Microcar Museum to close
By Stephanie Johns
After 15 years, the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison will close permanently in January 2013.
In addition to wanting more free time for himself, Weiner said he is ready for a change.
“I don’t want such a large collection to be responsible for,” he said. “It’s a big responsibility.”
Maintaining the museum brings the financial responsibility of maintaining the cars, paying taxes on the cars and on the property, paying staff, and keeping things up for the public, he said.
Over 200 microcars as well as various microcar memorabilia from the 1950s will be auctioned off by RM Auctions in mid-February. Memorabilia include neon signs, kiddie rides, vending machines, and candy dispensers.
Weiner expects “many hundreds” of people from all over the world to attend the auction.
He will keep a few cars and signs from his collection, which he began in 1991.
“I found a Messer Schmitt in Hemmings Motor News that caught my eye,” he said. “There’s just something really cool about them engineering-wise and super cool styling.”
The museum preserves, interprets, exhibits, and offers the history of microcars. They average between 150 and 200 visitors to the museum each day that it is open.
The microcars were built after World War II. The museum collection features cars from the 1940s through the early 1960s with two or fewer doors.
He has over 30 Messer Schmitts and over 100 rare cars. About 50 of those are one-of-a-kinds, he said.
Weiner said he has always shared what he has.
“The fun part of collecting is just to share,” he said.
As to locating the microcar museum in Madison, Weiner said this is where his second home is.
“I love Madison,” he said. “I think it’s awesome.”
The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, including holiday weekends, through the end of January. Admission is $5.
He did not hesitate with his answer when asked if he had second thoughts about auctioning his microcars.
“I never regret a decision I make,” he said. “I love change and am looking forward to a new challenge and a new phase in my life.”
His next collection, a private one, will be a “mixed bag” of European vintage cars.
Printed in the December 20, 2012 edition