By on September 18, 2010

From a source no less then the NY Times comes the stunning news that Liberace’s popularity is not crossing the generations, resulting in a precipitous drop in attendance at the Museum devoted to his refined taste. The doors are closing next month, so this is the last chance to see his splendiferous collection of custom automobiles, like one of only two Kanzler Coupes ever made (above) which obviously borrowed its passenger compartment from an Opel GT. This is just an aperitif of what’s on display inside.

Where to start? Jewel encrustation is a repeated theme, here on a roadster that I can’t look at long enough to identify.

A tastefully decorated Rolls, with another one behind it.

Perhaps during one of the energy crisis, Mr. Showmanship would choose something a bit more efficient to drive to his performances.

This modestly repainted Chrysler wagon may be sitting out back, for lack of sufficient spazarkle.

This one is way too predictable. How about something a bit more original?

Now that’s a bit more like it.

We’ll save the best for last.

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18 Comments on “Liberace Museum To Close: Last Chance To See The World’s Most Elegant Cars...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I can’t even fathom how you would clean half of those things.  I predict that soon they’ll all be available on eBay Motors.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    That’s actually a Kanzler, and it’s based on a 1979 Mercury Cougar with a 351 (mated to the Opel GT passenger section). The price was $60k (quite a healthy sum back then).

    Considering the doaner vehicles (and what’s in the rest of the museum), it’s not that bad.

    Here’s a link to some more pictures. Not surprisingly, the text is in French…

    http://www.gatsbyonline.com/main.aspx?page=text&id=190&cat=auto

  • avatar
    thebeelzebubtrigger

    The missing front passenger seat makes me wonder if he had a chauffeur drive that Beetle. A friend of mine in H.S. had a beetle and she used to remove the passenger seat like that for long road trips so I could sit in the back and stretch my legs. We called it “the limousette”.  It didn’t have the Rolls kit though.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    All that from playing the piano? Amazing. Although I can’t say I agree with his lifestyle, the guy WAS one hell of a talented showman!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Well, he DID say once that he laughed all the way to the bank.

    • 0 avatar
      italianstallion

      Who asked you to “agree” with his “lifestyle”? And who cares? This website is about cars, not intolerance.

      Thank you Paul for posting this!

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      italianstallion doesn’t show much tolerance it seems for disagreeing with Liberace’s lifestyle, I guess tolerance is a one way affair (pardon the pun)
      The cars are clearly unique and probably valuable to someone but of a limited market for sure. Plus you’d have to be a true Friend of Dorothy to be seen in one.
       
      Maintaining these things has got to be a bitch ( pun intended) since beyond getting a part for one off customs think of all the polishing. Probably has a team of jewelers standing by.

    • 0 avatar
      italianstallion

      Close, Lorenzo.  Liberace actually coined the phrase, “I cried all the way to the bank.”  He used it as a comeback to those critical of his act, but most notably in speaking of the large financial awards that were a result of his successful lawsuits against those who so viciously libeled him in the English and American press in the 1950s.

      50+ years on, its clear that the same irrational fear and uninvited hatred of homosexuals is alive and well with the likes of BMWfan and GS650G.  Way to go, guys.

  • avatar

    Most of these vehicles were used in his shows as he would drive them on stage.  Liberace was a hell of a showman.  I saw him perform in Dallas and had the pleasure of meeting him backstage and have some fantastic pics of the show and spent almost an hour with him in the dressing room as he signed autographs.  He was one of the nicest show business people I’ve ever met and I’ve met a lot of them.

  • avatar
    obbop

    The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Apple Valley CA had declining revenue as the generation that related to that fare started dying off so off to Branson, Missouri… the home of so much, to me, inane simplistic fare designed for extremely base mentalities that would likely display a dazed glazed-eye appearance if confronted with reading one of them thar’ book things, especially a non-fiction book written at an 8th-grade or higher level.
     
    After an attempt in the Branson location the older generation continued to die off and advancing age lessened their ability to travel so the Rogers museum closed down and much of the museums’ contents auctioned off.
    Changing generations, changing preferences.
    Heck, when I, the Disgruntled Old Coot was younger, oldies on the radio were often songs from the 40s and 50s… or earlier.
    Then “oldies” were late 50s and 60s then some 70s crept in and now 90s are considered by some as old stuff and the process continues!!!!!!!!!
    Heck, I can’t even recall the last time I heard Freebird or Stairway to Heaven on the radio!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The day will arrive when the very last Baby Boomer falls to the ground, gasping for breath, clutching chest as waves of agony engulfs the last vestige of an entire generation and the news report will likely proclaim she died doing what she loved to do;  fall to the ground, gasp for breath, clutching chest as waves of agony engulf her.
    Recall the quintessential teen movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High?
    What surprises me is how few current teens are even aware the film exists!!!!!  I figured the grapevine would spread the word that the flick should be viewed. It can be rented for 99 cents or less and surely a plethora of copies are scattered across the land but……. nope.  Just another forgotten oldie.
    The rate of change in USA society is so dern’ fast nowadays.  Always has advanced but it seems the rate of change has increased.
    Another aspect of cultural change mentioned hereabouts has been the younger folks and their apparent disdain by many for obtaining a driver license and/or a motor vehicle.
    Makes economic sense for some (many?) but my generation was still enamored with all that a car allowed and the period of my youth still allowed even the children of the working-poor, at least some, to afford muscle cars…… GTX with 440,  383 Roadrunner, etc.
    Vroooooom.
    Times change.
    And I suppose what with the Web and many advances regarding technology and how it is applied to society in general that societal changes may occur more frequently and “prior generations” may discover they are left behind sooner than previous generations were.
    Consider the “greatest generation.”
    For many years they were the generation in power, holding onto that power while the Baby Boomers rather slowly crept in to replace them.
    Look at how relatively quickly the Boomers were at the apex and then began the decline of their seemingly short-lived “main” influence period (yes, “influence” can be defined in many ways but if you want a treatise pay me to perform true research with replicable data).
    Heck…. look at Obama. He barely fits into the Boomer generation and due to his background I do not believe he truly represents or is a product of the Boomer era.
    Observe TV.  Boomers were represented by the Wonder Years and a few short-lived shows but it appears the Xers and Yers and later generations are already ascending!!!!!!!!!!!
    Oh well.
    The day is not far in the future when Liberace’s name will result in a HUGE collective “Huh? Who?” by the masses and even today’s HUGE tween heart-throb will be either passe’ or in rehab as a 38 year old has-been.
    However, I still feel a twinge of youthful lust when I view an old pic of Partridge Family era Susan Dey.
    Whadda’ cutie!!!!!!
     

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    You know, it’s hardly worse than fake carbon fiber vinyl hood appliqués, absurd twisty rear wings, and big f*ck off exhaust tips. And at least we can be fairly sure that Liberace wasn’t serious.

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    It’s closing because the public just ain’t interested in a bunch of sedans that look like they were styled by a Mexican drug lord.  Except for the Kanzler that looks like it was styled by an orgy of gay designers who stumbled into an Ecstasy factory.
    http://www.luxist.com/2010/05/05/diamond-studded-guns-part-of-mexican-drug-lords-haul/
     

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    I think the Liberace Museum is closing due to a paradigm shift: From the ’50s to the ’70s, young people enjoyed watching celebrities who looked outrageous. Today, young people tend to enjoy watching celebrities who act outrageous.

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