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‘Muppet Car’ makeover and public auto art in Indiana

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes


museum, ‘Muppet Car’ makeover and public auto art in Indiana, ClassicCars.com Journal

The Studebaker National Museum has opened a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to restore the 1951 Studebaker Commander “Muppet Car.” 

The Commander was featured in the 1979 film, The Muppet Movie, taking Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear on a cross-country adventure. After filming, the car was parked for years on the Warner Brothers back lot, but in 2004, it was obtained by the Studebaker Drivers Club’s Orange Empire Chapter and donated to the museum.

The museum figures it will cost $175,000 to restore the car to its movie appearance and to make operable the special effects modifications necessary to show the Muppets driving the car.

Carmel celebrates Indiana’s auto history

Carmel, Indiana, the city just north of Indianapolis that has been celebrated for its roundabout intersections, will celebrate Indiana’s automotive heritage by placing four sculptures along its 96th Street corridor, which will become something of an outdoor museum of automotive art.

The work of artist Arton Bayliss, the sculptures are to be placed in 2022 and 2023 in roundabouts at the Priority Way, Delegates Row, Gray Road and Hazel Dell Parkway intersections.

The sculptures will celebrate Marmon, Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, Stutz and Studebaker.

“Great public art is an important part of our mission in Carmel to create a City that stands apart for its beauty and quality of life,” Jim Brainard, the town’s mayor, is quoted in the announcement. “As this corridor is home to so many automobile dealerships, we felt it would be appropriate to celebrate the beauty and genius of Indiana’s classic cars and the remarkable contributions they made to the industry.”

The project will cost $2.5 million and is being paid from bonds approved by the city council.

Corvair museum seeks new home

The Corvair Preservation Foundation’s Corvair Museum in Glenarm, Illinois, has been informed the building that houses its collection has been sold and must be vacated by January 31, 2022. 

According to his Facebook post, curator and foundation president Mike Hall says he is looking for another building along historic Route 66 in the central part of the state.

Mustang Day activities for 2022

The Mustang Owner’s Museum in Concord, North Carolina, celebrates National Mustang Day in 2022 from April 14-17 with events including a cruise to the Whiskey Prison, various seminars, the Hall of Fame induction, and confirms that it has commitments to attend from the interior and exterior designers of SN-95, the fourth-generation Mustang. 

Porsche museum revises its ‘Prologue’

museum, ‘Muppet Car’ makeover and public auto art in Indiana, ClassicCars.com Journal
museum, ‘Muppet Car’ makeover and public auto art in Indiana, ClassicCars.com Journal

To provide visitors to the Porsche Museum in Germany with a new experience, the museum has redone its “prologue,” the area at the top of the escalator from which they begin their journey through the company’s history. The new prologue includes new interactive “touch points,” more than 20 stations, three “functional models” and several never-before-seen exhibits.

Among the cars on display in the prologue is the Egger-Lohner C.2, the 1898 hybrid created by Ferdinand Porsche.

Porsche notes that the new prologue also “takes an in-depth look at National Socialism and the Second World War period.”

Italian museum celebrates Jaguar

MAUTO, the acclaimed car museum in Torino, Italy, has an exhibit running through early June 2022 that offers what must be considered an usual pairing. The exhibit celebrates a pair of 60th anniversaries — that of the Jaguar E-Type and that of Diabolik, the Italian comic book series created 60 years ago by sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani.

You likely know quite a bit about the sleek Jaguar, but perhaps not as much about the comic book series, which included more than 800 issues with sales of more than 150 million copies worldwide.

Special events this weekend

museum, ‘Muppet Car’ makeover and public auto art in Indiana, ClassicCars.com Journal
Mini-museum at the mall

Britain’s National Motor Museum has taken its “Motoring in Miniature” exhibit on tour. Instead of its usual location at Beaulieu, England, the display has been moved to the Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth, where it is scheduled to remain until spring 2022.

In its news release, the museum adds that it is open to displaying the exhibit at other venues as well.

Mark your calendar

The Canadian Automobile Museum in Oshawa, Ontario, has announced its Third Thursday lecture topics for January and February. “Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights” will be presented January 20 at 7 p.m. on Zoom by Gretchen Sorin of the State University of New York College at Oneonta, and “The Death and Legacy of Sam McLaughlin – Looking Back After 50 Years” will be offered by Samantha George of the Parkwood National Historic Site on February 17.

“The Tucker Movie: What’s Real, What’s Not” is the subject of a program to be presented via Zoom by the AACA Museum on January 21, 2021. The presentation will include Preston Tucker’s grandchildren

A second wave of vehicles arrives September 22, 2022, and run through May 14, 2023, in “The Allure of the Extreme” supercar showcase at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

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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