February 23, 2024


General will live on forever

Car museums in Auburn, Indiana, display classic vehicles


Visitors to the Auburn museum will have to decide for themselves which is more beautiful -- the building or the cars.

AUBURN, Ind. — Detroit was not normally the only “Motor Metropolis.” In the initially 50 percent of the 20th century, hundreds of auto marques were being developed in dozens of towns and cities across America’s industrial heartland.

Although Auburn, Indiana, no for a longer time creates cars, the town’s automotive background is, you may possibly say, a actual Duesy. And the city nonetheless celebrates — in a significant way — its heritage as 1 of the best producers of luxury motor cars in the 1920s and 1930s.

Just a a few-hour drive from Columbus in northeast Indiana, Auburn currently is household to 3 world-course automotive museums. 

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You do not need to be an fanatic of antique automobiles to be wholly dazzled by the collections on exhibit in Auburn. And the properties in which the museums are housed are practically as fascinating as the cars they contain.

Classic vehicles are lined up along the showroom window at the Auburn museum.

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Auto Museum

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Car Museum (www.automobilemuseum.org) is focused, as the title would recommend, to the Auburn, Wire and Duesenberg products created in Auburn by the Auburn Automobile Firm.

The museum is positioned in the unique automotive showroom inside what was the company’s world headquarters.

The headquarters was done in 1930 in the art deco-style, a style that also informed the structure of the streamlined, motorized beauties the firm marketed to discerning vehicle potential buyers.

The constructing, itself a Countrywide Historic Landmark, has been restored to its deco luster and would be worthy of going to even with out the dozens of typical automobiles — some just one of a form — that are on display on the showroom floor, just as they would have been when the developing was new.

Now the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, this art deco beauty was once the headquarters of the Auburn Automobile Company

In addition to the showroom, museum people will obtain a assortment of other displays on the a few degrees of the headquarters setting up, together with the business office of corporation president E.L. Twine.

Cord, an automotive visionary, took command of Auburn Car in 1926 and purchased Duesenberg a calendar year later. All through Cord’s tenure, Auburn generated some of the most iconic automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Other shows include things like the Early Auburns Gallery, showcasing cars and trucks created by the enterprise from 1903 till Cord’s ascension and a display of other early autos designed in other Indiana factories.

Hundred of classic vehicles like this 1931 GMC owned by a local Shell Oil distributor are displayed at the National Auto & Truck Museum.

National Automobile & Truck Museum

The Nationwide Auto & Truck Museum (www.natmus.org) is located immediately behind the Auburn Twine Duesenberg Museum in the former services and experimental properties of the Auburn Auto Enterprise.

The constructions, as when they had been crafted, are a lot more utilitarian than the ornate headquarters creating, but they are the perfect location to display the museum’s eclectic collection.

An art deco chandelier is one of many original ornaments decorating the former Auburn Automobile headquarters.

Amid the hundreds of autos are a huge assortment of vans and engines designed by Worldwide Harvester and Navistar common vehicles of the 1950s muscle mass cars and trucks of the 1960s and 1970s, an precise 1948 roadside diner moved inside the museum, and various prototypes and just one-of-a-type motor vehicles.

Also in the much larger museum is the collection of the National Automotive & Truck Design & Toy Museum, with hundreds of toy and design automobiles, including a huge display of antique pedal cars. 

Even the hood ornaments are works of art at the Auburn museum.

Ford V-8 Foundation

The Early Ford V-8 Foundation constructed its nationwide museum (www.fordv8foundation.org) in Auburn simply because of the other automotive museums already found there, claimed museum Government Director Joshua Conrad. 

The museum is devoted to 1932–53 Ford autos, which also replicate considerably of the art deco aesthetic of the age.

The centerpiece of the museum is a newly opened wing, together with a part resembling a more compact version of the Ford Rotunda pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. The original rotunda was later on moved to Ford’s Dearborn Michigan Headquarters, in which it served as a enterprise visitor middle until eventually it burned in 1962.

A 1936 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan gleams in the Ford museum as it would have in the showroom.

Nowadays, the first Ford Rotunda marquee welcomes people to the museum. The within of the new creating reproduces an upscale 1936 Ford seller showroom and displays associates of each and every Ford product for sale that yr.

Site visitors can even acquire a self-guided stroll for a 1936 showroom experience, finding out about the options crucial to many consumers of the period, and which vehicle would possible attractiveness to each individual consumer.

A father and son from a classic Ford campaign ogle a 1953 beauty at the Ford museum.

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Each and every vehicle, which seems to be as new as the working day it rolled off the factory ground, shines with an virtually heavenly gleam. The surfaces are so reflective that, without having care, each individual photo a customer will take of a motor vehicle can develop into an accidental selfie.

The museum involves several other displays and galleries, together with a large assortment of early Ford tractors.

Site visitors who want even much more outdated-automobile activities can time a visit to coincide with just one of Auburn’s lots of automotive-centered events, these types of as the Third Thursday Cruise-Ins held on the DeKalb County Courthouse Square.

This rainbow of classic Fords is one of many displays at the Ford museum.

And the once-a-year Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival (www.acdfestival.org), held about Labor Day weekend, draws in 1000’s of people from all-around the earth to a wide wide variety of antique automotive activities like parades, swap-satisfies, cruise-ins and a significant and renowned classic automobile auction.

For more info about other points to see and do in Auburn and DeKalb County, check out www.visitdekalb.org

Steve Stephens is a freelance journey writer and photographer. Email him at [email protected].


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