HomeCar Culture‘Detroit Style’ showcase at Motown art museum

‘Detroit Style’ showcase at Motown art museum

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes


“Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020” is the title of an exhibition that runs from November 15 through June 27, 2021, at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Motown’s acclaimed art museum.

“Detroit designers have always led the way in car design,” the museum notes. “The futuristic concept cars, roaring muscle cars and sleek racers designed in and around the city shape our ideas of what a car can be. 

“Working on paper, in clay and in metal, their ideas drive American car culture and inform the way we get around every day.”

The exhibition features a dozen vehicles as well as design drawings and photographs, paintings and sculptures that “highlight the conversation between the American art world and the car culture from the 1950s to the present day.”

car museum, ‘Detroit Style’ showcase at Motown art museum, ClassicCars.com Journal
1998 Chrysler Chronos concept car | FCA photo

As for the vehicles on display, they include “unique examples of experimental show cars created for display and iconic production models sold to the mass market.”

“This exhibit is a love letter to Detroit and a celebration of an artform pioneered in our own backyard,” curator Ben Colman, exhibition curator, told dbusiness.com., “It is a privilege to share some of the stories of the Detroit designers who transformed the modern world with their work.”

The exhibition is included with general museum admission but in this era of social distancing and health restrictions, reservations are required and can be made through the museum’s website.

car museum, ‘Detroit Style’ showcase at Motown art museum, ClassicCars.com Journal
‘1960 Chrysler’ sketch done in 1956 by Dave Cummins | DIA image from Collection of Brett Snyder

Indy museum closed through Thanksgiving

Due to an increase in Covid-19 infections in its region, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will be closed at least through Thanksgiving Day. Museum management announced that it will evaluate the situation again during Thanksgiving week to determine the best course of action. 

Although the museum will be closed, the Zoomcast scheduled for November 18 with 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan will take place as scheduled. For details, visit the museum website.

In addition, Speedway historian Donald Davidson will continue his YouTube series.

‘Miles’ museum re-opens after power outage

Power has returned so the lights are on and the Miles through Time auto museum in Clarkesville, Georgia, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature a hoods-up day on November 14.

The museum plans to host a Holiday Cruise-In from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on December 5.

Pace car replica featured at Studebaker museum

1952 Studebaker Indy 500 pace car on display in car museum
Originals both no longer in existence, this replica of the 1952 Studebaker Indy 500 pace car is on display | Museum photo

A 1952 Studebaker Commander was the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 race that year, Studebaker’s centennial. Two cars were prepared for race-month duties, but neither is known to still survive. 

However, a “near exact” replica has been created and is on loan to the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, from Richard Quinn of Mokena, Illinois. 

DOHC history shared by Brumos Collection

The Brumos Collection in Jacksonville, Florida, has posted the latest episode in its “Inside The 59” video series, this one exploring the history of the dual overhead-cam engine and featuring a 1914 Peugeot L45, 1930 Miller Samson Special and 1963 Meskowski dirt championship racing car.

“This deep dive shows the connectedness of people and ideas through the early and mid-part of the 1900s,” said Brandon Starks, the museum’s executive director. “As we look at these historically significant vehicles from three very different eras, we see the unique bond they share through engine technology that has been a mainstay in automotive manufacturing for more than a century.”   

Racing into the Smithsonian

car museum, ‘Detroit Style’ showcase at Motown art museum, ClassicCars.com Journal

Crash! From Senna to Earnhardt, How the HANS Helped Save Motor Racing, the book by Jonathan Ingram, Robert Hubbard and Jim Downing about the motorsports safety device, has been selected for inclusion in the library of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institute. 

The book details the need, development and eventual successful deployment and acceptance of the now-standard head-restraining device designed to prevent deadly basal skull fractures that were occurring in motorsports crashes.

Special events this weekend

The Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island will stage a “Hoods Up” weekend November 14-15.

The Mustang Owner’s Museum in Concord, North Carolina, has moved its Veterans Day car show to November 14, when it also hosts a Fox Body and SN-95 Mustang event. Visit the museum website for show registration details.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, hosts its annual “Vets ’n Vettes” event through November 14. On the 14th, the museum’s Motorsports Park offers a 1-day high-performance driver introduction designed for those new to “recreational performance driving.” For details, visit the track website.

Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, co-author Elana Scherr and their book, My Life Beyond the 1320, will be featured from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. November 14 at Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California.

Members of the Bay Area Jaguar Club and Jaguar Associates Group get featured parking on the plaza in front of the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on November 15.

The LeMay Collection in Tacoma, Washington, offers 50 percent off any tour for veterans and active military personnel through November 15.

Mark your calendar

The Owls Head Transportation Museum hosts a STEAM event, “A Long Way Down: Designing Parachutes,” from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on November 17 to instruct K-4 elementary school educators throughout Maine. The program is part of the Boston Museum of Science’s Engineering is Elementary curriculum. For registration information, visit the event website.

The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee opens a new exhibit, “Off-Road Harley-Davidson” on November 21.

“In the decades before America paved its highways, early riders had to be prepared for all sorts of terrain: sand, clay or dirt – and wandering those makeshift byways were Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” the museum notes. “Today, it’s called off-road or adventure touring; back then it was just called riding. 

“Since 1903, Harley-Davidson motorcycles proved their toughness by riding over wooded hills, through stone-choked creek beds and up mountain sides. ‘Off-road Harley-Davidson’ tells the history of motorcycles designed for rough roads, the people who rode them and the adventures they shared.”

The Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island offers discounted admission for AAA members on Black Friday, November 27.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, will include vault tours as part of the regular admission fee on November 27.

The Owls Head Transportation Museum hosts a “Holiday AirMail Express” car show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 6 on Runway 17. The event is free but car reservations are required for the socially distanced event. 

The San Diego Automotive Museum will feature an electric vehicle exhibit from January 22 to May 22, 2021. Among the vehicles on display will be a 1914 Galt gas-electric roadster that has been on loan and on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The Galt’s regular home is the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario, where the car is scheduled to return after its San Diego pit stop.

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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