HomeNews and EventsMuseum’s future-cars exhibit adopted for UN climate display

Museum’s future-cars exhibit adopted for UN climate display

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes


In the summer of 2019, the British Motor Museum opened an exhibition “The Car, The Future, Me” that ran for a year and explored where the car already has taken us and where we’re heading next. 

That exhibit will be resurrected for display from June to November by the Dundee Museum of Transport as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference at Glasgow, Scotland.

As you might expect, “We are delighted that our thought-provoking exhibition is going on tour to Scotland and hope it sparks debate amongst their visitors as it did when we hosted the exhibition,” said British museum curator Catherine Griffin.

Sustainability is a theme of the UN conference. The Dundee museum is Europe’s first carbon-neutral transport museum and is located in a retrofitted railway depot.

Midwest museum merger

Darryl Starbird’s Starbird 2000 | Museum photo

The most recent edition of Darryl Starbird’s annual National Rod & Custom show earlier this month included more than an array of cars on display. It featured the announcement that Darryl Starbird’s National Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame museum in Afton, Oklahoma, and the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska, were merging. 

As part of the joint effort, more of Starbird’s vehicles will be displayed at the Nebraska facility, which currently features four of his cars.

“Having my work on display at Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed has allowed it to be appreciated by even more people,” Starbird, who started building custom cars in 1954, is quoted in the merger announcement. “Our conversations started over 15 years ago and I’m pleased to officially announce the merger giving fans two places to see my collection.”

“Darryl Starbird is one of the most prolific custom car builders and an artist who was consistently able to gain national recognition for his creations,” said Tim Matthews, Speedway Motors curator. “His customs have been showcased in all of the popular car magazines for decades. This would have been difficult for any builder but it was even harder to achieve for someone located in the Midwest. 

“His car creations feature a space age futuristic style that people find exciting and memorable. He is certainly king of the bubble top, and like Toad in American Graffiti explains, any car as good as Starbird’s Superfleck Moonbird has to be amazing.”

The Speedway Motors facility was founded in 1992 by “Speedy’ Bill and Joyce Smith and has more than 150,000 square feet of display space on three floors. The museum features the chronology of automotive racing engines and speed equipment.

The Smiths opened Speedway Motors in 1952 selling automotive parts and racing equipment. The company is run by the Smiths’ four sons and has stores in Nebraska and Arizona.

“In addition to the collection the Smiths have built over the years the museum has also been the recipient of many generous donations from vehicles to important artifacts in racing and automotive history,” Matthews said. “The relationships continue to lead us to opportunities to acquire important pieces furthering our mission to preserve, interpret and display items significant in our industries history.” 

Starbird’s museum showcases in 40,000 square feet more than 50 vehicles, including 25 of his own creation. 

Muscle Car City closed

The automotive collection of the Muscle Car City museum in Punta Gorda, Florida, was disbursed at a recent Mecum Auctions event and now the facility has closed its restaurant and announced the cancelation of monthly car shows and flea markets.

British ‘Journey’ museum opens

Great British Car Journey
A Triumph Spitfire 1500 gets a final dusting before the doors open to a new British car museum | Great British Car Journey photo

Back in March we reported plans for the creators of the Great British Car Journey to open their new museum in late May and now comes word that after four years of work and a delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, the museum has opened in a former wire works factory on the banks of the River Derwent in Ambergate, Derbyshire.

On display are more than 130 vehicles in a presentation designed to make “the once ordinary extraordinary,” by showcasing British marques and models that were common on the country’s roads for nearly a century, cars such as the Morris Minor and Ford Capri “that are now so rare that you’re more likely to see a £150,000 supercar on today’s roads.”

Special events this weekend

“Pininfarina, The Shape of the Future” is the title of an exhibition that opens May 20 and runs through September 2021 at the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino in Italy. The exhibit features 16 vehicles designed by Pininfarina to envision the automotive future and to give it form.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens three new exhibits on May 21 and on May 31 returns to full capacity for visitors.

The Mustang Owners Museum in Concord, North Carolina, hosts a Ford and Mustang parts garage sale May 22.

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.

“An Ill-Fated Venture: The Packard Brothers in Canada” is the subject of a presentation at noon May 22 at the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio. The lecture isn’t about Packard cars, but about William Doud and James Ward Packard’s electric lighting company and its effort to expand across the border.

The Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island hosts a gathering of food trucks and craft beer from noon to 7 p.m. on May 22.

Youngsters aged 10-17 can drive three vintage vehicles as part of the Young Driver school program that launches May 22 with an event at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon. 

“The museum is delighted that Young Driver have chosen the British Motor Museum as the venue for its new classic experiences” said Jeff Coope, museum managing director. “The mission of the Museum as an Educational charity is to inform and inspire future generations and the addition of these experiences helps to bring the history we share to life. 

“Anyone who books with Young Driver gets discounted admission to the Museum on the day of their experience and can see for themselves how the car they were driving fits into the history of British motoring.”

Mark your calendar

The BMW Museum in Munich re-opens to visitors on May 25, and in celebration will not charge any admission fee that day.

Open-wheel racing cars featured | Lane Motor Museum photo

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.

May 29 is the date for the Mustang pace car show from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Mustang Owners Museum in Concord, North Carolina.

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon and the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts annual half-term family activities week May 29 to June 6. The National Motor Museum notes that the toy cars that have been part of an exhibit have escaped and young visitors are encouraged to follow a family fun activity trail to see how many they can find.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles plans to host a virtual Japanese Car Cruise-In at 8 a.m. (Pacific) on May 30 on its YouTube channel.

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.

Strutter, billed as the nation’s premiere KISS tribute band, will perform on the Gilmore Car Museum campus in Hickory Corners, Michigan, at 8 p.m. (Eastern) on June 5.

John Oreovicz will present his book, Indy Split, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on June 5 at Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California.

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

Hagerty and the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, launch a summer series of events with a series of displays in the museum and its parking lot on “the many styles of auto racing.”

June 12 is Motorbike Day at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The event will include a show featuring dirt, road, competition, scooters, mopeds and minibikes, a motorcycle-themed flea market and a ride through the Pennsylvania countryside.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum hosts a cars & coffee cruise-in and free museum admission from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on June 12.

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, and a Studebaker and Tucker parade.

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 are 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. And June 19 is the date for the annual Simply VW show.

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

Van Halen 2, a tribute band, will perform at 8 p.m. on June 25 on the Gilmore Car Museum campus in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Funds from the $20 admission charge go toward K-12 educational tours of the museum and the Gilmore Garage Works high school training program.

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

The inaugural North East Motor Sports Museum rally-tour Around the Lake is scheduled for July 31. The event begins at the museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, and will take scenic roads to the Vintage Racing Stables car collection in Sanbornton. the event is limited to 1972 or earlier vehicles.

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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