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Dr. Fred Simeone has passed away


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#1 Tim Murray

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Posted 12 June 2022 - 18:31

Dr Fred Simeone, renowned neurosurgeon and the man behind the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, has died:

https://simeonemuseu...ss-of-our-hero/

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#2 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 June 2022 - 20:42

Oh my goodness.  I am shocked to read the above news...

 

Dr Fred Simeone was not only the most wonderfully well-qualified, hugely well-respected and extremely capable surgeon, he was a lifelong 'car guy' who somehow made the time - when not building and operating his medical practice - to become one of the top handful of all the great American connoisseur collectors of exceptional competition cars,and of automobilia, car catalogues etc etc etc.

 

What's more, his phenomenal attention to detail, insatiable appetite to learn, and absolutely formidable memory not only read and processed but - above all - retained an immense proportion of the information he collected not only about his own great cars, but also about almost anything ever built which had wheels, an engine, and which ran on road or race track.

 

Dr Fred was a lovely, warm, engaging, friendly man and we spent some really good times together, most notably at the wonderful Connoisseurship Symposia organised by Miles Collier at his Collection museum in Naples, Florida - where year after year we both operated as members of the presenting faculty.  I will now always regret never having made the opportunity to visit Dr Fred's counterpart Museum in Philadelphia. 

 

Typical of the man was when we were discussing 'Grist Green' - the dark-maroon colour which had been popularised most notably by restorer Paul Grist as the 'proper' livery for pre-war racing Alfa Romeos.  Dr Fred told me that he'd taken a lot of flak for having completed restoration of his ex-Hugh Hunter Alfa 8C-2900 by having it painted a flaring poster red.  He explained it matched the original red shade found as his body specialists carefully explored the old panels' lower paint coats.  I then told him about our own theory that the darker shades preferred by British restorers were based on a misinterpretation of paint shades as captured by contemporary orthochromatic black-and-white film stock, as opposed to more modern panchromatic film. 

 

Ortho film - originated in the 1870s - was sensitised with silver halide crystals which were blue-sensitive. It tended to record blue skies as white but couldn't register red light, so anything coloured red would be resolved once a negative was printed as black. Dr Fred grasped the notion instantly, then spread his huge hands - they were really big - and beamed "Hey Doug! That's perfect!"  

 

"Listen, I'm Italian.  Would an Italian racer worth his salt wanna be seen in a discreet, dark, maroon race car?  No way!  He'd wanna be in a bright red flaring race car - making a statement - Hey, look at me - I am Nuvolari! I am Campari!  I am Fagioli!  And YOU better believe it..."

 

 

Rest in peace Fred.  My thoughts right now are with this remarkable man's family and many, many friends throughout the worlds of medicine and competition motoring...

 

DCN



#3 DCapps

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Posted 12 June 2022 - 23:46

Oh, no. Not really unexpected, but still...

 

I will definitely miss my chats with Fred, a truly generous and genuinely nice person to spend time with...



#4 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 16:38

The founder of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia

 

https://simeonemuseu...ss-of-our-hero/



#5 Emery0323

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 19:17

Very sad news!  His museum shows the good taste he had in automotive subject matter, not to mention the financial resources needed to make it happen.



#6 Graham Gauld

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 09:51

As Doug says he was a truly remarkable man. I only met him once, at the 10th annual congress of world motor museums held in Modena. I was able to give him some information on two of his cars that I knew well. One was the Hugh Hunter 2.9 Alfa Romeo that at one time was owned by Lord Doune and the other was the Aston Martin DBR 1 that Jim Clark and Roy Salvadori ran at le Mans and was owned, at the time,  by Border Reiviers. The car was the one which caught fire in the pits at Goodwood during the TT and driven by Stirling Moss.

 

His speech at the conference concerned his passion for originality, dents and all, and the plan had always been for Jane and I to visit him at the Museum and meet his daughter to whom he was devoted but sadly it did not happen.  

 

A true gentleman whose museum truly is a historical legend.



#7 mariner

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 10:47

No disrespect at al to Dr Simeone as he has been a great collector and enthusiast but when I went to the Philadelphia museum a few years ago I was slightly disappointed at the starkness of it inside.

 

Didn't detract from the wonderful cars for me but as place for a casual visitor it seemed to fall well behind places like the Haynes museum and certainly the Collier and Petersen ones.

 

Howevr I do appreciate that his financial resources might have been more limited than the corporate money of Haynes and Petersen 



#8 Emery0323

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 05:29

Going forward, I hope the museum's financial endowment is strong enough to keep it going.  So many other impressive museum collections of road and racing cars have been auctioned, scattered, etc to a degree that the cars are no longer viewable by the public.  Harrah's, Rossobianco (sp?), Donington collection, etc to name just a few have been liquidated or drastically diminished.  The Collier collection was off-limits to the public for a long time, though I understand it's now accessible again on a limited basis.



#9 d j fox

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 18:25

Very sad I was at the Ford GT 40 presentation at the Museum in the 4th June when they announced that the good Doctor was not well.RIP to a true enthusiast
The Museum has a great collection of cars but as Mariner states the venue is not glitzy and it’s in a slightly dodgy area of Philly not far from the airport … that said well worth a visit though

#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 20:35

Dr Fred expressed himself very happy with the venue of his museum because he wanted to encourage an interest in young people from unfavoured backgrounds onto which they could hopefully latch and which would give them a positive lifelong focus.  He liked to engage and involve young people in the interest which had illuminated his own life.  He saw saving life as a responsibility which he could fulfil through more than conventional medical means.  

 

He was, as I have said before, an admirable man.

 

DCN



#11 klemcoll

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 21:18

It ws a great pleasure to have many conversations with Fred Simeone over many years. He was always fantastically helpful. When I first met him he was still working and told me to call him in his offie at 2 A.M. which was when he would be free from his medical work. That was but one indication of his commitment to his patients, and his love of talking about cars. At that time it was long before the creation of his museum when his cars were stored on a whole floor (and well secured) of the parking garage next to the hospital where he worked. When you came up to his floor the cars were parked around hedge of the large floor facing in to a small glass windowed worksop building in the center . Fred said that way i can look at them all when I am working on one.

 

What a wonderful guy!



#12 red stick

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Posted 17 June 2022 - 12:04

No disrespect at al to Dr Simeone as he has been a great collector and enthusiast but when I went to the Philadelphia museum a few years ago I was slightly disappointed at the starkness of it inside.

 

Didn't detract from the wonderful cars for me but as place for a casual visitor it seemed to fall well behind places like the Haynes museum and certainly the Collier and Petersen ones.

 

Howevr I do appreciate that his financial resources might have been more limited than the corporate money of Haynes and Petersen 

As far as the presentation goes, given the fact that he keeps his cars running, I suspect the money went into the cars.  I've been twice, once when the museum personnel were preparing a car for the weekend run through the parking lot, and it's a wonderful experience.



#13 mariner

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Posted 17 June 2022 - 15:54

I must add that although I  found the museum a  bit stark the entry prices were very low versus many other museums = about $10 or $11 IIRC.

 

Hopefully ti can be kept going as it is such a  great collection.