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Mercedes museum features 70 years of SL in new exhibit

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes


“The Fascination of the SL — A Dream Car for 70 Years” is the title of an exhibition opening October 22 and running until May 15, 2022, at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

As the title proclaims, the exhibition features nine cars in the SL series that launched in March 1952 with the unveiling of the 300 SL, the now-famed “gullwing” coupe that was so successful in motorsports. A more luxurious roadster version would be produced.

Featured in the exhibition will be the oldest SL in existence, coupe chassis 2. Also being displayed are a 1955 coupe, a 1959 190 SL, a 1961 300 SL roadster, a 1965 230 SL “Pagoda,” a 1982 500 SL (the R 107 line was the first in the SL series with 8-cylinder engines), a 1982 500 SL, an 2000 SL 500, a 2001 SL 500 with the retracting Vario roof, and a 2015 SL 500 “Mille Miglia 417.”

Jimmie Johnson, Herzog history on display

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Jimmie Johnson drove the Herzogs’ car in the NASCAR Busch Series | Herzog Motorsports photo

Before he became a seven-time NASCAR champion, Jimmie Johnson was establishing his racing reputation driving in off-road, ASA and entry-level NASCAR events with Herzog Motorsports, a family-owned effort based in the Midwest, far from Johnson’s California home.

Stan and Randy Herzog “became fathers to me,” Johnson is quoted in a news release regarding the special Herzog Motorsports event scheduled for October 15-16 at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“I spent so much time with them, at a critical age in my growth as a man, professionally and personally,” Johnson continued. “I was away from home on the road with them a lot, so their wisdom, their advice, their mentoring, their care for me, and bringing me into their family as they did, meant the world to me.

“I look back on it now and smile with pride and joy for the time we had together, at the start of my professional career, which they had so much to do with.”

Johnson is scheduled to take part in the festivities at the museum, as are other drivers including Larry Ragland, Todd Bodine, Danny Ashcraft and Dave Mason. Herzog Motorsports vehicles and memorabilia also will be showcased, including those that raced across the desert, around tracks, down drag strips and up Pikes Peak.

After racing with the Herzogs in the NASCAR Busch Series, Johnson secured his ride with Hendrick Motorsports.

Corvette museum acquires motel property

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Former motel building will be used for fire department training before demolition in campus beautification program | Museum photo

The National Corvette Museum Foundation has acquired the former Country Hearth Inn motel at 395 Corvette Drive and will demolish the property after it serves as a training site for the Bowling Green Fire Department, the museum has announced.

“The demolition of the structure adds to the beautification of the National Corvette Museum’s campus (located across the street) and also allows us to support our community by providing a training space for our local fire department and ensuring the proper recycling of the building’s materials to help protect our environment,” Sharon Brawner, the museum’s chief executive, is quoted in the announcement.

Demolition is scheduled to begin October 4. There are no immediate plans to redevelop the property, the museum said.

‘Graffiti’ museum opens

Television channel ABC.10 reports that the Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum in Modesto, California, has opened, albeit with a “soft launch” that has the facility open to visitors this weekend, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both October 2-3, and with no admission fee for those days.

The museum is in the hometown of George Lucas, and the city’s car culture inspired his movie American Graffiti.

“It’s going to be a completely immersive experience,” Chris Murphy of the museum team told the television station. “It’s not going to be just a line of cars. We’re basically going after a Disney-style impression… when you walk into a museum, you’re gonna be transported back into the world of a night in 1962.”

Special events this weekend

The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee hosts an outdoor movie night October 1 as part of the Menomonee Valley Valley Week celebration. The movie is Trolls World Tour.

museum, Mercedes museum features 70 years of SL in new exhibit, ClassicCars.com Journal

“Great Sports Car Designers” is the theme for Demo Day activities October 2 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, where cars designed by Castagna, Zagato, Pinin Farina and Scaglietti will be featured.  Cars to be featured include a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Mille Miglia Spider, 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza, 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Spider and 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. The events runs from 11:15 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, hosts a cars and coffee event October 2 featuring the Coachmen Auto Club, which was founded in 1956 by four high school friends

With the SCCA Runoffs taking over the track, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will have altered hours from September 30 through October 3, will close at 1 p.m. on September 30 and will be closed all day October 1 and 2. 

