My Car Quest

April 24, 2024

Event: Cobras at the Lyon Air Museum

by Wallace Wyss –

The idea of having a car show at an aircraft museum is a natural but I didn’t realize how natural until recently when I went to the third annual Shelby tribute at the Lyon Air Museum in Tustin, in California’s Orange County.

Lyon Air Museum

Alas I didn’t identify the plane but being able to peer into the WWII bombers was exciting to me, a baby boomer.

Founded by Major General William Lyon, a major home builder in California, Lyon Air Museum is located on the west side of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. Lyon Air Museum is collocated with Martin Aviation, an award winning jet, turbo-prop and piston-powered aircraft repair facility established in 1923 by famed aviation pioneer Eddie Martin.

Lyon Air Museum

The owners were often willing to take you through their car explaining why they chose each gauge, etc.

The Lyon Air Museum exhibit is comprised of authentic aircraft, rare vehicles and related memorabilia, with emphasis on the defining event of the 20th century – World War II. I was even surprised by a Mercedes officer staff car, a model with six wheels that’s more truck than car though it’s an open convertible.

I was so impressed by the planes I almost didn’t get out on the tarmac to see the cars. There were at least a dozen Cobras but even having written three books on the breed, I couldn’t spot the replicas. In Shelby Mustangs I saw some ’65 and ’66’s but few of the later ones. Most interesting was a Fairlane of a body style I didn’t remember but it was full racer inside.

Lyon Air Museum

I think this Cobra was smoking something … maybe only steam

Inside the Museum I was admiring not only the planes but reenactors wearing different WWII uniforms. Even one lady. Some had history books to document various incidents in the war. A little un-nerving were a Thompson submachine gun, a Luger and quite a few 45s.

Lyon Air Museum

I didn’t recognize this body style of Fairlane but the car had a lot of work in it, complete roll bar, etc.

So overall next time you hear of a car event at the Lyon, see if you can make it.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is co-host of Autotalk, a radio show broadcast weekly from KUCR FM Riverside.


Lyon Air Museum

None of the warplanes were outside but they do come out on occasions commemorating their wartime roles.

Lyon Air Museum

Photos by Wallace Wyss.

Event: Cobras at the Lyon Air Museum
Article Name
Event: Cobras at the Lyon Air Museum
I was so impressed at the Lyon Air Museum by the planes I almost didn't get out on the tarmac to see the cars. There were at least a dozen Cobras.


  1. Fred Connolly says

    Why would you find a Thompson, a Luger and a few .45s :unnerving”?

  2. wallace wyss says

    After Alec Baldwin’s on set accident while filming, I am wary of guns lying around on tables for fear someone with no gun experience will pick them up and pull the trigger accidentally. I would prefer they be tethered to the table, as I have seen at gun shows.

  3. “I am wary of guns lying around on tables for fear someone with no gun experience will pick them up and pull the trigger accidentally”.

    I did just that while visiting my father at his house about 40 years ago. His wife came home and pulled her pistol form her purse and laid it on the dining table. Shortly after that I walked by the table and picked up the pistol to have a look and accidentally squeezed the trigger as I picked it up. A bullet shot in the direction of the chair my father was sitting in, missing him by about a foot. I’ve never considered myself clumsy, quite the contrary, and yet in a moment it was almost the worst thing that I have ever done.

  4. … almost?

  5. I’m pretty sure that if that bullet had struck my father the word “almost” would not have been used.

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