work in the oil industry, and my travels often take me far off the
beaten path. As a result, I’ve spent the last two months in northeast
New Mexico, on an oil rig off of I-40 between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa.
On one of my trips to the grocery store to top up my supplies, I
stumbled upon this little gem. For the bargain of $5, you can enter the Route 66 Auto Museum in the town of Santa Rosa and view some interesting and unusual cars.
The following is a guest post from Wesley Blackman, who spends the majority of his life on oil rigs in the
middle of nowhere, but on occasion turns a wrench or even a phrase on
his blog “Connecting Rods.” Wesley originally published this story on jalopnik’s opposite lock via his kinja account, but we are republishing it here with his permission. All photos, words and opinions are his and no payment was offered or received for the post…what a raw deal! -DT
The town of
Santa Rosa was founded in 1865 as Aqua Negra Chiquita, and today has
approximately 2,800 residents. Situated near the intersection of
historic Route 66 and I-40 115 miles east of Albuquerque, the town
celebrates its automotive heritage and has a vibrant community with many
natural lakes, the aptly named natural diving pool “Blue Hole” and well kept local parks.
Just off of
I-40 on historic US-66 east of downtown Santa Rosa is the Route 66 Auto
Museum, owned by Santa Rosa local mechanic and hot-rodder James “Bozo”
Cordova. Featuring a modest yet excellent collection of original
vintage, classic, and hot-rod automobiles and trucks, the small museum
is a slice of a classic Route 66 town in its heydey. Featuring cars,
signage, and all types of classic and hot-rod memorabilia, visitors are
greeted by friendly staff and the smell of Detroit iron, motor oil, and
vintage vinyl interiors.
car makes and models of all types and brands. One of my favorite
vehicles was a modified 1940’s Chevrolet COE truck powered by a
Bozo’s recreation of Pete Chapouri’s “The California Kid,”
a hot-rodded 1934 Ford coupe, was exciting to look at as well. It had
been christened “The Santa Rosa Kid” in homage. I would be glad to own
any of the vehicles in the collection, many for sale, some in original
condition and some heavily modified like this 1969 Camaro with a modern
LS drivetrain and this 1949 Woodie with a fuel-injected 5.0L from a
many other cars I didn’t get full photos of, due to poor planning on my
part. I hadn’t brought a proper camera and my phone pictures didn’t do
the cars justice, but the full experience requires a visit anyhow.
was a beautiful 1964 Corvette and a Ford coupe powered by a Buick
Nailhead V8, as well as various Mustangs and Chevrolet project coupes.
There was even a kit car Mercedes Gazelle, which was definitely the most
unusual of the group.
two Chevrolet Cameo pickups that were very clean, as well as a
straight-as-an-arrow Buick Riviera I would have driven home if I had the
cash in my pocket.
Overall, I would highly recommend a stop in
Santa Rosa if you are traveling down I-40 or Route 66 through New
Mexico. The museum alone is worth the stop, but the town is pleasant and
the drive full of excellent scenery, a perfect place for gas and a
break to soak in some local culture. If anyone asks, tell them one of
the “oil-rig guys” sent you.
Got your own auto museum story to share? Type it up and send us a draft, we are always looking for interesting material to share with our readers, the worst we can do is click ‘mark as spam’ and block your email address permanently. email@example.com