Hudson museum friends have 3 more months for funding plan

Hostetler’s Hudson Collection has received a 90-day reprieve from the possible auctioning off of what many consider the nation’s best collection of cars produced by the historic automaker.

The late Eldon Hostetler assembled nation's best collection of Hudsons | Larry Edsall photo

The late Eldon Hostetler assembled nation’s best collection of Hudsons | Larry Edsall photo

Hostetler’s Hudson Collection has received a 90-day reprieve from the possible auctioning off of what many consider to be the nation’s best collection of cars produced by the historic American automaker.

A group known as the Friends of the Shipshewana Hudson Automobile Museum were granted a 90-day extension last week, town manager Bob Shanahan told ClassicCar News.

“They’ve asked for a 90-day extension and it was granted,” Shanahan said. “They are trying to put together in more detail a comprehensive financial plan to relieve the town and the Hudson museum board from the fiscal responsibility of running the museum.”

The museum was based on the Hudson collection of the late Eldon Hostetler, who died last year. His widow, Esta, died in May 2017. Almost immediately, there was talk of closing the museum and selling off the cars, especially with the loss of some $150,000 a year in support from the county’s innkeeper tax.

Shipshewana is a community of less than 1,000 residents in northwestern Indiana but has built a strong tourist industry based on its Amish and Mennonite heritage.

Without that money, the museum would be hard-pressed to remain open based on its annual income of less than $25,000 from visitor admissions. Meanwhile, the car collection has been appraised at more than $4 million.

“The cars were given as a legacy gift to this community, and it is my intent, and my belief and my hope that we can keep those cars here in the town of Shipshewana,” Friends leader and local business owner Joanna King told the Goshen (Ind.) News.

But, she added, “We do not want the museum to be a tax burden to the residents of Shipshewana.”

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3 Comments

  • Frank Hunt
    July 31, 2017, 3:28 PM

    Is there a list of the Hudson cars in the museum?

    REPLY
  • Frank Comstock
    July 31, 2017, 5:17 PM

    So sad. I wrote an article about this museum in 2016 for Hemmings and truly enjoyed the four or so hours I spent there. Eldon’s son, JR, was very gracious and told me stories about almost all of the cars. His father had gathered the cars from all over the country, restored some, just cleaned some, and drove many of them over time. Several of the cars were in regular use in parades and ceremonies in that part of Indiana. What really impressed me about this collection — and I admit to not being a Hudson expert — was the variety of bright colors on the cars. JR told me all the colors were authentic. I had no idea that Hudson had used such an array of colors up into the 1950s.

    I did not get to meet Eldon and I heard he died just weeks after I was there. I guess he was too sick for an interview when I visited. I consider myself lucky to have visited and even luckier to be able to photograph the collection and then write about it.

    I wish the friends of the museum the best of luck in raising funds. This collection needs to stay together.

    REPLY
  • Tim Lowman
    July 31, 2017, 6:41 PM

    I cannot believe it cost $8 million to build the building the collection is in, and why was it sold to some one for $3million? Sounds like someone’s in someone’s pocket to me.

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