The Estrella Warbirds Museum & Woodland Auto Display in Paso Robles, CA

The Estrella Warbirds Museum & Woodland Auto Display, in Paso Robles, California.

The Estrella Warbirds Museum & Woodland Auto Display, in Paso Robles, California.

On a recent extended weekend vacation, I travelled north along the California coast to the small town of Paso Robles. Located in the heart of the exploding wine making industry in San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles has grown as well. This old downtown boasts many top notch restaurants and shops, befitting the town’s status as a vacation destination, drawing from southern California through the Bay Area. And, while I came here to enjoy the wine, and unwind, I also discovered a hidden gem.

A fine example of a F-86 Sabre jet fighter, by North American Aviation.

A fine example of a F-86 Sabre jet fighter, by North American Aviation.

Located a few miles east of Paso Robles, at the airport just off of highway California 46, you will find the Estrella Warbirds Museum & Woodland Auto Display. For just $10 ($6 kids, $8 seniors, free for active service members), you are able to explore the displays on a self-guided, take as long as you want tour. Paso Robles is located in valley, inland from the coast, so temperatures there can can easily be 90-100+ from spring through fall, so dress and plan accordingly.

A F-104 Starfighter, in NASA livery.

A F-104 Starfighter, in NASA livery.

There’s a good number of the aircraft on display that were rescued from destruction, and are in passable shape. That’s for full-disclosure, it did not detract from my experience. There are a lot of planes here you don’t see at many other air museums. A6 Prowlers, MB 326 (an Italian fighter), etc.

Restoring the C-47 Skytrain.

Restoring the C-47 Skytrain.

Estrella Warbirds is a ‘working’ air museum, where several of the displays are flight-ready, and many others are under-going active restoration or maintenance. As a visitor, you are able to get right up and see what they are working on. Good fun.

These Beechcraft 18's have such beautiful lines.

These Beechcraft 18’s have such beautiful lines.

In addition to the wonderful aircraft displays, Estrella Warbird’s also features a very nice exhibit of military hardware that stays on the ground. From APC’s and jeeps, to cannon and other artillery, there is even a section dedicated to old 40’s-60’s military communications and computer hardware. It’s a lot to see.

An old cannon on display at Estrella Warbirds.

An old cannon on display at Estrella Warbirds.

A towable recoilless rifle.

A towable recoilless rifle.

For the same $10 entry, there is also the amazing Woodland Auto Display, featuring some absolutely sunning automobiles, motorcycles, race cars and more.

A beautiful example of the Mercedes Benz SL300 'Gullwing'.

A beautiful example of the Mercedes Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’.

Woodland has so many outstanding displays, but I am a total sucker for the 300SL, and the one they have is gorgeous.

Woodland's 300SL, profile.

Woodland’s 300SL, profile.

Woodland's 300SL, interior.

Woodland’s 300SL, interior.

Turn around from the Gullwing, and, boom, there’s a drop-dead Jaguar Mark V, simply stunning.

The Jaguar Mark V.

The Jaguar Mark V.

Oh, hey, and a mirror-white 1964 Jaguar XKE convertible too? Nice…

The Jaguar Series 2 E-Type, or XKE.

The Jaguar Series 2 E-Type, or XKE.

Between the Jags, was a Ford GT, but, I really loved this little Austin-Healey roadster.

The 1962 Austin-Healey Sports Car.

The 1962 Austin-Healey Sports Car.

Stepping back in time a little further, you’ll find this incredible, immaculate, and too-many-other-superlatives-to-type Packard Model 733.

A prime example of the 1930 Packard Model 733 Club Sedan.

A prime example of the 1930 Packard Model 733 Club Sedan.

Not in quite as good shape, but still a wonderful example, is this Dodge Brothers Touring Car.

The 1925 Dodge Brothers Touring Car.

The 1925 Dodge Brothers Touring Car.

Crosley’s always looked liked a fun car, and this Crosley Pickup Truck is in showroom condition.

The 1949 Crosley Pickup Truck.

The 1949 Crosley Pickup Truck.

The crown-jewel of the collection, for me, is this unbelievable REO Speedwagon Camper. It is in ridiculously good shape.

The 1929 REO Speedwagon Camper.

The 1929 REO Speedwagon Camper.

The interior is solid wood, with a gas stove. It is an amazing work-of-art.

Inside the 1929 REO Speedwagon Camper.

Inside the 1929 REO Speedwagon Camper.

The drivers seat for the 1929 REO Speedwagon Camper.

The drivers seat for the 1929 REO Speedwagon Camper.

More than automobiles, Woodland Auto also has some outstanding motorcycles, and even some classic bicycles. This jaw-dropping Indian with a sidecar was once owned by Steve McQueen. Too cool.

The 1930 Indian Motorcycle with Sidecar.

The 1930 Indian Motorcycle with Sidecar.

As a kid, I would have wanted that space-age looking Schwinn.

As a kid, I would have wanted that space-age looking Schwinn, in the middle.

For the low price of admission, the Estrella Warbird Museum & Woodland Auto Display is a great value. Even if you just want to look at the plane or the cars, only, it’s still great. If you find yourself in the Paso Robles, or north San Luis Obispo County area, I recommend that you check it out.

The hood ornament and badging for the 1929 REO Speedwagon Camper.

The hood ornament and badging for the 1929 REO Speedwagon Camper.

 

Mike Knotts

Mike Knotts was born in 1968 in a small town in southern Indiana. Even when very young, Mike showed a love for all-things technical and sci-fi. Moving with his family to California in the early 80's, he eventually graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in History. Rather than put that to good use, Mike continued to pursue his passion for technology by working for early, regional ISP's in the mid 1990's. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where he works as a project manager for an Internet startup. Mike is a co-founder of Geekometry.

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