Heritage hubs: Italy gets a new car museum, so do Mustang owners

New Mustang Owner’s Museum opens in North Carolina on Mustang Day

In the mid-1960s, Fiat constructed Building 81 at its Mirafiori, Italy, assembly center to produce transmission parts. No longer needed for that purpose, the former mechanical workshop re-opened this month as the FCA Heritage Hub, showcasing more than 250 historic vehicles produced by Fiat, Lancia and Abarth. 

Showcased are eight groups of eight cars under the themes of:

•  Small and safe: Models that combined maximum safety with minimum dimensions.

•  Style marks: shows a series of “milestones” that left their visual mark on the history of motorcar design.

•  Epic journeys: Cars that made famous and unforgettable road journeys.

•  The rally era: Vehicles which have written glorious pages in the annals of the world of rallies.

•  Eco and sustainable: Innovation in sensitivity to environmental issues.

 •  Archistars: Technical masterpieces that introduced significant innovations in motorcar architecture in functionality or manufacture.

•  Concepts and fuoriserie: Special series or ultra-rare models, including one-offs and dream cars. 

•  Records and races: Legendary racing cars with prestigious victories, record-breakers and heroes.

An overview of the new FCA Heritage Hub museum in Italy | FCA photos

The building also will become the home of FCA Heritage, the automaker’s in-house restoration and restored-vehicle sales center. 

The opening of the Heritage Hub is the latest celebration of the company’s history. Last year, the former Dodge Viper assembly plant in Detroit was revitalized to house the Chrysler historical vehicle collection.

New Mustang Museum opens April 17

Mustangs are moving into the new museum | Museum photo

April 17 is Mustang Day, the anniversary of the introduction of Ford’s pony car in 1964. 

It will be celebrated at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in York Springs. The program starts at 9 a.m. at the AACA and after lunch moves to the racing museum.

But the big celebration takes place in Concord, North Carolina, where the Mustang Owner’s Museum plans to open at 9 a.m. with a display of 60 vehicles and a series of seminars, the seminars to be held April 17-19 at the nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway, where a Mustang car show also will take place each day through the 20th.

For more information, visit the museum website.

Exposition logo

New Hampshire museum hosts motor sports exposition

On May 4, the North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, hosts what it says will be “the most diverse regional gathering of historical race cars, mobile museums, personalities and artifacts ever seen in New England.” 

The event is the Historic Motor Sports Exposition and will be the first time the region’s mobile museums are all at one place. Those museums include Ron Bouchard Racing, New England Antique Racers, Maine Vintage Race Car Association, Bob Doyle Museum and Ollie Silva Museum. In addition, the ProNyne Motorsports Museum and Owls Head Transportation Museum will have displays.

NE museum president Dick Berggren will host interviews with such racers as two-time Busch North NASCAR champion Dick “the Irish Angel” McCabe and four-time Busch North champion Andy Santerre. 

Among the cars scheduled for display is the 1984 March Indycar driven by Danny Ongais.

Corvette museum sets 25th anniversary program

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, stages its 25th Corvette Caravan and museum anniversary celebration over the 2019 Labor Day weekend and has opened registration and announced the schedule of events. 

Groups of Corvette owners will caravan from various points around the country for the drive to Bowling Green, where activities begin Wednesday, August 28. Among those activities are driving tours, laps around the museum’s Motorsports Park, seminars, a Jefferson Starship concert, and the annual Corvette museum Hall of Fame induction.

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For details, visit the museum website.

‘Electric Revolution’ at the Petersen

Electric-powered motorcycles on display at the Petersen | Museum photo

The world’s first exhibit “dedicated exclusively to electric motorcycles” has opened at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibit features 21 machines. 

The exhibit was guest curated by Paul d’Orleans, co-founder of the Motorcycle Arts Foundation. The display was designed by Falcon Motorsports founder Ian Barry, features graphics by British artist Nicolai Sclater of Ornamental Conifer, and was produced by Sasha Tcherevkoff, co-founder of the Motorcycle Arts Foundation.

The exhibit closes in November.

Drive a Model T

Several car museums offer lessons in driving a Ford Model T, which is like learning to drive all over again because of its arcane clutch and shifting mechanism. 

