part had none.
"I said Long Island probably has the largest car culture in the world, the North Shore specifically, but all over Long Island, and I said we have nothing here," he said. "There is no place where you can go and see a hundred years' worth of petroliana and memorabilia and Americana and everything like this . . . The town wanted us here. We're hoping this whole area becomes the motor sports mecca of Long Island."
Many of the cars that owners have loaned to the Showcase are too rare and valuable to be displayed in a less controlled environment at street-side classic car shows. Here they sit behind ropes, like priceless paintings or statues.
Jacobson said the idea for the current exhibit celebrating the history of racing on Long Island grew out of visits from people who recalled the area as a long-ago haven for the sport, including Guy Frost, an expert on the races at Bridgehampton. He added that Michael Lindgren of Sea Cliff was a driving force behind the exhibit and curated it.
The goal, Jacobson said, was to "bring together all the automotive history of racing on Long Island . . . We said we're going to bring together all of the drivers, the race car owners and the tracks that encompass Long Island's racing history for 60 years. And we did it. We had a party here [June 13]. It was pretty special."
Jacobson said that when Himes walked into the building and saw his car on display, "he had tears in his eyes. He was stunned. He was so happy that someone young was interested. He was so happy we were here."
Admission to the Collector Car Showcase is $7 for adults.