HomeCar CultureCommentaryBMW Museum celebrates Isetta’s role in foiling East German border guards

BMW Museum celebrates Isetta’s role in foiling East German border guards


Car museums, BMW Museum celebrates Isetta’s role in foiling East German border guards, ClassicCars.com Journal
Exhibition includes drawing showing how BMW Isotta was modified to smuggle people across the border | BMW Museum photos

The BMW Museum in Munich opens an exhibit on October 29 to share the story of how nine residents of East Germany fled to the West in a BMW Isetta. 

“With the BMW Isetta in Liberty” will tell the story of Klaus-Günter Jacobi, who in 1963 modified the engine compartment of his BMW Isetta so a person could be hidden and driven across the heavily guarded border. Over the course of 18 months, he smuggled nine people across the border.

As part of the exhibit, visitors will be able to lie in a replica of the historic hideout to feel what those fleeing the Communist rule might have experienced. 

The exhibit, which includes a short film about the escapes, runs until March 2020.

Mercedes shares its ‘Holy Halls’

Car museums, BMW Museum celebrates Isetta’s role in foiling East German border guards, ClassicCars.com Journal
Book cover

Mercedes-Benz Classic has a collection of more than 1,000 vehicles, but at any given time only 160 of them can be on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Unterturkheim, Germany. The others are scattered in a dozen inconspicuous commercial buildings in the Stuttgart area.

But many of those other vehicles now can be explored through a book, Holy Halls: The Secret Car Collection of Mercedes-Benz. The book features 50 vehicles, photographed in a special studio using “Circulight” lighting technology.

The book is available in German or English editions. The English edition is available from Amazon for $62.75.

Murphy re-opens in its new location

Car museums, BMW Museum celebrates Isetta’s role in foiling East German border guards, ClassicCars.com Journal
Murphy museum readies for re-opening | Museum photo

The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, California, re-opens October 26 in its new location, 1930 Eastman Avenue. Opening weekend hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. October 26 and 27.

“As with any move comes an opportunity to downsize,” the museum said in its announcement. “We moved to a space with less square footage, so this was our chance to retain only the very best cars. 

“We will still showcase the ‘Fireball Gallery’ filled with nostalgic automotive art exhibits and design from around the world. We will still have our large collection of Americana and Petroliana artfully displayed throughout the museum.”

The museum also announced that its “Muscles & Mojo” morning car show returns the first Sunday of each month from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. beginning November 3.

Car museums, BMW Museum celebrates Isetta’s role in foiling East German border guards, ClassicCars.com Journal
Former Studebaker plant will be open for hour-long tours | Museum photo

Studebaker Museum sets special tour, releases 2020 calendar

The Studebaker National Museum and the Renaissance District of South Bend, Indiana will offer special tours of historic Studebaker buildings 84 and 113 from noon until 4 p.m. on November 3. Proceeds from the event will be used to rebuild the Studebaker guard house on Renaissance District property.

The Renaissance District is a mixed-use innovation and technology campus being developed around the former Studebaker automobile facilities.

Car museums, BMW Museum celebrates Isetta’s role in foiling East German border guards, ClassicCars.com Journal
Photo from the 2020 Studebaker museum calendar | Museum photo by Matt Cashore

The Studebaker museum also has announced the release of its annual calendar which showcases vehicles from the museum’s collection. Again for 2020, the museum joined with the Casaday Costume company to photograph its cars and human models in period costumes in period settings. The 2020 calendar is available for $17.99 through the museum website.

Car museums, BMW Museum celebrates Isetta’s role in foiling East German border guards, ClassicCars.com Journal
Corbin prototype being loaded for delivery to the Petersen | Corbin photo

Petersen gets original Corbin concept

The 1996 Sparrow concept vehicle has been donated by Corbin Saddles to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. 

The original ‘bug-eyed Sparrow” was an electric vehicle built by Corbin Motors in Hollister, California. Now known as Corbin-Pacific Inc., the company has become known for its motorcycle accessories, including Corbin saddles, and custom automotive-themed furniture. It also operates the Wizard’s Cafe, a vintage diner-style restaurant located in its headquarters.

Special events this weekend

The Revs Institute and Collier Collection in Naples, Florida, will host its inaugural Cars & Coffee at Revs from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. on October 26.

Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, stages its monthly auto flea market from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. October 27.

