‘Where were you in ’62?’ asks new exhibit at Gilmore museum

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New exhibit at the Gilmore Car Museum features the cars and stars of the movie 'American Graffiti' | Museum photos

“Where were you in ’62?” is the title and the question asked by a new exhibit at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. But the real question may be where were you in 1973 when, just as summer was ending, director and co-writer George Lucas and producer Francis Ford Coppola released their now-iconic movie, American Graffiti.

For those too young to remember, the movie had the same sort of impact on its young audience as the Fast and Furious franchise would have decades later. 

“Cars were the stars,” the museum said in its announcement. 

True, at least to an extent, because the movie also introduced audiences to Harrison Ford, Suzanne Sommers, a no-longer Opie Taylor version of Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, a pre-Laverne and Shirley Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, Candy Clark (later known as Buffy’s mom in the Vampire Slayer movie), and other young actors.

That cast came together as it cruised the streets of a small town in northern California in a last hurrah to summer for recent high school graduates. 

The cars in which they cruised included a ’32 Ford 5-window coupe, a ’58 Chevy Impala, a ’55 Chevy 150, a ’51 Mercury custom, a ’58 Edsel Corsair, a ’67 Citroen 2CV (chosen in honor of the Autobianchi Bianchina that Lucas had driven to high school), and, of course, that white ’56 Thunderbird with the mysterious blonde at the wheel.

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The Gilmore notes that some 300 cars were used in the filming and that most were rented from local residents for around $20 per day, plus food and the opportunity to serve as movie extras. 

The museum also notes that several of the cars in its exhibit come from the collection of NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham.

The “Where were you in ’62?” exhibit is scheduled to run into the spring of 2021. 

Mustang museum re-opens

With North Carolina moving into Phase 2.5 of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mustang Owner’s Museum in Concord has re-opened to visitors and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. 

The museumis organizing The Carolina Cruise, an inaugural event, on September 5, when a 14-mile stretch of Highway 29 will become the site of a rolling car show. The route runs from the Kannapolis baseball stadium to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Special events this weekend

The Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton, England, opens a special display of vehicles from the Vauxhall Heritage collection on September 5.

The Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island will offer extended hours on September 5 and will co-host with PVD Food Truck Events a food-truck and craft-beer event in the museum parking lot from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The National Corvette Museum stages its 26th anniversary celebration through September 5. 

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Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has added a 15th event to its “Simply” car show lineup with “Simply French” schedule for September 6.

Mark your calendar

ACD Museum Collection Center garage | Museum photo

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum and the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival offer a behind-the-scenes look at the museum’s conservation center in a Facebook Live video at 4 p.m. (Eastern time) on September 8. The restoration stop is otherwise off-limits to visitors. 

A panel presentation featuring Anne Brockinton Lee, Steve Babinsky, Louis de Fabribeckers (of Touring Superleggera) and Donald Osborne will be presented online September 10 at 1 p.m. by the Audrain museum and concours in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Mustang Owner’s Museum in Concord, North Carolina, hosts the inaugural Gale Halderman Memorial virtual car show from September 10-30.

Gilmore museum again becomes an outdoor concert venue

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, hosts its second “Rock The Gilmore” outdoor concert of the season at 8 p.m. on September 11, featuring The RockShow, a Journey tribute band.

It’s “Hoods-Up” weekend September 12-13 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island.

On September 12, the Mustang Owner’s Museum and the Wrecking Crew Mustang Club and Concord (North Carolina) Fire Department present the 9/11 Memorial Backroads Cruise, which begins with a memorial service at the museum at 10:25 a.m.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens two new exhibits on September 12 — “Yeah, It’s Got a Hemi!” and “Minibike Mania.”

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The Miles Through Time museum in Clarkesville, Georgia, plans a “Cruise-In to the Museum” from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on September 12.

Book cover

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts photographer Al Satterwhite and his book, The Racers: Endurance Motor Racing — 1963-1973 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on September 12.

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon hosts the first free, outdoor “Gaydon Gathering” on September 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Another is scheduled for October 13 and the museum says the event will become a regular feature on the second Tuesday of the month beginning in April 2021. The event will feature the museum workshop and vehicles from the collection not usually presented in public.

The Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island hosts a Corvette clubs car show on September 18 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Porsche Typ356 cq Northeast Club will stage a car show September 27 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento hosts the Cap City Motor Tour from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on October 3. 

Although “Fall Hershey” has been smacked by the coronavirus pandemic, the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will stage a socially distanced, one-day car show on October 10. 

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 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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