My Car Quest

March 29, 2020

The Top 10 Classic Car Museums in the US

by Scott Huntington –

Whether you’re planning a road trip or are just looking for somewhere to spend the afternoon, heading to a car museum or two can be a great way to learn about the history of the autos we drive and why we love them so much. With that in mind, here are the top 10 museums to add to your itinerary if you love classic cars.

1. Antique Automobile Club of America Museum

There is more to see in Hershey, Pennsylvania, than chocolate. The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum is home to some of the world’s rarest classic cars, like a 1948 Tucker automobile. There were only 36 of these cars made before the company shut down in 1949. The museum’s collection includes more than 150 vehicles that range from 1896 to 2000.

2. Muscle Car City Museum

If you ever find yourself in Punta Gorda, Florida, head to the Muscle Car City Museum. This 99,000-square-foot building used to be a Walmart and now houses more than 200 classic cars that date back to the 1950s through the 1970s. The cool thing about these vehicles is that they’re not just museum pieces. Every single auto in this museum is in running condition.

3. National Automobile Museum

William Harrah may be known for owning Harrah hotels and casinos, but he was also a car buff. His collection is home to more than 200 cars, including ones that were owned by celebrities like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and John Wayne. This museum even has the “Rebel Without a Cause” 1949 Mercury Eight that James Dean drove in the movie. If Reno is on your road trip map, be sure to visit.

4. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum

Can you get more classic than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? This museum is part car collection and part racing hall of fame. You can find everything here, from vintage cars and motorcycles to old timing and scoring equipment that race officials used to keep track of drivers.

5. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

You can’t talk about car museums without mentioning The Henry Ford Museum of Innovation. This attraction has everything from classic cars to modern marvels, and even vehicles that have starred in movies. It’s a celebration of innovation dating back to Henry Ford and the first vehicles that rolled off his assembly line. This museum is more that just cars, and has something for everyone.

6. Lane Motor Museum

This massive collection exists in what used to be a Sunbeam Bakery and now includes cars that date back to the 1920s. There are a lot of unique vehicles in the collection as well, including amphibious autos that can go safely in the water and even a model that can fold in half. You’ll find things here that you won’t see anywhere else, and it’s a great stop if you’re ever in Nashville, Tennessee.

7. National Corvette Museum

Is there anything better than a classic Corvette? How about 70 of them under the same roof? That’s what you’ll find at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It’s got everything from one of the original 1953 Vettes to the only 1983 model still in existence. You can even drive one around a virtual racetrack if you want to get behind the wheel.

8. Cussler Museum

Arvada, Colorado, might not be your first choice when you’re planning a road trip, but if you love vintage cars that range in age from the 1900s to the mid-1960s, it might be a good idea to add it to your itinerary. The museum was opened by author Clive Cussler and includes things like a 1930s Packard Speedster 8 Runabout, which is currently its featured automobile.

9. Petersen Automotive Museum

You won’t find a more unique building than the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. On the outside, it looks like the building is surrounded by massive silver flames. On the inside, it’s filled with classic cars, motorcycles, concept cars and everything in between.

10. LeMay โ€” America’s Car Museum

This is easily one of the biggest museums on our list. It’s home to more than 350 classic cars, racing memorabilia and everything in between. If you’re ever in Tacoma, Washington, โ€” or even in Seattle, if you don’t mind the drive โ€” make a trip to see this mind-blowing collection.

Which classic car museum do you want to go to first?

With this list at your fingertips, where do you want to go first? Are you planning a road trip so you can see all of them at once? Whatever you do, all these places are musts for car enthusiasts.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 
 
Scott Huntington

 
THE AUTHOR: Scott Huntington is an automotive journalist from Harrisburg, PA. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington or check out his site, Off The Throttle.
 
 

Bizzarrini Manta at Petersen Museum

Bizzarrini Manta and Lamborghini Miura at the Petersen Automotive Museum

Summary
The Top 10 Classic Car Museums in the US
Article Name
The Top 10 Classic Car Museums in the US
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This is a list and summary of the ten best classic car museums in the USA.
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Comments

  1. Here is a teaser of The Brother’s Collection in Salem Oregon that hopefully will be open in the next few months.

  2. another

  3. and another

  4. Which museum is the Biz Manta in?

  5. In the mid eighties I was in Detroit to shoot a series of ads for Saturn. On a day off we visited the Ford museum. A fun and interesting place with a wide varied collection of Americana. The two displays that still stand out is the rocking chair Lincoln was sitting in when shot and only a few steps away the Lincoln convertible Kennedy was in when shot.

    A museum worth at least a day.

  6. Jack Koobs de Hartog says

    As far as I know the Manta is in a private collection in Switzerland now.

  7. David Schultz says

    How does one overlook the Gilmore Car Museum and its partner museums?–the Classic Car Club of America Museum, Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum, Pierce-Arrow Museum, Cadillac-LaSalle Museum, H. H. Franklin Museum and Ford Model A Museum. One of the finest–and largest–automobile museum complexes in the world.

  8. Robert Feldman says

    There are so many great museums to include in the list, but I feel the Simeone Museum is well worth mentioning. Dr. Simeone has assembled one of the greatest collections of rare and significant sports cars I have ever seen. This is one of the only museums that conducts “Demo Days” where they build on a particular theme for the day and Dr. Simeone will lecture about the theme inside the Great Hall before they take the cars outside for a live demonstration and drive them around his very large rear lot. If you are a Ferrari guy like me, you don’t want to miss the Ferrari Demo Days. You will see his 58 Testa Rossa, William Holden’s 375MM, and “Guest” Ferraris that rotate through the museum you would be hard pressed to see anywhere else! Very cool place.

  9. John R Wetzig says

    Amen to Simeone. Also, REVS in Florida.

  10. James Van Lenten says

    A museum with different makes would be more interesting then just one make in my opinion. Although the ACD & Mullin Museums are worthwhile visits and the Gillmore Museum is very diversified. Somewhat difficult to determine which are the best as we all have somewhat different interests.

  11. Fred Levine says

    Garlits museum in ocala fla, a good one too.

  12. What about the largest auto museum in North America : the Gilmore museum???

  13. What about the Merle Norman San Sylmar Collection? It is fantastic!

  14. How about the joint in Naples Florida ?

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