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Gilmore celebrates Corvette with featured main-gallery display

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes


The title of the new exhibit in the main gallery of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, is “The Greatest Generation” and it includes all eight generations of the Chevrolet Corvette. 

“The Corvette has an amazing legacy, and an incredibly passionate group of owners and admirers,” Josh Russell, the museum’s executive director is quoted in the announcement of the exhibition’s opening. “Guests can experience the new Corvette exhibit, see the famous 1958 Chevy Impala from the movie American Graffiti, explore Kalamazoo-built cars and trucks inside our Carriage House Barn, and enjoy the outdoor beauty and architecture of our entire 90-acre historic campus.”

Gilmore celebrates Corvette with featured main-gallery display
Gilmore celebrates Corvette with featured main-gallery display

“Through the years,” the museum notes in its announcement, Corvettes have developed from early fiberglass-bodied roadsters with 150-horsepower inline six-cylinder engines and two-speed transmissions, to today’s fire-breathing, mid-engined C8 Corvettes with more than 600 horsepower and 200+ mile per hour top speeds.

“The Corvette was born as a prototype ‘dream car,’ named for a class of fast naval warship, and unveiled at General Motors’ Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City in January 1953. Due to a very enthusiastic public response, GM fast tracked the car into production in a record 6 months, and the first production Corvette rolled off the assembly line at a Flint, Michigan plant, before the end of June 1953.  Notably, the #26 Corvette ever produced, on that same Flint assembly line in 1953, is on display inside the new Gilmore exhibit.”

The museum notes that the exhibit was curated with help from Werner Meier, owner of Masterworks Automotive Services, a Corvette restoration specialist shop in Madison Heights, Michigan. 

Among the nearly two dozen Corvettes displayed are a Motorama presentation of the 1954 Corvette Nomad station wagon and Corvair, a rare 1969 L-88 coupe, a 1958 Joie Chitwood Auto Thrill Show car, an unrestored and as-tested secret C5 alpha-build test car and six concept, styling and development cars not previously displayed together.

NASCAR Hall adds Kulwicki racer

Gilmore celebrates Corvette with featured main-gallery display
Corvette, Gilmore celebrates Corvette with featured main-gallery display, ClassicCars.com Journal
Alan Kulwicki | Hall of Fame photos

The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, has added to its collection the Hooters-sponsored Ford Thunderbird that the late Alan Kulwicki drove in the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Kulwicki’s victory secured the 1992 NASCAR championship. 

“The 1992 Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is widely regarded as one of the most significant moments in NASCAR history,” said Hall of Fame director Winston Kelley.  “The NASCAR Hall of Fame is thankful for the diligence and support of the dedicated group of Kulwicki family, friends and fans who brought this landmark acquisition to fruition. We are honored to receive such a generous donation that enables us to preserve and showcase the winning Ford Thunderbird driven by one of the legends of our sport.”

The Atlanta race was significant not only for Kulwicki taking the championship by 10 points over Bill Elliott, but it marked Richard Petty’s last race and Jeff Gordon’s first in NASCAR’s top series.

The Hall’s announcement notes that the Kulwicki car is the first acquired as the result of a “cash donation for the purchase of an artifact.”

The car had been on display at a Las Vegas resort hotel and will be restored by the Hall of Fame. 

Kulwicki, an unheralded short-track racer from Wisconsin, won NASCAR rookie of the year honors in 1986 with his own unsponsored team. He died in a plane crash just months after winning the 1992 championship.

Special events this weekend 

On April 23, the New York Historical Society museum opens an exhibition of 40 “zany paintings” by Bruce McCall, well-known New Yorker artist whose early career included doing automotive illustrations in Detroit. The exhibit runs through August 15.

The National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio, resumes in-person education programs April 24 at noon when museum staff member Charles Ohlin presents “The Packard Family and Their Pets,” a lighthearted look at the founding family and such animals as Towser, the Packard Motor Car Company mascot, Cupid the horse, and the two toy poodles that inherited Olive Packard’s wealth.

The Mustang Owners Museum has postponed its Spring Carolina Cruise, scheduled for April 24, to May 22.

Mark your calendar

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg museum in northeast Indiana resumes its monthly free summer Classic Car Concert Series April 29, with additional programs the fourth Thursday of the month through August. The opening act is Whoa Man!, a group that celebrates women in rock. The concerts begin at 6 p.m.