Among those museums is the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which already has sold out two of its 2019 sessions but have openings remaining for these dates: June 26, July 17, August 10 and 24, September 7 and 15, October 19.

For details, visit the museum website.

Land acquired for new AACA Library

Artists rendering of the new AACA Library | Club photo

The 55,000-member Antiqu Automobile Club of America has closed on the purchase of land in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on which it will build a new club headquarters, relocate the AACA Library, which houses more than 2 million items, and for facilities to house the club’s car collection. 

“We are very excited to add another chapter to our 85-year history of helping to preserve automotive history,” club president Mel Carson was quoted in the announcement. “This new venture will allow us to continue to serve our members, but also hobbyists worldwide as our club and library are dedicated to helping everyone who needs it. This is a great day for collectible vehicle enthusiasts and shows the commitment AACA has for the future of the hobby.” 

Lecture features Studebaker streamlining

Streamlined vehicles featured in new exhibit at Studebaker museum | Museum photo

At 1:30 p.m. on April 17, museum curator Aaron Warkentin will present “Streamlined: The Studebaker Connection” in the Wiekamp Auditorium at the National Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana. 

The presentation is part of the museum’s 2019 speaker series and will feature the museum’s newest exhibit, “Streamlined: Style in Motion,” which includes eight cars.

Special events this weekend

The National Corvette Museum’s NCM Motorsports Park will stage a special “Drive Toward a Curve Day” program April 12 to fight Parkinson’s Disease. The track in Bowling Green, Kentucky, will off an all-day, lead-follow lapping program with $50 of the $125 entry going toward the charity. On April 13, the track stages its teen driving day being held in conjunction with the Kentucky Safe Driver Program at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. Also on April 13, the NCM Motorsports Park in hosts “Grits N’ Gravel” on April 13 for 4×4 vehicles. 

It’s a “Hoods Up” weekend April 13-14 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, hosts an indoor Easter egg scavenger hunts April 13 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia hosts the Kimber Festival 2019 on April 12-13. Though termed a “festival,” the two-day program is an academic conference about MG and its history, including design, production, technology and participation in motorsports. However, the weekend also included the museum’s regular Demo Day from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on April 13, this time featuring the cars of the Monza 1000-kilometer race — a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza, a 1956 Jaguar D-type, 1956 Maserati 300S, 1956 Ferrari-Bardal roadster and a 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe.

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The National Corvette Museum’s NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, hosts “Grits N’ Gravel” on April 13 for 4×4 vehicles. 

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in northeast Indiana hosts “Taste of Spring,” a craft bear and wine event April 13 starting at 5 p.m.

Early Duesenberg advertisement

On April 14, the ACD Museum presents a Sunday Spotlight on “Selling the Sizzle,” with museum curator Sam Grate sharing original examples of advertising from the museum’s archives. “From a little-known independent automaker to an international symbol of wealth, the advertising created in a corner office in this small company competed equally with the likes of Packard, Stutz, General Motors and Ford”, Grate said.

April 14 is Milwaukee Day and the Harley-Davidson Museum will be the site of as two local high school teams unveil their entries in the Harley “Battle of the Kings” bike build off. 

The California Automobile Museum offers a “Know Your Car 101” class on April 13 at Paul’s Automotive in midtown Sacramento. The class runs from 10 a.m. until 11:30 and registration is open until April 12.

Mark you calendar

SEMA’s CuS.T.E.M. Car Experience visits the LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, on April 19. The program introduces middle school students to the automotive customization hobby through STEM education experiences. 

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland hosts a Crawford, Coffee & Cars event April 20 fro 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. that includes admission to various museums at the Cleveland History Center.

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts its annual “Simply Audi” car show on April 21.

The National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, hosts the Michelin NCM Bash 2019 from April 25-27 with displays, seminars, and other activities, from a “ladies oasis” to laps around the track.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is organizing a bus trip to the New York International Auto Show on April 27.

The Lingenfelter Collection in Brighton, Michigan, hosts its annual Charity Spring Open House event April 27 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Ken Lingenfelter’s collection of more than 180 vehicles will be open to the public to benefit the American Cancer Society.

“Tucker: The 50 Production Cars” is the subject of a special program May 11 at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where one of Preston Tucker’s grandsons will be among the speakers.

