HomeCar CultureLifestyleBritain’s V&A looks at how cars shaped the modern world

Britain’s V&A looks at how cars shaped the modern world


“Over its short 130-year history, the car has become one of the most loved, contested and influential innovations in the world. It has revolutionized manufacturing, transformed how we move, forever changing our cities, environment and economies.”

That from Britain’s Victoria and Albert, the famed V&A museum of art and design, as it prepares for the opening of a new exhibition, “Cars: Accelerating The Modern World.

“As we approach another major turning point in automotive design,” the museum adds, “this exhibition looks at the role of the car in shaping the world we live in today.”

“The V&A’s mission is to champion the power of design to change the world, and no other design object has impacted the world more than, the automobile,” curator Brendan Cormier is quoted in the museum’s news release. “This exhibition is about the power of design to effect change, and the unintended consequences that have contributed to our current environmental situation.”

Graham, by Patricia Piccinini in collaboration with the Transport Accident Commission in Australia, imagines what humans might look like if they were to evolve in a way to survive car crashes

The exhibition has three main sections:

— Going Fast examines “how the car changed our relationship to speed,”

— Making More examines “how it changed the way we make and sell,”

— Shaping Space examines “how it altered the landscape around us, from countryside to cityscape.” 

French advertisement for Tatra in 1934

Produced with support from Bosch, the exhibition opens November 23 and runs to April 19, 2020.  In addition to 15 vehicles and 250 artifacts that reflect the automobile’s impact on culture, the exhibition will include workshops, a viewing of The Italian Job, and a seminar on the best and worst of automotive design. The museum also has produced a 224-page book/catalog in conjunction with the exhibition.

In anticipation of the exhibit’s opening, British author and cultural commentator was commissioned by Goodwood Magazine to write an essay on “How cars changed the world.”

Kokomo museum ‘hosts’ events

Although the Kokomo Automotive Museum in Indiana remains homeless, it will “host” two events this month at its former home, the city’s Event and Conference Center. On November 9, the museum stages the Hoosier Classic Collector Car Auction and the previous evening it offers a concert featuring a Beatles cover band, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

The museum was slated to move into a new downtown conference center but completion of that project has been delayed until the end of 2021, the newspaper said. In the meantime, the museum has put its cars into storage. 

The newspaper reported that even when the new conference center is built, the museum will need funding to outfit its portion of the building.

Automobile Driving Museum seeks Fisher Body Guildsmen models 

In 1947, this model by a young Chuck Jordan was judged the best entry in the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild design competition. It’s creator, Chuck Jordan, won a $4,000 college scholarship to continue his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After his graduation, he joined the design staff at at General Motors and from 1986-1992 was the automaker’s vice president of design. The model is on display at the Gilmore museum in Michigan | Larry Edsall photo

The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild was a car design and model building competition staged by General Motors to provide college scholarships for students from 1930 to 1968. Guild alumni have placed many of their models on display in a few museums, including the Gilmore Car Museum in Michigan. Now, the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, California, has offered space for yet another display and alumni with models to donate or to loan are asked to contact fellow alumni Ed Matula via the museum’s website regarding the display.

Special events this weekend

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.

Mark your calendar

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. The museum also serves as a Toys for Tots donation location from November 7 to December 9. Bring an unwrapped toy worth $10 or more and receive free museum admission.

“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.

Event poster

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts artist Larry Grossman and his series of 2020 calendar from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on November 9.

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum will host the Philadelphia premiere of the movie, Ford v Ferrari, on November 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Chestnut Street.

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 Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles opens “Building an Electric Future,” a special exhibition in conjunction with Volkswagen, on November 20. 

On November 21, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will stage tours of Andretti Autosport’s nearby race shop. The morning tour is sold out but spots remain for the afternoon visit. For information, visit the museum’s website.

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 [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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