The Collection

The collection of historic automobiles, bicycles, Pierce-Arrow memorabilia and documents is unlike any other in the world.  You will find a selection of significant transportation items with an emphasis on Pierce-Arrow, the E.R. Thomas Motor Company and other Buffalo-made automobiles and their accomplishments. Visit to see the vehicles and the historic collection in person.  We constantly add new additions to the extensive displays.

1902 Buffalo Electric Stanhope

This electric carriage weighs about 1,800 pounds.  It has wooden wheels with hard rubber tires and a Victoria top. It runs quietly with eight speeds forward, three backward and travels 14 miles per hour.  The carriage runs 50 miles on one full charge on level roads. Manufactured by the Buffalo Electric Carriage Company, 400 Military Road, Buffalo, NY.  Sold for $1,650 in 1902.

1903 Pierce Stanhope

The 1903 Pierce Stanhope is built on light frame tubing with a Pierce-made engine mounted under the driver seat.  The four-passenger automobile has a hidden front folding seat and a folding top, two forward speeds and a reverse gear.  

The George N. Pierce Company produced 50 Stanhopes in 1903, and sold them for $1,100. The Stanhope paved the way for later, larger models, the Arrow and Great Arrow.

1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40 Flyabout

  • 5 Passenger
  • 6 Cylinder / 40 Horsepower
  • 3 Speed Manual Transmission
  • 267 Cubic Inch
  • Price in 1909: $4,900

Edwin Ross Thomas (1850-1936) sold gasoline propulsion gear for bicycles in 1896.  From 1900 to 1913, Thomas manufactured automobiles at the  factory at 1200 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY.  Today the building is headquarters for Rich Products.

In 1908, a Thomas Flyer driven by George Schuster, a test driver and factory inspector, beat out six competing cars from three other nations in the 22,000 mile, New York to Paris Race. The race began in Times Square on February 12, 1908. 169 days later, George Schuster arrived in Paris to win the world record.  

See video: This Car Matters: Thomas Flyer, winner of the 1908 New York to Paris race:


1918 Pierce-Arrow 7-Passenger Touring Car

  • Six Cylinder / 48.6 Horsepower
  • 825 Cubic Inches
  • Four Forward Speeds / One Reverse
  • 142” Wheelbase

The introduction of the 7-Passenger Touring Car furthered Pierce-Arrow’s reputation as America’s leading luxury brand of automobiles.  The 7-Passenger 5 Series featured a larger engine, improved gas mileage, and a higher top speed, without forfeiting luxury and comfort. Billed as a “hill climber,” the Touring was ideal for drivers and passengers who enjoyed scenic drives through back roads and winding countrysides.

The automobile was also designed with new traffic patterns in mind.  Pierce-Arrow built the engine to shift gears less frequently, which allowed the driver to focus on the car’s superior performance.

1919 Pierce Arrow Intercity Bus

The 1919 Pierce-Arrow Intercity Coach was one of the earliest, most comfortable people movers in America. The bus features a luggage rack, air shock absorbers and fender-mounted headlights for passengers to travel safely and in style.

1922 Automatic Electric - Automatic Transportation Company

In 1909, William C. Carr manufactured electric powered carts to move heavy objects around factories. This electric car was manufactured for only a short period of time, between 1921 and 1922.

1948 Playboy

Donated by Jack R. McNally.

Manufactured by the Playboy Motor Car Co., Buffalo, New York, 1947-1951.  Only 97 were built.  The company was founded by L. Horwitz, a former Packard dealer; C. Thomas, a former Pontiac engineer; and N. Richardson, a garage mechanic.  

Playboy produced an affordable automobile selling at $995.  Conceived to be the second car in the typical American family soon after WWII, it measured 156” overall length with a 40 hp four-cylinder engine.  Its innovative folding steel top was hinged in the middle with a supposedly leak proof rubber gasket.

The company suffered from a lack of capital investment including two failed stock offerings and a failed attempt to sell the company to Henry J. Kaiser (of the Kaiser-Fraiser Car Co.) in 1950. The firm declared bankruptcy in 1951.

The Museum’s Playboy is the only one known to have a Continental kit.


Restored by Doug Redmond

The Lad’s Car is a real gas powered automobile designed for young boys. The assembly booklet sold for twenty cents.

The car has a one cylinder engine, rack and pinion steering with aluminum spider, spark and throttle levers on the steering wheel and a friction lever. Axles are solid one piece “I” beam design. The four gallon gas tank claimed to be enough for a 200 mile long trip.

The body is mostly wood with some metal, painted battleship gray. Solid one inch Goodyear tires are mounted on wooden rims.

The Niagara Motor Car Corporation designed juvenile automobiles to provide a mechanically-minded child a sure-enough motor vehicle to teach them about automobiles. The car sold only through mail order, assembled or unassembled starting at $148 to $180 depending on options.

The predecessor to the Lad’s Car was the Motor Bob designed by E.N. Bowen who claimed to have invented a similar automobile as a young man.