Trouble coming up with a meaningful gift for Dad? Instead of another something he doesn’t really need, how about a gift of an experience instead? Most men enjoy classic cars, so museums filled with beautifully restored automobiles make the perfect place to visit. Here are seven car museums that dads—or anyone who appreciates classic or antique cars—enjoy.
1. Pontiac Oakland Museum
What do you do with a collection of 20 restored Pontiacs and Oaklands and more memorabilia than you have room to store? Open a museum, of course. And what better place to open the Pontiac Oakland Museum than Pontiac, Illinois, a popular stop along the historic Route 66? That’s exactly what Tim Dye did when he and his wife Penny pulled up roots from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and moved their collection to Illinois. Read more
2. Kokomo Automotive Museum
The Kokomo Automotive Museum started as a dream of the local Pioneer Auto Club. To fund their dream museum, the club began the annual Haynes-Apperson Festival, now held over the July 4th weekend. They held the first festival in the late 1970s. Twenty-two years later, their dream museum became reality. Today the Kokomo Automotive Museum houses about a hundred cars, many of which were built in Indiana. The museum highlights Haynes and Apperson automobiles, both made in Kokomo. In fact, the museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Haynes and Apperson automobiles under one roof. Read more
3. Model T Museum
The Model T Museum in Richmond, Indiana, is a must for early Model T car enthusiasts. Hosted by the Model T Club of America, the museum includes five immersive exhibits plus additional galleries. Take an interactive virtual tour on the museum’s website to get an idea of what the museum offers.
4. Studebaker National Museum
Few transportation companies successfully transitioned from manufacturing wagons and carriages to automobiles. Studebaker was one of the exceptions. In the early 1900s, the company moved from carriages to battery-powered cars. A few years later they transitioned to gasoline engines. The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, traces the history of the company from wagon to the last cars Studebaker manufactured, in the mid-1960s. Read more
5. Gilmore Car Museum
With 90 acres, seven buildings, and over 400 cars, plan to spend the entire day at the Gilmore Car Museum, located in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Experience nostalgia, not just of cars but also the lifestyles the cars created. Ride in a classic car, tour a recreated 1930s Shell gas station, and order the Blue Plate special at the Blue Moon Diner, an authentic 1941 diner. Gilmore Car Museum details
When you think of Hershey, Pennsylvania, most likely the first thing you think of is chocolate. But there is more to Hershey than chocolate—like the AACA Museum. Any classic car enthusiast would love the AACA Museum. Cars range from a Chicago Benton Harbor, made in 1895, to a 2002 BMW Mini-Cooper that has been modified into a snowmobile. The museum exhibits a lot of awesome cars, but what particularly caught our attention was the collection of Tucker automobiles. The collection includes 48 automobiles, engines and memorabilia from David Cammack, Tucker historian and collector. It is the world’s largest Tucker collection in the world. Read more
Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Collection
If you’ve been to the casinos in Laughlin, Nevada, you’ve surely noticed the Desert Racing machine collection on the Riverside Resort’s first floor. What you may not know is that the bulk of Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Collection is on the resort’s third floor is the south tower. Be sure to sign up for a King of Clubs Players’ Card for free admission to the third floor exhibit. Visit the museum website for more details.
What are your favorite car museums?
Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe it’s an appreciation for a work of art on four wheels. Regardless, seeing rooms full of beautifully restored automobiles in these car museums is a real treat for car lovers. What car museums would you recommend? Let us know in the Comments section below.