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts author Randall Cannon and his book Caesars Palace Grand Prix: Las Vegas, Organized Crime and the Pinnacle of Motorsport from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on October 2.

CruiseFest on Fulton Avenue, an annual event that benefits the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, is scheduled for October 2, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Special features of the cruise this year are Save Mart’s 12-foot tall, 454cid Chevy V8-powered “mega-motorized shopping cart,” and the 7th of 14 officially licensed replica Batmobiles, this one owned by Bob Goldsand of Meadow View, California.

AutoFest 2021 is scheduled for October 3 at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island.

Mark your calendar

“Michelotti World,” and exhibit of the cars designed by Giovanni Michelotti, opens October 6 at the MAUTO, the National Museum of Automobiles in Torino, Italy.

The Saratoga Automobile Museum in upstate New York hosts a private screening of No Time To Die at the Bow Tie Cinema theater at 7 p.m. on October 7. 

“Beyond Internal Combustion” is the subject to be covered October 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, where former GM engineer Gary Witzenburg will talk about “Recharging the Auto Industry,” his talk to be followed by a panel presentation and tour of displayed hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Saratoga Automobile Museum in upstate New York is the site October 9 for the 10th Vintage at Saratoga gathering of BMWs produced in the 20th Century. The museum hosts a Corvette car show from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on October 13.

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.”

The Newport Car Museum stages its German Car Weekend on October 9-11 (Columbus Day is Monday). Drive your German car to the Museum and show your key to get $3 off adult admission.

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 Motors Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska.

‘Mille Miglia” is the theme for Demo Day activities October 16 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, where the museum’s Mille Miglia podium-finishing cars will be exercised. Those cars include a trio of 1930s-era Alfa Romeo 8C models and a 1956 Maserati 300 S.

The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee resumes its scouting merit badge program October 16 with in-person meetings at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and with a new 90-minute online program for scouts from throughout the country at 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays and at 6:30 p.m on Tuesdays.

museum, Mercedes museum features 70 years of SL in new exhibit, ClassicCars.com Journal

Hemi Under Glass by Bob Riggle and Rich Truesdell will be featured from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 16 at Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California.

The Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, hosts its 30th anniversary All British Motor Show from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on October 17.

School half term in the UK means special youth-oriented programs October 23-31 at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, where Professor Pickle and Doctor Pumpkin will share the science of lights and mirrors. 

Opening October 26 at MAUTO, the National Museum of Automobiles in Torino, Italy, is an exhibition titled “Those daredevils on the white roads.” The exhibit features 40 photographs by Adriano Scoffone of the 40-mile hillclimb race held in the Italian Alps in 1930 and won by Tazio Nuvolari in an Alfa-Romeo Grand Prix car. The exhibit was developed with help from Angelo Sala, former director of staging at the Theater alla Scala.

October 28 is Skulloween at the Motor bar and restaurant at the Harley-Davidsion Museum in Milwaulee, where a black and orange-themed Halloween costume contest will be staged.

The British Motor Museum at Gaydon stages the Great British Model Railway Show on October 30 and 31, featuring 30 scale-model railroad layouts in various gauges.

The Tunnels to Towers Foundation’s 9/11 Never Forget mobile exhibit will be at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, November 3-9.

The North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, stages its Legends Day on November 7, this year honoring New England midget racing.

The new Savoy Automobile Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta, has announced December 8 as its opening day for visitors. The museum is on a 35-acre site and includes three buildings with 65,000-square-feet of display space and a cafe. It is part of the Georgia Museums Inc., which includes the Booth Western Art Museum, Bartow History Museum and Tellus Science Museum.

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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