England’s ‘motor museums’ set 2020 event schedules

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Blue Light Day at the National Motor Museum will feature first-responder vehicles | Museum photos

Like me, you might be confused by the fact that England offers both a British Motor Museum and a National Motor Museum

The British Motor Museum is located in Gaydon, near Stratford-upon-Avon, and houses, among other things, the British Motor Industry Trust’s car collection. The National Motor Museum is at Beaulieu, home of the late Lord Montagu and the collection he founded, down near the English Channel and the Isle of Wight.

In addition to showing their respective collections, the museums each stage a series of car shows. In 2020, the British Motor Museum will host 18 such events and the National Motor Museum has announced a schedule of 21.

Volkswagen produced the XL1 electric vehicle in 2014

New for the British Motor Museum in 2020 is the MGF Register 25th Anniversary show, July 25-26. The National Motor Museum adds two new events — Blue Light Day, featuring police, fire engines, ambulances and other such vehicles, on April 26, and Simply Electric, a showcase for electric and plug-in hybrids vehicles, including motorcycles, on May 24.

Beaulieu also will add a Retro Village to its Spring Autojumble, with sellers of vintage fashions, housewares and collectibles joining more than 1,000 vintage automotive vendors on May 16-17.

For details, visit the British Motor Museum and National Motor Museum websites.

Bicester Heritage also sets 2020 dates

Part museum, part collector car business park, Bicester Heritage is a former Royal Air Force training base now devoted to the classic car hobby. It uses its historic buildings and runways for what it calls “Scramble” events and plans four such events in 2020: On January 5, April 26, June 21 (the “Super Scramble”), and October 4.

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The events feature pre-1990 vehicles.

Drive a mid-engine C8 Corvette on museum’s track

The National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park will offer C8 Corvette Stingray Z51 laps around its 3.2-mile, 23-turn road course in 2020. The program includes classroom instruction, lead/follow track time, lunch and a guided VIP tour of the museum. Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Dates for 2020 are March 13; April 10 and 23; May 8, 9 and 22; June 5 and 19; July 3; August 7 and 23; September 10; and October 9. The fee is $799. For details, visit the NCM website.

Details of design at Olds museum

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado was a major automotive design statement

The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing, Michigan, offers a special edition of its lecture series December 9 at 7 p.m. with “Oldsmoible by Design: The Inside Story.” The program will feature former Olds designers Brian Baker, Dennis Burke, Glen Durmisevich, John Perkins and Richard Ruzzin. 

Special events this weekend

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 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.

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December 7 is “12th Fan Day” at LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, which will host a special car show in conjunction wit the Wheels of Boom Car Club, a club comprised of car owners who also are fans of the Seattle Seahawks professional football team. The event runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Attendees donating a new toy to the Toy Rescue Mission will receive discounted museum admission.

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.

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.

Mark your calendar

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. 

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.

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts Larry Grossman and his calendars featuring art work of hot rods and customs, classic diner, vintage airplanes and classic trains from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on December 14.

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The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento welcomes Harry Sherrard to share the 300-year tale of The Goodwood Story, from King Charles II through World War II and to the racing circuit and current collector car events, at 10:30 a.m. on December 15. 

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, features Vladimir Cettl’s photography book, Abandoned Cold War Aircraft, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on December 21.

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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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 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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