“Mario Andretti: ICON” is a special exhibit that opens May 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. The exhibit is designed as a comprehensive 50th anniversary celebration of Andretti’s victory in the 1969 Indianapolis 500 race.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, opens a special “RCR 50: Only in America” exhibit featuring 50 years of Richard Childress Racing in May. 

“My dream is longer than the night,” a radio play about Bertha Benz and her influence on the early motorcar, will be performed May 3-5 at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany. 

More than 40 vehicles that have played roles in science fiction films will be featured in a new exhibit, “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy,” opening May 4 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. the exhibit runs through March 15, 2020.

The Simply Ford gathering May 5 at Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu will feature the 60th anniversary of the Ford Anglia 105E and the 50th birthday celebration for the Ford Capri.

The British Motor Museum stages its fifth annual “Gaydon Land Rover Show” on May 11-12 with a special appearance on May 12 by the Ferguson 4 Wheel Drive Club and its vehicles. 

The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, California opens its new Fireball Gallery of automotive art with a special event from 6 until 10 p.m. on May 11. 

LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, opens its “Cadillac – Standard of the World” exhibit with a “Champagne and Cadillacs” event from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on May 11.

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“Colors of Speed — 50 Years of the 917,” a special exhibition of 10 of the famed Porsche racing cars, opens May 14 and runs through September 15 at the Porsche Museum in Germany.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, hosts the C4 Gathering from May 16-18.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens two new summer exhibits on May 17 — Studebaker Cool: 114 Years of Innovation, and Harley-Davidson: History, Mythology and Perceptions of America’s Motorcycle. Both exhibits run through October 20.

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts both its silver-anniversary spring autojumble (swap meet) May 18-19 and a 60th anniversary celebration of the Mini. 

LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, offers Model T drivers education classes May 18, June 8, July 7, August 4 and September 8.

The IMS Museum presents the 21st annual Indianapolis Historic Racing Exhibition on May 23-25 when around 70 Indianapolis 500 racing cars are expected to return to the track for exhibition laps and to be displayed in the museum parking lot inside Turn 2. The event is open to cars that raced at Indy between 1911 and 1994.

Britain’s National Motor Museum and the Montagu home at Beaulieu will host a major exhibition of sculpture from May 25 through July 14. “Sculpture at Beaulieu” will feature more than 350 works by more than 60 sculptors.

LeMay Collections in Tacoma, Washington, stages LeMay Motorcycle Days from June 13-23 with 200 motorcycles on exhibit and with rounds of motorcycle soccer.

The Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, will stage its annual Father’s Day car show on June 16.

The Miles Through Time museum in Toccoa, Georgia, hosts its second annual car show from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on June 22. 

The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, California, hosts its seventh annual vintage trailer show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 29, with more than 40 vintage trailers and campers on display.

“The Car. The Future. Me” is the title of an exhibit scheduled to open July 13 at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, UK, to explore “futuristic car design and (to) challenge your idea of how we will interact with the cars for the future,” the museum said. 

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, inducts new members Sergio Marchionne, the late chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify as a driver in the Indianapolis 500; Richard “Dick” Dauch, co-founder of American Axle Manufacturing; and Patrick Ryan, creator of the first auto dealership finance and insurance department, on July 18 in Detroit.

On August 3, the British Motor Museum will be the site of the Classic Mini Mosaic world-record attempt that is expected to draw more than 600 classic Minis. The following day the museum will be the site of the National Metro & Mini Show.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, inducts racer Briggs Cunningham, Corvette designer Tom Peters, and Dollie Cole, Corvette enthusiast and widow of former GM president Ed Cole, into its hall of fame on August 30.

“Legends of Speed,” a showcase of nearly two dozen historic racing cars, opens November 2 at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email larrye@classiccars.com.

P.S. — A few years ago I was in Maine and got to tour the Seal Cove Auto Museum with curator Roberto Rodriquez, who was eager to share every fascinating details of the museum’s car collection. I learned a lot. And now I learn that Rodriguez is retiring, though fortunately for the museum, and for visitors who might tap into his knowledge if he’s there when they visit, he will remain as a consultant helping with special projects. 

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