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The only museum most guys will be caught dead in is a really good car museum. No matter what you like, whether it be antique cars of the early 1900s to the latest crazy compact cars, these museums have it all. If your interest in cars is more than passing and you want to experience the history of the automobile first-hand then you should check out some of these spectacular museums of automotive history.
Henry Ford Museum
More than just a car museum, the Henry Ford Museum features a wide-selection of events and exhibits year-round covering everything from automobiles to civil rights and architecture. For those of you interested solely in the automotive aspect of Ford, the museum also hosts tours of the Ford Rouge Factory. Their large showroom of historic automobiles also will appeal to individuals interested in early automotive history - slightly ironic when you consider Henry Ford’s most quoted statement is “History is more or less bunk.”
This classy museum in Tacoma has a very impressive collection of classic automobiles that regularly changes. They also host several events throughout the year, including the Portland Roadster Show, a showcase of tweaked-out hot-rods that’s over half a century old.
National Automobile Museum
Located in Reno Nevada, the National Automobile Museum proves there is more to Nevada than gambling and whores. Their large collection of classic and antique automobiles runs the gamut from 1907 Cadillac to a 1981 gold-platted De Lorean! They also have a small but impressive collection of “Celebrity Autos” including the 1949 Mercury that James Dean drove in Rebel Without A Cause (they don’t have his Spider though).
Trim your mullet, grab your trucker cap, put on your favorite pair of acid-wash jeans and take a trip to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. America’s first sports car finds its home here, with numerous exhibits and events celebrating its history and future. You can also embark for guided tours of the Corvette factory from the museum, which is less than a mile from the factory.
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA began as the personal collection of Larz Anderson (a wealth businessman and diplomat) that he opened to the public in 1927, making it the older car museum in the country. What’s even more remarkable is that much of Anderson’s personal collection is still on display, including a 1912 Renault and a Lincoln Limo from 1926. The Larz Anderson is an ideal attraction for fans of antique autos.
Volo Car Musuem
No this isn’t a museum celebrating the world’s safest cars, that woud be a Volvo museum, this is the Volo Auto Museum (located in Volo, Illinois). Home to galleries featuring antique cars, muscle cars and combat vehicles, but their main attraction is their awesome collection of Hollywood cars. They have the original Batmobile, The General Lee and even K.I.T.T.! If they put the three of those on the racetrack that would totally be the best car race in history (and my money would be on K.I.T.T.).
San Diego Automobile Museum
A lot of car museums only seem to focus on prewar antique cars, while the San Diego Car Museum does have its fair share of those, it also features newer cars all the way up to the early 90s. They also have several special exhibits throughout the year that showcase specific auto makers or types of cars, such as police cars.
Gilmore Car Museum
If you were just driving by the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners Michigan you might mistake it for nothing more than a really big farm, since all of the buildings on the property resemble old-fashioned barns. You’d be mistaken though, as this indoor/outdoor car museum features a wide selection of cars which include a rare Tucker automobile, a nice selection of muscle cars and what they claim to be “the very last Camaro sold”. No word if that Camaro is a bitchin’ Camaro. Since it’s an indoor/outdoor complex located in Michigan, the museum is closed from October to May.
Chrysler Heritage Museum
All things Chrysler are showcased at the Chrysler Heritage Museum in Aurburn Hills Michigan. This snazzy looking showroom features Chryslers from as far back as 1902 to as recent as 1999. They also have a media gallery where you see classic ads from as far back as the 1920s.
Located in Germany (surprise) the Mercedes-Benz museum is housed in an absolutely beautiful building that was just opened last year. The facility currently has over 160 cars on display, ranging from antique automobiles from the 1900s to futuristic concept cars that have yet to be released. If you’re a car nut and just happen to be Deutschland you should drop by.
Coventry Transport Museum
Celebrating British automotive history, the Coventry Transport Museum only focuses on cars and other forms of transport made in the UK. British-based car manufacturers like Jaguar and Mini Cooper get preferential treatment here, as do motorcycle companies like Triumph. The Coventry Museum also has several rocket cars (including the first car that broke the sound barrier) and an incredibly realistic simulator that puts you in the drivers’ seat of a rocket car (barf bag not included).
Musée National de l'Automobile de Mulhouse
If you like European cars then the Musée National de l'Automobile de Mulhouse is must-see. There are over 400 cars on display at the museum at any time, the highlight being a legendary collection of Bugatti motor vehicles that numbers over 100. Enzo, Ferrari and other legendary car manufacturers are also represented at this exotic car fan’s wet dream of a museum.