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Museum to display 1929 classic race car

Just in time for this weekend's Honda Grand Prix, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg has announced a short-term installation of a classic race car.

The Tracta A — the only car of its type in the world — will be installed in the glass Conservatory on Thursday and will remain on view through April 7, according to a press release by the museum. The museum is at 255 Beach Drive.

Tracta of France made only two cars in 1929 to race at Le Mans. The Tracta A that will be on exhibit placed first in its class and seventh overall. It's a front-wheel drive vehicle, with a four-speed transmission with overdrive, that was designed specifically for the challenging Le Mans racetrack, said the press release.

The car could reach speeds up to 90 mph, according to the release. Except for a new coat of paint and new tires, everything is original. The car still drives and will actually be driven from the lender, the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum in Pinellas Park, to the museum.

Tracta was active between 1926 and 1934 and was a pioneer in developing front-wheel drive. The cars, chiefly built in limited editions for racing, were designed by Jean-Albert Grégoire. They were known for both their success on the track and for their sophisticated look." A Tracta car was immediately recognized by racecar enthusiasts of its day and still is by automobile historians.

The car will be clearly visible to passersby on both Beach and Bayshore Drives, the release said.

The Honda Grand Prix is scheduled to kick off Thursday with several events, including the Illuminated Night Parade, whose route goes past the museum.

Museum to display 1929 classic race car 03/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2011 4:00pm]

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