Celebrating Indiana Car Culture in 2016

There are a number of ways to Celebrate Indiana Car Culture in 2016 during the Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration.

The folks at the Kokomo Automotive Museum (KAM) are presenting Kokomo Salutes Indiana’s Automotive Heritage 1894-1964 in September 5-11, 2016. It starts off with the “Hoosier Heritage Bicentennial Driving Tour” on September 5-8, followed by the “2016 Grand STuTZ” – Celebrate the “Car that made good in a day” – September 7-11, “Indiana Grand Classic”- Enjoy 50 Full Classic automobiles from motoring’s grandest era – September 8-10, “Haynes-Apperson Reunion”- See up to 50 Kokomo-built cars return to the “City of Firsts” – September 9-10, and the “Grand Indiana Bicentennial Motor Muster” See rare Indiana-built cars mingled with fine Full Classics and Milestone quality machines in a rolling park setting – September 11. This is a great selection of events for auto hobbyists.


Currently the “Hoosier Made-World Driven” exhibit is being hosted by three of Indiana’s leading transportation museums through October 3, 2016. This three part exhibit displays Indiana’s contribution to the evolution of the automobile from the 1890s to the 1930s. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Kokomo Automotive Museum, and Studebaker National Museum are partnering in this must see exhibit. The Studebaker National Museum features the “Brass Era” (c. 1900-1915); the Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum showcases the “Jazz Era” of the late ‘teens and early 1920s; and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum spotlights “Classic” cars of the 1930s “Classic Era”.

So, what other types of events and projects might involve the public at large and develop additional auto heritage resources?

One item might be tours of factory sites, auto pioneer homes, and other auto sites. KAM is doing this for Kokomo, and we have developed such a tour for these sites in Indianapolis. Perhaps other towns like Auburn, South Bend, and Richmond could do the same.

Another item might be developing experiential events with vintage cars. For instance the Model T Ford Museum in Richmond could host a demonstration of starting and operating one of its cars. One of the other auto museums could host an event featuring automotive styling through the years.

Another institution could create a repository of automotive artifacts for researchers and the general public. This collection might include books and videos featuring Indiana’s automotive heritage. Another collection might feature online resources to engage new automotive enthusiasts. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will celebrate the 100th running of the 500 this year, so maybe they will create a resource to celebrate that ties racing into the development of automobiles.

What thoughts do you have on celebrating Indiana’s car culture during the Bicentennial celebration in 2016? Let’s share our automotive heritage with future generations. I encourage you to jump in your favorite ride and “Hit the Highway to History.”

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

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