One of my favorite automotive sites, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, has been named one of the “Fab 5 Automobile Destinations” by Old Cars Weekly and one of “America’s Greatest Automobile Museums” by Autoweek Magazine. This echoes my many recommendations over the years.
Old Cars Weekly says “the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is to the hobby as the Sistine Chapel is to Vatican City.” The article praises the work of the Auburn Automobile Company while pointing out that after touring the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, guests can take a few more steps back in time at the adjacent National Auto and Truck Museum. Here the company prepared the Cord L-129 models.
I believe the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is a unique place. It is one of the first museums built in an original automotive administration building. Much of the heritage of the Auburn Automobile Company took place on this site. Guests get a chance to walk the hallways and view the offices, drawings, and clay models created by Gordon Buehrig, Alan Leamy, and savvy entrepreneur E.L. Cord. Visitors get an overview of these marvels from concept to design through completion of a mechanical masterpiece.
Whenever someone asks me what are my favorite auto museums, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is one of the first ones I mention. If you ever plan a trip to the midwest, I recommend a visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. Put it on your Bucket List today.
For more information on our automotive heritage, follow this link.
With fall just around the corner, I would like to offer two automotive experiences for your consideration.
I believe the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is one of America’s automotive treasures. This Car Crazy video of the Auburn museum is a great brochure. This clip distills the essence of the museum into a great video experience.
Anyone interested in collector cars has to visit the ACDAM in person. Even though the museum focuses on Indiana-build autos, it provides a great overview of the country’s golden automotive age. I’ve been there a number of times and still find something new each visit. If you plan to travel in the upper mid-west, I strongly encourage you to visit the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum.
If you enjoy touring along America’s two-lane highways like I do, I recommend traveling along the Lincoln Highway. The Lincoln Highway is the country’s first transcontinental highway running some 3,389 miles across 11 states from New York’s Times Square to Lincoln Park in San Francisco.
This historical documentary video developed by the Harrison County Welcome Center outside of Missouri Valley, Iowa, provides a glimpse of this great road. Highway travel 100 years ago was quite perilous with most inter-city roads being unimproved.
Indianapolis native, Carl G. Fisher proposed building a coast-to-coast rock highway in the fall of 1912, and America’s lifestyle has never been the same. Even though most the sections of the Lincoln Highway have been bypassed by the Eisenhower Interstate System, travel today along the route provides an excellent experience of a bygone era.
Efforts by the Lincoln Highway Association and other entities have marked the route and provided other interpretive resources to ensure today’s travelers are able to encounter this automotive icon. Some enthusiasts have traveled the Lincoln end-to-end in one trip. Others like me, check it out in sections, one-at-a-time.
If you are looking for an automotive double-hitter, why not check out the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum and then drive about 30 miles south to Fort Wayne and start your trek west across the Lincoln Highway in Indiana to Dyer.
I invite you to check these two automotive experiences.
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.”
“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.”
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.
For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.
My vote for the best automotive festival hands down, is the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival over Labor Day Weekend in Auburn, Indiana. Events start on the Sunday preceding Labor Day weekend and continue through the following Sunday.
My first exposure to the ACD Festival was over 40 years ago when we attended the auction and swap meet. All of the festivities almost overloaded my budding automotive enthusiasm. Indiana’s automotive marvels were everywhere I looked.
The festival started over 60 years ago as an annual gathering of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club and morphed into one of the largest gatherings of car-crazy enthusiasts on the planet. Festival events kick off with the annual ACD Annual Garage Cruise on Sunday August 28th. The Annual ACD Festival Hoosier Tour is on Tuesday, August 30th through Thursday. Events planned for Thursday, September 1st, include the Kick-Off Luncheon and the Annual Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum Benefit Extravaganza. Friday continues the fun with a Pancake Breakfast, ACD Club Swap Meet, Vintage Treasure Sale, Ice Cream Social, and the Downtown Cruise-in.