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia states a Demo Day from 11:15 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. October 26 featuring “Corvette, America’s Sports Car” with a 1963 Grand Sports, a 1966 Stingray 427 roadster and other examples being exercised in the museum’s parking lot.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the site for a Corvette Racing Weekend featuring members of the racing team, drives, dinners, museum tours and more.

The Mustang Owner’s Museum near Charlotte, North Carolina, hosts a “Fords at the Museum” cruise-in from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. October 26.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum co-hosts “Spirits on Main, the “ultimate Halloween 2019 bash” to be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the nearby Dallara IndyCar Factory.

Visit the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee at 8 a.m. on October 26 and you can take part in a free 90-minute “Spartan Workout” and then gain free admission to the museum for the rest of the day. 

LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, offers a tire- and wheel-oriented garage tech session from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. October 26 featuring Right Away Tire and Griot’s Garage.

October 27 is the third annual Legends Day at the North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, where Ollie Silva, Bentley Warren and Ed West will be honored in a ceremony beginning at 11 a.m.

The Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich, New York, hosts a Lego Car Show from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on October 27 for children aged 4-18 and invites those in that age group to bring their Lego creations for display.

Trunk or Treat events are scheduled for October 27 at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania (from noon until 3 p.m.) and at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento (from 10 a.m until 2 p.m.)

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon hosts the 11th “Large Model Aircraft Show” on October 27 with more than 100 large radio-controlled model aircraft on display in the annual indoor showcase. Modeling workshops also will be offered. 

Mark your calendar

The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine stages a “Haunted History Happy Hour” on October 30 with the Mount Desert Island Historical Society at Peter Trout’s Tavern and then closes for the winter season on October 31. The museum reports a nearly 25 percent increase in attendance during 2019.

It’s the 10th annual “Autos & Ales” at 7 p.m. on November 1 at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

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

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts former Wheeler Dealers star Edd China and his book, Edd China: Grease Junkie, A Book of Moving Parts, as well as his 50 mph sofa from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on November 2.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento joins with the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association to offer “An Evening with Tom Matano, The Father of the Miata” at 7 p.m. on November 2.

The Racing History Project’s presentation of two lost tracks — the San Fernando Dragstrip and the Paramount Ranch road course — postponed due to recent wild fires, has been rescheduled for November 7 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Valley Relics Museum in Van Nuys, California. The program will include panel discussions about each location and a presentation by Tony Baker, author of Southern California Road Racing. For more information, visit the Racing History Project website.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, hosts its annual Vets ’n Vettes event November 7-9 offering rides around the NCM Motorsports Park, a showboat cruise, road tours and the Bowling Green Veteran’s Day parade. Visit the museum website for details.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, will offer free admission to veterans from November 7-11. 

“Shaken, Not Stirred,” is the theme for a James Bond-inspired fall fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. on November 9 at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, where music, martinis, casino tables and dinner will be have 007 themes.

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum will host the Philadelphia premiere of the movie, Ford v Ferrari, on November 11 at 11:15 a.m.

Ice hockey and Veterans Day are very important to the founders of the Stahl’s Auto Collection museum in Chesterfield, Michigan. The annual Team Stahls vs. the Detroit Red Wings Alumni hockey game is set for noon November 9 at the Garden Rink in St. Clair Shores with proceeds going to Guardian Angels, provider of medical service dogs for veterans. And the 6th annual Veterans Day open house at the car collection runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on November 11.

The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, presents “President Abraham Lincoln: Live at the Studebaker,” a presentation November 14 at 1:30 p.m. by Lincoln portrayer Kevin Wood about the years 1854-1865. The event will include a visit to the Lincoln carriage which part of the museum’s collection.

The LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, stages its annual benefit dinner and sock hop dance from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on November 16.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, opens its exhibit, “Saleen: A Journey from the Heard of a Racer to America’s Supercar” on November 16 with a “Saleen & Caffeine: Coffee & Donuts” event featuring Steve Saleen from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. 

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento will offer a screening of Ford v Ferrari at 11 a.m. on November 17.

A special exhibit, “From the Vault,” opens November 20 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum featuring “treasured vehicles and artifacts” moved to the display area from the museum’s storage vault.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will stage a new-exhibits preview party on November 22 in anticipation of several exhibit openings — Age of Aquarius: Cars of the Counter Culture & Beyond, the DeSoto Display, and Cars & Christmas. The museum also offers a Polar Express pajama party on December 7 and Breakfast with Santa on December 14.

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia will honor Emerson Fittipaldi with its 12th annual Spirit of Competition award to be presented December 2.

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

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts