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Home Car Culture Tom Peters joins Corvette museum as consulting curator

Tom Peters joins Corvette museum as consulting curator

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes

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Longtime and now-retired Chevrolet car designer Tom Peters served as co-curator of the current Ed Roth/Rat Fink exhibit at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the experience pleased both Peters and the museum.  He now joins the museum staff as consulting curator of exhibits, starting in January 2021.

“(Museum president) Sean (Preston) had the thought to see if Tom would be interested in being involved with the museum in a more official capacity after his co-curation of the Rat Fink exhibit,” said Derek Moor, director of collections.

Big Daddy Roth
The creations of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth are featured in an exhibition at the National Corvette Museum, which has extended the ‘Rat Fink’ show well into 2021

“Of course, his design background with GM is huge and we figured the best use of his talents would be in aiding us in the overall visual experience of our exhibits.

“We want Tom to help build up our exhibits, tapping into his first-hand experience behind GM’s closed doors,” Moore added of Peters, who served as director of design for the GM Performance Car Studio and lead designer on several Corvette production and concept cars as well as Camaros. 

“Tom can take those stories that are text on a label and help us bring them alive visually. We will look at how we can use the cars and artifacts we have to make our exhibits as much of a visual experience as they are educational – balancing the storyline with something visually interesting for our guests.”

“We have Corvette Racing’s Andy Pilgrim as our resident track pro at the NCM Motorsports Park, and now Tom Peters as a resident design pro at the National Corvette Museum,” Preston is quoted in the museum’s announcement. “We are not only preserving and showcasing Corvette history, now we have a direct connection to that history – someone who was not only there to experience it, but who made that history during his career. This is truly a historic hire for the National Corvette Museum.”

Among Peters’ first chores will be refining the museum’s new Enthusiast exhibit display area and presenting a “Damsels of Design” exhibit. 

From one museum to another

The World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon, may have closed, but assets have been acquired by the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, including the first funny car to exceed 300 mph in a quarter-mile drag race. The car, the Rug Doctor funny car driven by Jim Epler, broke the 300 barrier at the Heartland Park, Kansas, in the fall of 1993. 

It and other materials from the Oregon facility, including a racing simulator, are to be displayed in their new home in 2021.

Haynes museum gets Hawthorn’s Ferrari

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina coupe

The first Ferrari imported and sold in the UK, and by none other than Formula One world champion Mike Hawthorn, has been acquired by the Haynes International Motor Museum in Somerset, UK. The car is a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina coupe.

Museum head Chris Haynes said in an announcement that the car will not become merely a static display but will be used and driven.

Although Enzo Ferrari would not sell to Hawthorn the car he drove to the world championship, he did agree to make Hawthorn a Ferrari dealer. 

Shaken by the death of his friend and teammate Peter Collins during the 1958 season, Hawthorn retired after winning the championship. He imported a pair of the Pininfarina coupes, which he displayed at the 1958 Earl’s Court motor show. One (chassis 1083) was white with black interior while the other (chassis 1081) was metallic blue.

The white car was repainted first in gold and, in the 1980s, in black. The blue car was later converted into a 250 GTO reproduction.

Hawthorn died in a road crash in 1959 after selling the blue car to Col. Ronnie Hoare, who formed Maranello Concessionaires and became the Ferrari importer for the UK.

Miles museum sets Tesla record

The Miles Through Time museum in Clarkesville, Georgia, reports that it did, indeed, set a world record with a parade earlier this month that included 340 Tesla vehicles. The previous record was 145 of the electric-powered cars. Ever wonder what such a parade might look like? There’s a YouTube video that condenses the day into about 6 1/2 minutes.

In addition to the parade, the event raised more than $10,000 for O.U. R. (Operation Underground Railroad), which combats human trafficking.

Museum executive joins race track board

Carrol Jensen, vice president of the Classic Car Club of America museum and former president of the CCCA, has joined the board of directors of the Road America race track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. She succeeds Robert Cornog, who retires after 22 years on the track’s board.

The track notes that Jensen and her husband, Carl, have been collectors, participants and judges in antique and sports car events for more than 30 years, have been frequent participants in rallies and have shown cars at a variety of concours d’elegance.

Special events this weekend

The Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario, is closed from December 20 through January 4, 2021.

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, offers 2-for-$20 admission through January 10, 2021 for Michigan residents, although the museum is closed December 25 and January 1. The museum also offers free docent-led tours weekdays beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles offers a special 6-minute YouTube online video tour of the 1965 Jaguar XKSS owned by actor/racer Steve McQueen.

Mark your calendar

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 larrye@classiccars.com

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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