Field Trip: San Diego Automotive Museum Showcases Off-Road History

Being in Southern California, off-roading can be seen anywhere. Some places it is more mainstream, while others think it’s just a bunch of wild animals playing out in the dirt. Lucky for us, and visitors of the San Diego Automotive Museum had a chance for a closer look at the world we love.

After helping the museum with the backdrops we had to check out the exhibit for ourselves. We are glad we had the chance, as it showcased everything off-road is all about.

The exhibit, No Roads Required, featured a whole mix of off-road vehicles and history where you can learn about off-road racing and rallies like the Baja 1000. We headed down to check it out for ourselves after helping create the backdrop for the exhibit.

In addition to the vehicles on display, there was plenty of off-road race memorabilia on display.

The San Diego Automotive Museum has gathered a collection of off-road vehicles from many of the sport’s illustrious contributors. This exhibit features the world famous Meyers Manx, the McMillin family’s Beagle Two, the DeVercelly’s “Bull Fighter,” the Baillargeon’s Baja Bug, a TSCO Racing trophy truck, and an assortment of other off-road vehicles, including Steve McQueen’s 1970 Chevy Blazer.

An exhibit like this is perfect for any interest level, and everything was laid out perfectly. Kids can see vehicles up close and take their time checking them out.

Dick Weyhrich started Tube Specialty Company (TSCO) in 1963 as a pipe and tube fabrication business. TSCO started in the 1970s and the Trophy Truck that was on display was purchased as the second for team TSCO.

Everyone knows what a Trophy Truck is, but seeing the TSCO truck with some of its panels off is something else. Seeing the amount of engineering that goes into creating a vehicle that can over 100 miles per hour in the desert is a lot easier when it is not moving.

If old school is a little more your style they had that as well. The McMillin Beagle Two or the Bull Fighter was on display with more stories to tell from there time in the Baja Desert.

McMillin’s Beagle Two Chenowth Class 2 on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

The Beagle Two Chenowth Class 2 is a McMillin family heirloom, raced by Corky McMillin for several seasons. The “Beagle” name was used in the family in reference to Corky’s CB handle. Its first race was the 1981 SCORE Mexicali 250, as part of a three-car McMillin team.

Classics like the Bull Fighter were showcased at the exhibit.

The Bull Fighter was from the first ever Mexican 1000, which is not the Baja 1000, in 1967. This vehicle has a long story attached to it, as the young team made up of Andy Devercelly Jr. and friend Tom McClelland. The name of the vehicles comes because during the race they ran into a bull.

They were traveling with very little light and at the speed, they were going they had no time to react. They hit the bull so hard that it flew into the cabin hitting Andy square in the face knocking him unconscious, but still finished the last 35 miles of the race.

The exhibit's main sponsor, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, has been apart of off-road racing since the beginning. Many of the iconic desert racers all started on Bilstein shocks.

It was a great time at the San Diego Automotive Museum and was great for the whole family. No Roads Required runs through January 28, 2018, so there is still plenty of time to check it out. For tickets and more information on the museum be sure to check out its website.

About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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