On a trip to the Gilmore Car Museum, and I was reminded that it has to be one of the top car museums in the country. Over the years, the Gilmore has grown from a car collection displayed in a number of huge barns to a 14-building campus exhibiting cars from the early 1900s through the 1960s.
Exhibits and collections include:
• Classic Car Club of America Museum
• Pierce-Arrow Museum
• Franklin Collection
• Cadillac-LaSalle Club Museum
• Model A Ford Museum
• Lincoln Motorcar Museum
• Tucker Historical Collection
• Checker Motors Archive
You experience our automotive heritage In addition to the cars themselves by visiting:
• 1930’s Shell Gas Station
• 1941 George & Sally’s Blue Moon Diner
• One of North America’s largest hood ornament and mascot collections
• 1967 Disney movie magic from “The Gnome-Mobile”
• Kalamazoo – The Other Motor City
Your experience starts in the Gilmore Heritage Center, which includes six galleries beginning with a model of Ford Motor Company’s Highland Park assembly line and then moves to cars built by Auburn, Duesenberg, Packard, and Rolls-Royce, plus others. Another gallery shows Chevrolet Corvettes, Shelby Cobras, and Hostetler’s Hudson Collection. The 1900’s & 1910’s gallery features examples from a 1903 “Curved Dash” Oldsmobile, a range of Ford Model T’s, an original-unrestored 1912 Cadillac showing 1380 miles. The 1950’s to 1960’s gallery included a 1957 Chevrolet convertible, a 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, and a 1963 Studebaker Avanti, and the Franklin Collection highlights America’s premier air-cooled car.
The Model A Ford Museum is a recreation of a 1929 Ford dealership complete with vintage gas pumps, a service bay, and a parts department sharing the story of the iconic Model A. It was interesting to see that Indianapolis had one of the 35 branch assembly plants during this era. I especially enjoyed the cut-away engine and chassis display.
The 1897 Campania barn features autos from the 1930’s and 1940’s, including a 1934 Chrysler Airflow, a 1936 Lincoln-Zephyr, a 1937 Studebaker Coupe Express truck, a 1940 Lincoln Continental, and a 1946 Stout Scarab. The Cadillac-LaSalle Collection features cars from the 1910’s through the 1960’s.
The Pierce-Arrow Museum gives an overview of the namesake’s automobiles between 1901 and 1938. Some paint is flaking off the unrestored 1931 Model 41 Limousine. That is not necessarily bad, because it gives us a view of aluminum body construction of the era.
The hood ornament and mascot collections are housed in two buildings. This has to be one of the most comprehensive collections around. The Classic Car Club of America Museum highlights cars of the classic era, including Indiana-built offerings Auburn, Cord, Studebaker, Stutz and Marmon.
At the 1930’s Shell gas station a service attendant was explaining a “full-service” gasoline stop on a 1931 DeSoto four-door sedan to a group of school children. This was a blast from the past. I believe the pedal car collection had an example of most every pedal car offered.
We stopped at the restored George & Sally’s Blue Moon Diner for lunch and an afternoon snack. I had a Coney dog for lunch and blueberry pie for my snack. It was like stepping back to that era of unhurried travel food across America.
I heartedly recommend visiting the Gilmore Car Museum to celebrate our car culture. Check it out for part of a day or spend a longer time for a total automotive heritage experience. Every time you visit, it is new.
For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.