Classic memories on display at new car museum in St. Augustine

By Shaun Ryan

Over the years, the classic car show has become for many a Father’s Day tradition. Young and old alike gather to marvel at the automotive wonders of bygone eras with a shared appreciation that transcends generation.

This year, families living along the First Coast have a chance to mark this tradition in a new way. The Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine, which opened earlier this month, will be welcoming local residents to what is essentially a permanent car show.

The museum is the brainchild of Sidney and Brenda Hobbs, who for years have sponsored car shows to benefit charitable causes.

The 30,000-square-foot building houses about 80 classic vehicles from every decade between the 1890s and 1980. The oldest of these is an 1895 Rochet-Schneider Roadster, one of only 200 made.

Inside the museum, auto enthusiasts encounter a large, pink 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible in one Elvis-themed corner, a 1952 Pontiac Chieftain with the amber hood ornament, a 1914 Dodge Brothers touring car and a tiny 1956 BMW Isetta microcar, to name a few.

The museum grew out of Sidney Hobbs’ lifelong love of classic vehicles, something he shared with his father while growing up in South Georgia.

“As I got older, my dream was to have a classic car,” Hobbs said. “In 1984, I bought my brother’s best friend’s 1961 Corvette. I still have it.”

In fact, that car – which took him a decade to restore – is among those on display at the museum.

“I wouldn’t sell it for any amount of money in the world,” Hobbs said.

Over the years, he bought more cars and eventually his collection outgrew the available space. He rented a storage facility but outgrew that, as well.

Six years ago, he rented a 9,000-square-foot building to offer storage for other classic car owners. Within a month, it was full. The storage facility attracted members of the public who wanted to see what was parked there. At the same time, people said they wanted to have car shows and cruise-ins and charity events there.

The experience prompted Sidney and Brenda Hobbs to create the nonprofit Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine, located at 4730 U.S. 1 South. An open house was held earlier this month and the turnout was large, despite the rainfall that day.

“We stopped counting at 1,000,” he said. He called the public’s response “humbling and overwhelming.”

The museum is open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Sundays by appointment and for special events.

Admission is $10, free to children younger than 12. Memberships are available and offer special perks.

In addition to the museum and customer storage, the facility has a private banquet room that can seat up to 400 people, if necessary. The museum is available to rent for weddings, celebrations and meetings. A two-acre field behind the building is available for outdoor events.

Saturday morning, the museum will hold its first Classic Cars and Coffee event for local enthusiasts. Further information on upcoming events can be found on the calendar portion of the museum’s website,

On Father’s Day, the museum will be open from noon to 5 p.m.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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