Dec 12 2015

Updated: Walter McCarthy Collection: Then & Now- The Long Island Automotive Museum

Eric Shaffer and Dan Kretzer  recently visited the site of the Long Island Automotive Museum in Southampton and documented its current condition. I have combined their "Now" photos with "Then" photos from the Walter McCarthy Collection.


Howard Kroplick

Then 1948

Then: 1952

Then: 1958

The New York Times, March 16, 1958

Then: 1961

Then: 1960s

Then: 1969

New York Sunday News, October 5, 1969

Now: 2015

Beyond the overgrowth, the buildings are still standing. Courtesy of Eric Shaffer.

Courtesy of Dan Kretzer.

Courtesy of Dan Kretzer.

Then: 1953

Now: 2015 Courtesy of Eric Shaffer.

Then: 1978

Now: 2015 Courtesy of Eric Shaffer.

Then: 1951

Then: 1964

Then: 1979

Now: 2015 Courtesy of Eric Shaffer.



Dec 12 2015 Walt Gosden 10:11 PM

The first photo taken in 1961most is the Classic Car Club of America CARavan that was known as the Montauk Point Caravan. Note all of the cars in the parking area are pre WWII luxury cars. CCCA still has numerous CARavans in all parts of the USA each year.

Dec 12 2015 Roger Price 11:29 PM

Wow, those photos brought back some bittersweet memories of the place.  I didn’t realize that the buildings in back still existed.
Thanks for the memories.

Dec 12 2015 Chris 11:36 PM

Why don’t they put the place out of its misery and tear it down?

Dec 12 2015 Steve Mac Nish 11:37 PM

Our family visited Long Island in the summer for two or three years around 1980.  We stopped at LIAM on one of those trips, and it turned out to be that the day we stopped in was one week before it closed.  I can remember my son’s and my disappointment that we could never get back there again.  Amazing that the building are still standing and a shame that they were not put to some other useful purpose.

Dec 13 2015 Ken Wiebke 12:02 AM

Thank you for the fascinating (if depressing) post.  Would that some comfortable L I antique auto aficionado with a bent for history could not in some manner resurrect this gem….  Hmmmm

Dec 13 2015 L.M.K. 8:30 AM

So sad !

Dec 13 2015 Dan Kretzer 9:12 AM

After attending the presentation in Bethpage November 2014, I took my own tour of the museum grounds in April of this year. Brought back fond memories of going out there with my dad so many years ago. Eric’s photos reinforce the images in my mind from that visit.

Dec 13 2015 George Stephani 9:57 AM

Who owns the property now? Could some investors rebuild the museum and have a rotating collection of cars and history with special events and car shows there.

Dec 13 2015 Tom Cotter 10:37 AM

For some reason, I’m glad that even though the Southampton Automotive Museum no longer operates, and the nearby Bridgehampton Race Circuit no longer hosts races, that both are still there to remind us of wonderful automotive facilities of the past.

Dec 13 2015 Stephen Edelstein 11:59 AM

Too bad. I always meant to go visit the museum, but never got there due “Life”.
I guess I can now.
Is there anything left to see, aside of the buildings?
BTW, good to meet you-sort of- at the last Chowder.

Dec 13 2015 Jon Schapiro 12:36 PM

What a shame - would make a nice automobile museum (again)!  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Dec 13 2015 VINCENT LAROCCA 1:13 PM


Dec 13 2015 S. Berliner, III 9:33 PM

How sad.  It as such a great place and Austie such a great guy.  Love your Then and Now series.  Sam, III

Dec 13 2015 S. Berliner, III 10:08 PM

Holy mackerel, Andy!  Could that Rolls Phantom I up front in the lead picture be the same one I photographed back on 20 May 1956:

Nope, it’s a drophead and the car in my shot has an odd hard-topped roadster body (and the fender lips and bumper are different) but it did give me quite a turn for a mo’!  It’s not the drophead noted and pictured at:;

that one was a P-II.  Oh, well.

Sam, III

Dec 14 2015 Lee 10:16 PM

So sorry to see this. Remember the fun days of parties, auctions, etc. No one like Austin.

Dec 18 2015 John Van Gasteren 12:31 PM

Two weeks ago I was at Sotheby’s in Manhattan for an auto auction preview.  One of the cars to be auctioned was the 1933 Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow that was at the museum.  It sold on December 10th for $3,740,000.  How times have changed.

Dec 26 2015 Joe mulder 5:52 PM

When I was a kid my parents took me to the car museum. I clearly remember the arched roof of the building. Seeing the pictures bring back good memories when we visited the museum. Ironically I currently own one of the vehicles that was in the museum.

Dec 27 2015 P. DiNatale 12:57 PM

They should restore the place privately or with govt. funding to make it a historical site. too bad they usually waste money on projects like the improvement of rt 25 (jericho tpke) in new hyde park. instead of improving it they ruined the road by eliminating a center turning lane and installed greenery that needs maintaince and inhibits saftey and created traffic jams and accidents. also the water collects on the corners instead of draining due to flawed design and construction with no one taking responsibility for such a boondoggle. that was the last straw for me so i left ny for good.lots of money in ny but most of it is wasted when it comes to community needs when administered by local,state and federal govt.

Dec 27 2015 Jim Babchak 3:31 PM

After college in the early 1980’s I rented a house in East Hampton with 14 other college friends. I passed the building often but had missed its glory days. Thanks to Hemmings and others for keeping Austins legacy alive. As posted earlier, maybe we set up a crowd funding site and see if we can buy it back and return it to its former glory. Anybody up for that??
From Howard Kroplick:

FYI, the property is still owned by the Clark family

Dec 28 2015 bob 4:00 PM

Where is the property located, specifically? Does someone have a pic of the home? I own a JT Cantrell bodied ‘48 dodge truck mounted woodie. Hence the interest in this info. Thanks.

Jan 06 2016 Chris 9:25 PM

I have fond memories of visiting the museum with my dad as a child. We would head out to see my uncle and aunt in Sag Harbor and would stop there on the way. Even recently as I drive past the location I wonder what happened to the buildings and I’m so glad to see the pictures. What happened to the collection?

From Howard Kroplick

Sold off by Clark in several auctions held at the museum.

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