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Treasures emerge from the underground vault at Indy museum

Treasures emerge from the underground vault at Indy museum

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes

Open now and continuing through April 20, 2020, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum showcases “From the Vault,” an exhibition designed to provide “a glimpse into the incredible automotive and motorsports treasures in the IMS Museum’s diverse collection” of vehicles usually hidden away in the facility’s underground “vault.”

“Every rare or one-of-a-kind race car, automobile, trophy and many additional artifacts have a unique story,” the museum notes as it shares such treasures as:

1964 Ferrari 250 LM and Donohue-Hawkins Ford GT40
Exhibit includes historic racing trophies
Janet Guthrie Indy racer

• “The 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, the last Ferrari to score overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1965, and the 1966 Ford GT40 No. 4, driven by Mark Donohue and Paul Hawkins at Le Mans in 1966. The car was part of Ford Motor Company’s successful challenge to Ferrari, chronicled in the blockbuster film Ford v Ferrari, now in theaters.

• “A host of historically significant open-wheel race cars including a 1906 Fiat, the 1957 winner of “Race of Two Worlds” at Monza, Janet Guthrie’s 1978 Wildcat Indy car, and the fastest car in Indianapolis 500 history: Arie Luyendyk’s 1996 track record-setting Reynard.

• “Pop-culture artifacts and priceless trophies, such as the majestic Wheeler-Schebler Trophy and incredible works from the Rudolf Caracciola pre-World War II Grand Prix collection.

“Due to space constraints, the IMS Museum can display only 20 percent of its collection at a given time,” the museum adds. 

“For Museum staff, ‘From the Vault’ presented by Bank of America is more than an exhibit; it’s a glimpse of what the museum can share with the public on a regular basis, provided continued and future financial support is sufficient to conduct a complete renovation and expansion.”

Seal Cove seeks new director

2019 exhibition being dismantled to make room for 2020 display | Museum photo

With the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine going into its winter’s hibernation, its staff will spend those months dismantling its 2019 exhibition, “Selling Lifestyle and Leisure: Art, Advertising and the Automobile” and constructing “Engines of Change: A Suffrage Centennial,” an auto-oriented display to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

The museum notes that you can follow the progress of the exhibit’s construction on its Facebook page.

While the team sets up the next exhibition, the museum also begins its search for a new executive director. Raney Bench, who has worked in that role for six years, is leaving to take the same title at the Mount Desert Historical Society and the museum has launched a nationwide search for her successor. 

Downsizing sale in Evansville

Local media and the museum’s Facebook page report that the Dream Car Museum in Evansville, Indiana, will switch from an open museum to a smaller location for private events after the current holiday season. As a result, the museum is selling many of its vehicles and automobilia items, including gas pumps and signs.

The museum was founded in 2015 by auto dealer Larry Bennett, who told the Evansville Courier & Press he needs to devote more time to his Audubon Chrysler Center dealership, just across the Ohio River in Henderson, Kentucky.

Special events this weekend

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, will offer free vault tours on November 29. Also, on the day after Thanksgiving, museum director Jeff Lane and curator Robert Jones will do vehicle demonstrations at various times throughout the day.

The California Agriculture Museum at Woodland will light up its array of tractors for the holidays beginning on November 29.

Corvette Motorsports Park turns into winter drive-thru wonderland | Museum photos

From November 29 through January 1, the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, turns its NCM Motorsports Park into a 2-mile Wendy’s Twinkle at the Track, a Christmas lights show featuring 25 scenes, more than 350 displays and more than 1 million holiday lights.

The Mustang Owner’s Museum near Charlotte, North Carolina, hosts “Mustangs for Makenzie,” a car show and cruise-in on November 30 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts author John Baechtel and his book, Goldenrod — America’s Iconic Land Speed Record Holder, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on November 30.

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in northeastern Indiana and the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee are among the facilities across four continents participating in Museum Store Sunday on December 1. To find a participating museum in your area, visit the Museum Store Sunday website.

Lord Montagu waves off the VWs that provide Santa’s sleigh deliveries to children in hospital | Museum photos

More than 100 Volkswagens will be flagged off from the Britain’s National Motor Museum on December 1 as they drive from Beaulieu to deliver Christmas presents to children and teenagers with cancer and hematological disorders at the Piam Brown unit at Southampton General Hospital on the annual New Forest VW Santa Run.  Motorcyclists will accompany the VWs on the sixth annual event.

Mark your calendar

The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America museum in Daytona Beach, Florida, hosts “A Night at the Races” at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Booth Playhouse in Charlotte, North Carolina, at 7:30 p.m. on December 2. The program will be a wrapup of the 2019 Formula 1 racing season featuring David Hobbs, Leigh Diffey and Steve Matchett.

December 3 is “Giving Tuesday” and The Henry Ford museum has “longtime supporters” who have pledged to match donations earmarked to save the 1860 Detroit Central Farmers Market and install it at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. For details, see the special website.

The King of the Heap racing series resumes December 7 and continues for the first Saturday of January, February and March, 2020, at the National Corvette Museum’s NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The events are open to cars work $1,000 or less, each with a team of drivers participating in Auto-X, Auto-X relay and track events. For information, visit the King of the Heap website.

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

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles opens a special exhibit, “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success / 30th Anniversary Tribute” on December 14. Running through April 15, 2020, the exhibit will include 10 vehicles, trophies and other items. 

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will host “Mustang Jim” Aberts for a presentation, “Ford: The Motor Company & The Family,” from 2 to 3 p.m. on December 7.

The Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, hosts Harry Sherrard for its Speaker Series at 10:30 a.m. on December 7. Sherrard’s subject will be the historic Brooklands racing circuit in England and both its automotive and aeronautics history.

Book cover

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts author Randy Richardson and his book, Speed Merchants of Venice, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on December 7. The book includes many formerly unpublished photographs from the Shelby Foundation archives.

Stahl’s Automotive Foundation Collection in Chesterfield, Michigan, stages its annual Christmas Party, “Back to the Basics,” from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on December 11, when holiday music from the automated musical instruments will be featured.

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon hots the Historic Rally Car Register’s Open Day on January 11, 2020, as the HRCR celebrates the 60th anniversary of the RAC’s first use of forest stages. The day at the museum will showcase “how that diversification has led to a full and multi-disciplined sport today” and will feature rally co-driver Mike Broad in a series of forums covering the various aspects of rallying.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, reopens its Performance Gallery on April 22, 2020. The gallery closed on November 20 for “a much-needed refresh.” 

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

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