“The Parade of Classics,” is one of the premiere festival events in my opinion. This is when nearly 300 cars from the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club drive through Auburn from Eckhart Park up Jackson Street to Courthouse Square at 1:00 pm on Saturday, September 3rd. ACD Club members from around the world drive their magnificent classic cars through the streets of Auburn. These beautifully painted, chrome-laden Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs are a sight you’ll want to see. After the parade, these classics are parked around the Courthouse Square for your viewing pleasure. If you can only do one thing over the weekend, the parade is my pick. Other Saturday options include the 5K Run, and the Gatsby Gala Ball.
Some Sunday events are the Annual Arts and Crafts Show, and Auburn Historic Tour.
Bookending the festival is the Auctions America Auburn Fall Collector Car Weekend starting on the Wednesday before Labor Day. This event features hundreds of cars that range from one-of-a-kind models to daily drivers. If you are looking for auction bargains, show-up early on Wednesday because the interest builds towards Sunday.
I’ve been to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival numerous times and always find new events to enjoy. Plus, there are events for those interested in things other than automobiles. It’s a great weekend for the whole family. I invite you to check it out.
For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.
Here are my thoughts on what should be on the Indiana Automotive Heritage Corridor tour. First up would be Auburn with the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, the National Automobile and Truck Museum of the United States, and the Early Ford V-8 Foundation & Museum. Next would be the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Just up the road a little bit is the Kokomo Automotive Museum. The corridor would finish up at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend. The last two stops on the tour give the visitor a glimpse of the start and end of Indiana’s first generation auto manufacturers.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is the only auto museum occupying an original factory showroom and administration building. The art-deco structure was built in 1930 for the Auburn Automobile Company and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. MSNBC has named the museum one of the “Top Ten Gearhead Destinations in the United States.”
I always enjoy finding new treasures during my visits to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. Everyone I recommend it to agree with my accolades for this Indiana automotive gem. You should be sure to visit ACDAM on any trip to Indiana.
The next door north of the ACDAM is the National Automobile and Truck Museum of the United States in the original Auburn Automobile Company service building and experimental building. NATMUS displays outstanding examples of postwar cars and trucks ranging from 1907 to modern concepts.
The newest addition to the Auburn automotive scene is the Early Ford V-8 Foundation & Museum just west of the south I-69 interchange. The museum highlights the flathead V-8 era of Ford history with engines, transmissions, a dashboard collection, showroom banners, and “cut-a-way” models. The museum has enough fantastic Ford items to keep you exploring for some time.
Next it’s time to head south on I-69 and then west on I-465 to Crawfordsville Road and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The HOFM is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Race days are celebrated 363 days a year at the museum. The museum features history-making racecars going back to Louis Chevrolet’s 1909 Cobe Cup winning car, all the way up to today’s 200-mph record breakers. Museum special collections include an original garage area façade, the trophy collection, and other rotating exhibits. The museum is inside the famed oval, so make sure you visit the Louis Chevrolet Memorial just west of the museum entrance. Then take a tour around the track (when available).
Back on the road again, go north from Indianapolis on U.S. 31 to the Kokomo Automotive Museum. The museum celebrates the “City of Firsts” being home to Elwood Haynes, who built one of America’s first gasoline-powered automobiles in 1894. In addition to antique autos, KAM displays include a recreation of an early auto machine shop, vintage advertising, and a 1950’s era diner and service station diorama.
We’ll finish up our trip on the corridor further north at the Studebaker National Museum at 201 S. Chapin Street, in South Bend. The museum honors one of America’s most esteemed independent automobile manufacturers. SNM traces Studebaker’s transportation heritage from 1852 through 1966. Seventy vehicles in the collection are displayed at any time ranging from presidential carriages and bullet-nose beauties to experimental cars. The SNM archives across the street provide a wealth of historical information for Studebaker, Packard, and several local businesses.
This tour on my proposed Indiana Automotive Heritage Corridor provides a look at Indiana’s rich car culture that continues today. I hope to see you somewhere along the corridor.
For more information on Indiana auto museums follow this link.