The Great Zippo Mystery

The mystery of the missing Zippo car. 

 Zippo the famous maker of cigarette lighters for many years used a custom built 1947 Chrysler as a productmobile to promote their products.  The car, featuring huge, larger-than-life, lighters, was sent to a Pittsburgh auto dealer in the late 1950’s to have the car rebuilt with a new chassis, but somehow it never happened and the car was seemingly forgotten at the dealership.

 Forgotten until the 1970’s when Zippo officials wanted it to celebrate their 50th anniversary coming up in 1982.   That was when they discovered the car dealership had gone out of business and no one remembered what had happened to the original Zippo Car.  There has been a massive search for the missing car ever since.

 Since the original is still missing, a new replica of the original was finally constructed for the 1996 construction of the Zippo Museum in Bradford, Pa.  It cost over 250 thousand dollars and can sometimes be seen parked outside the museum when it is not on tour around the country appearing at car shows and other motor shows.

 The Zippo Museum is located near the original factory in Bradford, Pennsylvania.  Here you can see cigarette lighters that were given to famous people, an American Flag made entirely of red, white and blue Zippo Lighters and, my favorite, some of the lighters returned to the factory to take advantage of the guarantee that a Zippo works or they repair it or replace it forever.  Some of the lighters on display have been shot, run over by road graders and even chewed by a dog.  This is also home to the Case Knife Factory and museum, one of America’s most famous pocket knife companies.  In addition to seeing classic knives you can also visit the Case-Zippo Gift store and purchase some of their most famous products.

 Bradford, Pennsylvania is located not far from the Southern tier of Western New York and is a great winter-time One Tank Trip.  You can visit the museum at

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