Here’s a chapter from my new book, The Best of One Tank Trips, which will be released at the end of this month …
Cars and Trucks of the Past
Bowling Green, Woodville
If you have ever dreamed of again owning the first car you ever drove or if you just like classic automobiles or racing cars, this One Tank Trip is for you.
The destination: one of Ohio’s finest privately-owned auto museums.
Snook’s Dream Cars is housed in a museum with the entryway disguised as a head-turning replica of a 1940s-era Texaco Service Station, complete with glass-top gasoline pumps. The display of 30-plus classic automobiles is the private collection of Bill and Jeff Snook, a father-and-son team that started restoring cars back in 1963, when Bill Snook helped his son Jeff to restore a 1929 Model “A” Ford. It became Jeff’s transportation when he turned 16.
As he grew older, Jeff started racing automobiles. Several of his classic race cars are on display along with cars dating from the 1930s through the 1960s. But that’s just part of the collection. Jeff Snook told me they have more cars in storage and try to rotate them onto the museum floor every few weeks. Another feature that impressed me was that every car on display sparkles as though it had just been driven off the assembly line.
Along with the cars is a huge collection of auto memorabilia such as hood ornaments and door handles that fills display cases, and the museum also features larger collectibles: pinball machines, jukeboxes, and animated kiddie rides that, like the cars, have been restored to working order. The interior of the old service station look-a-like is decorated with street scenes from Bowling Green of years ago and even had a Sebring Raceway Pit Lane.
But Snook’s Dream Cars is not just a museum. The Snooks also operate a business here restoring classic cars in the four-bay mechanics’ area. In addition, they have a new warehouse with more than 6,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage available for rent to other classic car collectors, and they also sell classic and collectible cars of all kinds.
Sadly, Bill Snook passed away in 2013 at the age of 91, but Jeff continues to operate the business and museum.
Bowling Green is also home to another rather unusual museum of motorized history whose motto is: “Working to preserve the history of the construction equipment that shaped our world.” If you have someone in the family who has ever worked in the construction industry or a youngster who just loves trucks and caterpillars, this is the place for you.
The Historical Construction Equipment Association has a museum of antique heavy equipment located just outside of town at their headquarters on Liberty Hi Road. Here you will find everything from a horse-drawn grader used to smooth roads in the early years of the twentieth century to a working restored model of a giant Marion 21 Electric Shovel manufactured in 1926. In all, there are more than 50 exhibits, inside and out; many have been restored to like-new working condition by volunteers. If you would like to see some of these historic machines at work, each autumn, the annual Great Lakes Logging & Heavy Equipment Exposition is held on the museum grounds. You can see many different pieces of equipment, from graders to giant shovels, doing their thing.
The museum is open weekday afternoons. Call for an appointment.
While we are on the subject of classic cars, there is a drive-in restaurant that I recommend.
You can’t miss the Speedtrap Diner in nearby Woodville.
There’s a 1950s-era police car parked on the roof.
The diner got its name because over the years, the small town gained a reputation for being a speed trap for motorists who ignored the speed limit, which was strictly enforced by local police.
Owner Samantha Haar also is a big fan of the 1950s—so much so that she has life-size figures of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe in the restrooms. But that is just the beginning. The walls and even the ceiling of the dining room are covered with memorabilia of the era.
Samantha is the head cook, and she aims to please. While the menu is heavy on burgers, there are daily specials, and Samantha frequently comes up with new ice cream flavors.
It’s a fun place.
Snook’s Dream Cars
13920 County Home Rd • Bowling Green, OH 419-353-8338
Historical Construction Equipment Museum
16623 Liberty Hi Rd • Bowling Green, OH 419-352-5616
310 E. Main St • Woodville, OH 419-849-3665
For more ideas in the area, contact:
Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau
[End of excerpt.]