The Mustang Owner’s Museum in Concord, North Carolina, hosts its California Special Mustang Day on May 1. Also in May, the museum hosts a Mustang Club of America showcase May 7-8, a Mustang first-generation car show May 15, a Spring Ford-garage sale May 22, a Mustang pace car day May 29, and a Memorial Day cruise May 31 hosted by Wrecking Crew Mustangs.

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, opens its car show season May 1 with a new Mustang and Ford gathering featuring 1980s and ’80s Fox body vehicles.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento stages the Cap City Motor Tour on May 1 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The Wally Parks NHRA Museum in Pomona, California, reopens May 1, though reservations through www.nhramuseum.org will be required until further notice, the museum reports. 

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, hosts a Boats at The Barns showcase May 8 with classic wood, fiberglass and aluminum boats on display.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, will stage a members-only event May 9 from 9 a.m. until noon, offering rides in a 1964 Amphicar at Percy Priest Lake. 

Although the museum doesn’t reopen until May 17, the British Motor Museum at Gaydon hosts the Gaydon Gathering, a monthly outdoor event for “motoring enthusiasts” on May 11.

Beginning in May and running into September, the LeMay Family Collection in Tacoma, Washington, hosts a second Thursday “Cars and Comedy” evening starting at 6 p.m. The museum says to bring a picnic and enjoy an evening featuring local comedians.

Gilmore celebrates Corvette with featured main-gallery display
Ladies night at the Lane | Museum photo

On May 13, the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, will offer Ladies Night @ Lane from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., a happy hour event that will offer basic skills instruction for changing a tire, checking oil levels, etc. 

Vintage travel trailer will gather for a special showcase May 15 at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon reopens May 17 with a new E-type Evolution exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the British sports car. 

The Canadian Automobile Museums Third Thursday Zoom presentation on May 20 at 7 p.m. covers “The Oshawa Worker at War,” with Jeremy Blowers of the Ontario Regiment Museum talking about the Oshawa auto workers’ contribution to the war efforts for WWI and WWII.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens a new exhibit, “Keep on Truckin’” on May 21 to showcase the century-long evolution of the pickup truck. 

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum hosts a cars and coffee event from 8 a.m. until noon on May 22 at its restoration and storage facility in Macedonia, Ohio.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, opens a new exhibit, “A Recipe for Speed: Open-Wheel Racing,” on May 27. 

Michael Schumacher and Paul Page will be inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame on May 27.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, opens a special exhibit, “RADwood on Display,” staring May 27, featuring cars and motorcycles and fashions from the 1980s and ‘90s.

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon hosts its annual half-term family activities week May 29 to June 6.

The North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, launches its 2021 outdoor events schedule June 5 with a showcase by the New Hampshire Muscle Cars, with visitors offered a chance to sit inside a 1,400-horsepower funny car during start up.

The Museum of Bus Transportation at Hershey, Pennsylvania, hosts its Spring Fling on June 5 to celebrate the “golden age” of bus and motorcoach transportation. Awards will be given for best of show 1950s and 1960s, oldest and traveled farthest to attend. For details, visit the museum website.

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts its Simply Porsche car show on June 6.

The AMA Gypsy Tour charity motorcycle ride visits the North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, on June 13.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will host a “Sizzlin’ Summer Cruise In” from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on June 19. Among the event features will be a visit by Jimmy Rosen, his book on vintage gas stations, Got Gas?, and his 1947 Plymouth.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, unveils a new exhibition, “Corvette Powered,” during the Memorial Day weekend. The exhibit will showcase non-GM vehicles (cars, boats and motorcycles) powered by the Corvette’s small-block V8 engine, including a 1958 Scarab, 1966 Excalibur, 1967 Bizzarrini Strada, 1977 Avanti II and others.

There is more than cars to see in Beaulieu, England, home to the National Motor Museum. From June 19 to August 30, the Beaulieu Palace House will showcase more than 250 sculptures in its gardens and inside the Montagu family home.

The Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, hosts a Father’s Day car show on June 20.

The North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, hosts the Nor-Eastern Pontiac Club for an outdoor car show on June 26.

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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