Top Secret: Atomic Cars Restoration Project


Albuquerque, NM
‘Many cars have “exploded” on to the collector car scene over the past several years, but none in quite the same way as the 1941 Packard Clipper and the 1942 Plymouth that the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is in the process of restoring.

    As luck would have it, following an exhaustive search, the museum was able to acquired two cars that played a meaningful role in the coming of the Atomic Age. While both cars have spent the past several decades languishing in scrap yards under the hot New Mexico sun, work is already underway to preserve these cars so that one day they may be included in the museum’s Manhattan Project exhibit.

    The ’41 Packard Clipper was converted into a custom limousine by the Fitzjohn Coach Company and was used during the secretive Manhattan Project to transport scientists to Los Alamos. It also has the distinction of having been used to transport personnel to the Trinity base camp for the testing of the first atomic bomb.

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    While the museum’s team of researchers hasn’t been able to completely confirm that they have the exact ’42 Plymouth that was used to carry two hemispheres of a plutonium core’the key ingredient for the first atomic bomb to the McDonald ranch house for assembly’it was definitely one just like it that transported the world into the Atomic Age.

According to Harriet Bull, the museum’s Director of Development, many cars and trucks  played  crucial roles in ushering in the atomic age and need to be preserved.

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“Projects like this are very important to our museum,” she said. “These cars provide our visitors with a tangible link to the past. They tell a story, and the stories behind these cars are too important to be forgotten.”

    To learn more about this project, or make a contribution in support of this project, visit the museum’s Web site, www.atomicmuseum.org/atomiccars.cfm.

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