Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum Celebrates 42 years

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is celebrating a milestone this year – its 42nd year of being open to the public! This National Historic Landmark opened its doors on July 6, 1974, at noon. Since opening, it has welcomed over two million visitors. Each year the museum welcomes visitors from every state and over 40 countries.

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is the only automobile museum in the world that inhabits the original international headquarters building of the cars on display. “This is where the history happened,” said Kendra Klink, Chief Operating Officer of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. “Visitors can walk the same hallways, be inspired by the same beautiful art deco architecture as the design legends that created the rolling sculptures on display. To have this gem in Auburn, Indiana – our community’s backyard – is exciting and worth celebrating.”

1936 Cord convertible coupe
1936 Cord convertible coupe
Copyright © 2011 Dennis E. Horvath

“A lot has changed since the museum opened its doors to the public in 1974, including the integration of interactive touchscreen kiosks at selected automobiles, a photo car for the entire family to get into, a design gallery where children of all ages can design an automobile, and much more,” said executive director Laura Brinkman. “With all of these innovations and changes, one thing that has not changed is the museum’s dedication to promoting Auburn’s legendary automotive heritage on a national level. A visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum should be on your family’s ‘To-Do’ list for the holiday weekend. I can guarantee you that your entire family will leave the museum with happy memories.”

I first visited the museum a few years after it opened, and I was mesmerized by the stories of these autos. In fact, this visit started my quest to collect information and memorabilia about Indiana-built automobiles. In 1994, I attended an automotive history conference at the museum celebrating Indiana’s automotive centennial. This museum event kindled my interest in celebrating Indiana’s car culture, which continues today.

I have visited the museum many times over the past 42 years, and I can say that every time is a new experience. One thing I particularly enjoy is visiting the design gallery and seeing the clay sculpture of Gordon Buehrig’s masterpiece, the Cord Model 810. This can be truly called rolling sculpture. I enjoy visualizing Buehrig and the other designers working on this design that the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1951 recognized “as the outstanding American contribution to automobile design.”

1919 Cole Aero Eight TourSedan
1919 Cole Aero-Eight TourSedan
Copyright © 2011 Dennis E. Horvath

I also enjoy the two other namesakes of the museum, Auburn and Duesenberg. I don’t believe there is anywhere else in the world that has finer examples of these automotive icons. The Cars of Indiana Gallery is another special place that includes an 1894 Black prototype, a 1919 Cole Aero-Eight TourSedan, and a 1932 Studebaker President.

As I have said many times before, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is a must see destination for every automotive enthusiast. Happy birthday Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum.

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