Tag Archives: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum

Visiting Indianapolis’ automotive sites

Over the years I have developed Indianapolis Auto Tours to visit the city’s numerous automotive sites. I would like to share some of the highlights.

In the afternoon, we could kick-off our celebration at the James A. Allison and Frank H. Wheeler’s mansions along millionaire row on the Marian University campus. Let’s look inside these 100 year-old time capsules of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, automotive, and transportation founders.

Allison Mansion
Allison Mansion

Next, we’ll continue with an Auto Pioneer Burial Site Tour at Crown Hill Cemetery nestled along the Dixie Highway. Auto pioneers Carl G. Fisher and Louis Schwitzer are buried on Strawberry Hill near James Whitcomb Riley, President Benjamin Harrison, and Eli Lilly.

Later, we’ll tour the Stutz Motor Car Company complex on Capitol Avenue to view some automobiles built in the building from 1912 -1935. Building proprietor Turner J. Woodard has autos ranging from a Stutz Bearcat to a Stutz Pak-Age-Car.

On the next morning, we’ll go on an Auto Pioneers Tour visiting some mansions along Meridian Street and Fall Creek Parkway. We then continue along Indianapolis’ Automobile Row on North Capitol and auto manufacturing sites around the belt railroads circling the city.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum

After lunch, we’ll go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum to see Fisher’s custom-built 1905 Premier racer designed for the Vanderbilt Cup Race and the Fisher-era Stoddard-Dayton. Our afternoon will finished up by touring by the Prest-O-Lite and Allison Engineering factories on Main Street in Speedway.

It is interesting how this part of Indianapolis’ business and social heritage started over 120 years ago when Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, and Arthur C. Newby met while being members of the Zig-Zag Cycling Club during the 1890’s bicycle craze. Their friendships went on to form the genesis for ventures like the Fisher Automobile Company, Prest-O-Lite Company, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Lincoln Highway, the Dixie Highway, the development of Miami Beach, Allison Engineering Company, Allison Transmission, Indianapolis Stamping Company (the predecessor of today’s Diamond Chain Company), and National Automobile Company. These men and their ideas have brought employment and enjoyment to tens of thousand’s of individuals through the years.

I invite you to contact me at Indianapolis Auto Tours to customize your visit Indianapolis’ automotive sites.

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

My Proposed Indiana Automotive Heritage Corridor Tour

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.”

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

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.

Hall of Fame Museum
Hall of Fame Museum

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.

Studebaker National Museum
Studebaker National Museum

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.