HomeCar CultureCommentaryT time: Gilmore museum offers Model T driving experiences

T time: Gilmore museum offers Model T driving experiences


The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, will let you drive a vehicle without a gas pedal, fuel gauge or speedometer. No, it’s not the autonomous car of the future. It’s a Ford Model T.

“Think of it as going back to driver’s training — old school, that is,” said museum official Jay Follis.

“Driving a Model T Ford is truly unique as it’s controlled by three pedals on the floor, a handle beside the seat and two small levers on the steering wheel,” the museum said in offering its Model T driving classes for 2019.

Model T, T time: Gilmore museum offers Model T driving experiences, ClassicCars.com Journal
The museum maintains a fleet of Model T vehicles

“The only fuel gauge was a wood stick placed into the gas tank — located under the driver’s seat. A speedometer was an option and a hand-operated windshield wiper didn’t become standard until 1925. By the way, there’s no push button or key starter.  Motorist had to turn a crank out in front of the vehicle, all the while adjusting the choke and fuel mixture.”

The museum has scheduled 22 dates for classes this year, with driving taking place on the private roads within the museum’s huge campus. Each class runs four hours. The cost is $105 and classes are open to anyone with a driver’s license or even a valid learner’s permit.

Classes begin May 8 and run through late September. For details, visit the museum website.

Mustang museum opens May 3 for daily visitors

Model T, T time: Gilmore museum offers Model T driving experiences, ClassicCars.com Journal
Mustang Owner’s Museum sets daily visitor hours | Museum photo

The new Mustang Owner’s Museum near Charlotte, North Carolina, opens regular visitor hours on May 3. They are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The museum opens with more than 50 vehicles on display, including Ford’s original 1964 New York World’s Fair exhibit.

KC museum plans for new building

According to local media reports, the Kansas City Automotive Museum in Olathe, Kansas, plans to move into a new and much larger facility.

The museum opened in 20124 but has outgrown its 10,000-square-foot space. 

“We hope to expand to somewhere around 60 to 80,000 square feet,” museum executive director Vreni Fernandez told KMBC Channel 9. Three sites for the new location are being considered both in Kansas and across the river in KC, Missouri.

In addition to displaying cars, the museum has a mission to preserve the area’s automotive history, which includes a Ford Model T assembly plant that opened in 1912, the opening of the first Cadillac dealership west of the Mississippi River (in 1908) and the first U.S. car dealership with African-American ownership (in the 1920s).

Model T, T time: Gilmore museum offers Model T driving experiences, ClassicCars.com Journal
1971 Mini Cooper S joins Stratford festival

Museum’s Mini showcased at Stratford Festival

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon will display its 1971 Mini Cooper S Mk III at the Stratford Festival of Motoring scheduled for May 5-6, when the car will be parked on what is being renamed “Issigonis Alley” in honor of the car’s designer, Alec Issigonis.

In addition to cars on display, around 300 vehicles will take part in morning countryside cruises.

Special events this weekend

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. Recently added to the program are two events that will focus on the new C8 generation of the car.

April 27 is Lego Day at the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine, where activities between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. include freestyle building, balloon-car racing, crash testing and team challenges. Then, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., its “Beers & Gears” with beverages from the Atlantic Brewing Company.

“Saturday in the Park — The Fairmount Park Races” is the theme of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum’s Demo Day exhibition from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on April 27. Cars being exercised include a 1912 National Model 40 semi-racing roadster, 1913 Mercer Raceabout, 1907 Renault 35/45 Vanderbilt racer and 1916 Stutz Series 4C Bearcat.

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.

Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, hosts a car show for the Gary Sinise Foundation on April 27 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Richard Rawlings of the Gas Monkey Garage is scheduled to make an appearance at the show. An auto flea market is scheduled at the same location on April 28.

The LeMay Collection at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, offers “LeMay Wine, Spirits & Chocolate, a girl’s night out (or date night with your sweetheart) on April 27 and 28.

The AACA Museum hosts its fourth annual Spring Fling Toy Show from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 28 with more than 80 tables of die-cast toys for sale.

Mark your calendar

“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. 

On May 4, the North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, hosts Historic Motor Sports Exposition featuring a variety of displays from various museums, racing teams and companies.

The National Corvette Museum NCM Motorsports Park hosts an Auto-X autocross event May 4. “No classes. No course working. No trophies. No drama,” the museum said of the program designed “for folks who just want seat time.”

Model T, T time: Gilmore museum offers Model T driving experiences, ClassicCars.com Journal
The ‘Back to the Future’ DeLorean among Hollywood sci-fi vehicles to be displayed at the Petersen | Museum photo

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 documentary movie Bob Kart Viu: When History Becomes Sport will be screened at 5 p.m. May 5 at the Museo Dell’Automobile di Torino in Italy. The movie tells the story of sport and passion, history and racing, ecology and fun and of Marcello Gandini and the decision to stage the European Championship in Viu in 2017.

“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.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will stage a special Speedway Cars & Coffee event May 11 limited to the first 100 registered cars. The car show runs from 9 a.m. until noon, but those registered can partake in a full day of activities at the track, where the Indycar Grand Prix starts at 3:30 p.m.

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.

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.

“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.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento hosts a Memorial Day Car Show on May 27.

The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, will stage its second “Barracudas, Sting Rays & More Show Cars from the Sea” car show on June 8.

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.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, will be the finish line for the 2019 Great Race and plans to celebrate with a “Shine Time” car show on June 30. 

“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 [email protected].

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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