Still upset about the Microcar Museum in Madison, GA closing its doors forever? While that bit of historical treasure is lost forever, there are still a lot of fascinating car museums left in the US. Taking a road trip near any of these places? Here’s a brief overview of must visit museums.
National Corvette Museum
Attached to the Bowling Green, KY Corvette assembly plant, this museum is a must see for ‘vette owners and fans. Here you can view every single generation of the Corvette’s 60+ year history. In this collection sits the only 1983 Corvette ever made, race and pace cars, and a super rare ZR-1 convertible. The museum also offers a look at weird concept cars like the Aerovette and the Corvette Indy. The’50s themed café is an experience, and there are even plans to keep the sinkhole that damaged several ‘vettes. Possibly the coolest part is the factory tour right next door, where you can see the C7 assembled start to finish.
The Henry Ford Museum
This is more than just a collection of Fords, Mercurys, and Lincolns. Although there are plenty of those, this Dearborn, MI museum offers a broader look at car culture in American, and world, history. Here you’ll see automotive tie-ins, like the industrial innovations that led to the assembly line, auto culture leading to drive-thrus and drive-ins, and of course, related music. Sure, there are a ton of cars as well, but Henry Ford was big on education, and so is his museum. Especially don’t miss the Presidential Limousine exhibit that includes Kennedy’s Continental. The exhibits rotate throughout the seasons, so check back later to see what is new. Visit on the weekends, when they startup and idle the old timey cars.
Muscle Car City
The exact opposite of the classy Porsche museum in Germany, Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, FL is a uniquely American experience. Advertised as just muscle cars, the museum displays a host of American iron from the 1950s into the ‘70s. That age range covers first generation Corvettes and finned Impalas, up through Bandit Trans Ams and Endura bumpers. There are also race cars, antiques, memorabilia, and even the occasional modern muscle. There’s even a school bus monster truck. Why? Because Florida.
The Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen is probably the single best car museum in the US. There are 300,000 of display space, but even that is enough for only half the collection. The Petersen rotates the cars, sometimes bringing in loaners, and changes up the exhibits frequently. Currently, you can see Steve McQueen’s incredible Ferrari 275 GTB/4, 50 years of Ford Mustang history, the world’s creates sports coupes as picked by celebrity car enthusiasts, and a huge display of town cars (the style, not the bloaty Lincoln). If you are in LA for any reason, you owe it to yourself to visit this museum.