Noteworthy US Car Museums

There are quite good automobile museums in the USA which are well worth a visit for a car enthusiast.

For you West coast enthusiasts, Reno Nevada is home to The National Automobile Museum which is actually a really official sounding name for William Harrah’s favorite cars. Yes, Harrah, the casino mogul, personally selected 200 cars from his private collection to share with the rest of the world. He has enough of them to display as four authentic street scenes, each representing 25 years of automobile history throughout the 20th century. There are also movie cars like James Dean’s Mercury from Rebel Without a Cause, and movie stars’ cars that were owned by legends like Jack Benny and Frank Sinatra.

Deerfield Village, Michigan hosts a giant 12 acre museum located right next to the Ford headquarters, aptly named The Henry Ford Museum. Hundreds of cars are on display there along with corresponding media to help put their historical significance into context for visitors. Actual photographs, original advertising and newspaper articles accompany most of the displays. One of the stars of the show is a 1909 Model T. For those of you that know your car history, you know that’s where it all began for American road cars. And, if you’ve ever wondered what happened to the original Weinermobile when it was retired, wonder no more. It’s nestled safe and sound in the Henry Ford Museum.

If you are a Corvette owner or even just a fan and have not made a trip to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, you now have another entry on your bucket list. Since 1981, every Corvette produced has rolled off the line in Bowling Green. Visitors to the museum can also opt for a factory tour to get a first hand glimpse of where the magic happens. In the museum, the displays rotate on a regular basis, but you can always see several rare editions and concepts that never made it to production. The rarest Vette of all is showcased there, the only 1983 model Corvette in existence. By the time the design team finished tweeking it for production, the 1984 models were already being introduced – so there’s only one. The museum doesn’t only offer displays to ogle, it also offers a chance for visitors to participate in mock pit crew exercises in the racing section.

You can’t have a discussion about American cars and not mention the Corvette. It is a solid player in the history of American automobiles, and deservingly has a museum built in Bowling Green, Kentucky to honor it. The National Corvette Museum offers up some of the rarest Corvettes in existence today, including the rarest of them all, the only 1983 Corvette ever produced. Why was there only one you ask? Well, that’s because by the time the engineers finished fine-tuning the design, the 1984 models were already being introduced to the public, so the ’83 never made it to production. Museum visitors can participate in mock pit crew activities like changing tires and re-fueling a race car, and factory tours are also available if you’d like to see exactly where the magic happens.

So there you have it, just a select few of the museums scattered around the United States featuring the four wheeled addictions that so many of us have. If you live near any of these awesome museums, or will be traveling toward them in the future, be sure to stop by and check them out. Or, if you’re a true motorsports fan, make them the center of your vacation plans – it’s certainly a worthy excuse for a multi-stop cross country adventure!


About this entry