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Kansas Aviation Museum To Unveil Stearman Car

The Kansas Aviation Museum will unveil a new exhibit Thursday featuring the last car owned by airplane designer Lloyd Stearman, a pioneer of Wichita aviation.

The car is a 1960s Mercedes diesel sedan. Stearman purchased the car to drive while on vacation in Europe and later had it shipped back to the States. Kansas aviation museum executive director Lon Smith says Stearman made modifications to the car like putting in a Sears air-conditioning unit.

“He also had lots of instrumentation installed that would be more conducive to flying than driving, altimeter and different things,” said Smith. “He was a designer and builder of planes and so he put those items in the car just for fun. So you’ll see an altimeter in the car, which you don’t tend to need in the car, really.”

The car was donated to the museum by the Stearman family who lives in Kansas City.

Smith says the museum plans to display the car as part of its collection.

The car will be unveiled Thursday evening at 5:30pm.

Along with the exhibit, the usually private museum restoration shop, will be open to the public from 4pm - 7pm.