ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WLVT) - A new initiative hopes to drive car enthusiasts to either side of Front Street. Next week, America on Wheels Museum and RB Collection will start offering a combined tour of both facilities in an effort to create the "Automobile Corner of America."
"Everything starts with a vision and a dream," said museum executive director Linda Merkel. "We had many discussions, many meetings in order to bring to life to the city of Allentown a new attraction that would not only educate everyone, but enhance some museum experience, as well as learning about the process of restoration."
"We acquired [our] building in order to do this unique attraction -- to be in front of America on Wheels Museum and to integrate an automotive museum and a restoration center for the first time," said Al Ruozzi, co-owner of RB Collection.
The tours start at the museum, which features two floors of automotive history. Every six months, the marquee exhibit changes to give visitors something new to enjoy.
"It could be anything with a big title," explained museum president Keith Flickinger. "It could be cars of the ‘60s. It could be cars of movie stars. Right now, we have T-birds in there, and that's really special. What we try and do is change it enough to get all different age brackets."
Across the street, Ruozzi and his brother Alex moved into the old Klein building in 2015 and turned it into a classic car dealership and restoration center.
"We are like a modern dealer for classic cars, and it's important, because each car that we sell, we perform an inspection in our restoration center," said Alex Ruozzi. "So, the buyer is pretty confident that he's buying a nice classic car."
"In the museum, you'll have the chance to see the cars ready," his brother added. "Coming over here, it's an opportunity to learn and to witness how difficult and how involved is to restore a car, but to restore it the proper way -- to restore and respect the authenticity and the factory specifications of the car, because that's real preservation or real restoration."
The tours will be free during the month of March with the purchase of a museum ticket.
"It's not just a one-time thing that you want to do," Flickinger said. "You want to come, and you want to come to this corner and really put your mind to enjoy and watch as we save and restore American history."
The tours will be offered on Wednesdays and Fridays at 1 p.m., starting on Wednesday, March 4. Saturday tours will be added during the summer. For hours and admission to the museum, click HERE.