From car shows to concerts, and from classic Disney princesses to rides in classic vehicles, the staff at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, is determined to attract visitors, as executive director Josh Russell put it, “for the first time, or for the first time in 20 years.”
Russell joined the museum team in 2020 as senior director of marketing and development and late in the year of the coronavirus pandemic became executive director.
To attract people for the first time, or for the first time in 20 years, Russell and the Gilmore staff put together an expanded if somewhat controversial event calendar for 2021, not only with more car events but with such things as concerts and a visit by the princesses, which was so successful that another one already has been held.
Performers for the outdoor concert series range from the Kalamazoo symphony to a KISS tribute band, and feature period-correct vehicles near the stage. Just as the cars at the museum range from early steam-powered vehicles to Detroit muscle cars, the concerts were designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of visitors.
As for the princesses, they attract a much-younger audience eager to enjoy the fairytale brunches and to see the princesses on parade. The princesses’ first visit was March 6, and it was so successful that they were invited back for an event July 23.
Featured through March 2022 in the museum’s main gallery is “The evolution of America’s sports car,” a display of the various generations and some interesting iterations of the Chevrolet Corvette.
Werner Meier of Masterworks Automotive Services, a Corvette restoration specialist in suburban Detroit, helped curate the exhibit of nearly two dozen Corvettes, including recreations of the original Motorama Corvair coupe and Nomad 2-door wagon, a GM-built cutaway vehicle with moving engine and suspension parts, a Corvette that was flown over ramps as part of the famed Joie Chitwood Thrill Show, a couple of non-production styling-department cars, and the battle-scared only survivor from among the 14 prototype cars used to develop the C5 Corvette generation.
The Gilmore not just a car museum. It’s actually a group of car museums on a 90-acre campus that features historic red barns that house many of the museum’s cars and motorcycles as well as the museums of the Classic Car Club of America, the H.H. Franklin Club, the Cadillac-LaSalle Club, the Lincoln Motor Heritage Foundation and the Pierce-Arrow Society.
The museum grounds also feature a 1940s-era diner, a vintage gas station, train depot and switch tower. There’s also a pedal-car barn that includes a Disney movie set.
Lions auto museum re-opening on Saturdays
The Lions Automobilia Foundation and Museum in Rancho Dominguez, California, re-opens August 21, but only from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays for the time being beginning August 21. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
The museum, which launched in 2019, has been closed since January 2020 under covid protocols. The museum houses the Spirit of Lions Drag Strip gallery.
Brooklands honors memories of Moss
On September 12, the Brooklands Museum celebrates the life of the late Stirling Moss with a special event featuring more than 35 vehicles he raced, including live demonstrations of cars on the Brooklands’ Finishing Straight and Members’ Banking.
Among cars taking part are the Rob Walker Racing Lotus 18 Moss drove to victory at Monaco and the Ferguson P99, the only 4-wheel-drive car to win an F1 race.
The day will include a showcase of classic Jaguars and a special parking area for owners of cars from the period when Moss was racing.
Porsche offers summer break for students
During the summer school holiday in Germany from August 3 to 22, the Porsche Museum offers a special “Porsche 4Kids” program that includes a “look behind doors that are normally closed,” at the Weissach Development Center where Porsches are designed, created and tested.
Guided along by “Tina Turbo and Tom Targa,” students will experience 3D modeling, kinetic sand car sculpture, a climate chamber, test-vehicle camouflage, a remote-control test drive, and more. The program is free to children up to age 14.
Special events this weekend
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in northeast Indiana continues its free outdoor concert series July 29 with the Hubie Ashcdraft Band performing from 5:30 p.m. to 8:3o p.m.
The Brooklands Museum in England reopens July 26 with a new exhibit, “Driven by Design,” exploring the design of supercars. The exhibit is presented in collaboration with McLaren Automotive as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.
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.
Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts author Todd Zuercher and his book, Ford Bronco: A History of Ford’s Legendary 4×4, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on July 31.
With so many events canceled during 2020, the British Motor Museum at Gaydon will turn the Gaydon Land Rover Show scheduled for July 31-August 1 into the 50th-plus-one anniversary for the off-road automaker. “We’re looking forward to having a belated birthday celebration,” said show manager Tom Caren.
It’s “Simply Audi” on August 1 at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England.
Mark your calendar
It’s Supercar Weekend August 7-8 at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, England, where more than 900 of the world’s highest-performance vehicles are set for show, for demonstration runs and for “sound-off” competition.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum has special hours during the Brickyard weekend August 13-15, when access and parking also will be altered, with those entering after 1 p.m. also needing a Brickyard admission ticket. There is an exception, however, for the 100 cars registered for the Special Edition IMS Museum Cars & Coffee that runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on August 14.
The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, England, celebrates the life of “the voice of Formula 1,” broadcaster Murray Walker, on August 14 with an evening event that features iconic 2- and 4-wheel racing vehicles.
More than 450 vintage vehicles are expected for the “Classic and Vintage Commercial Show” scheduled for August 14-15 at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon. That, along with a vintage commercial vehicle swap meet, takes place outside. Inside the museum will be two large model vehicle shows featuring the National Association of Road Transport Modellers.
The Mustang Owner’s Museum in Concord, North Carolina, is organizing a road trip to the Woodward Dream Cruise in the northern Detroit suburbs. Cars will gather in Dayton, Ohio, on August 17, visit the Gale Halderman Museum, and then head to Dearborn, Michigan.
Opening August 19 at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland: “Year of the Motorcycle,” a traveling exhibit from the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Alabama. The showcase will be the first for 2-wheelers at the Ohio museum. When the traveling exhibit departs, the Crawford will unveil its own “Open Road: The Lure of Motorcycling in Ohio” exhibition.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in northeast Indiana stages its second “Duesies & Movies” drive-in theater event of the season August 21 showing Dick Tracy.
It’s AutoFest 2021 on August 22 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island, where the Mass Cruisers Auto Club (that’s Mass as in Massachusetts) stages a showcase featuring more than 500 vehicles.
It’s “Simply Mercedes” with a showcase for Mercedes-Benz vehicles August 22 at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England.
On September 11-12, in addition to its motorcycling exhibition, the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, will host a Heritage Throwback Weekend with pre-registered visitors invited to ride the newest BMW motorcycles.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in northeast Indiana stages its third “Duesies & Movies” drive-in theater event of the season September 18 showing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The annual Saratoga Motorcar Auction at the Saratoga Automobile Museum in upstate New York is scheduled for September 24-25.
The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, resumes its annual “Night at the Museum” fundraiser on October 6 with a theme of “Cars and Country Music.” Troy Engle and Southern Skies will perform at the event that serves as the kickoff to “Fall Hershey.”
Herzog Motorsports, the Missouri-based racing team that has won in a variety of events, from off-road racing in Baja to Jimmie Johnson’s transition to stock car racing, will be honored October 15-16 in a special event at the Speedway Motorsports Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email [email protected].