May 21, 2024


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Car museums in Auburn, Indiana, display classic vehicles

Visitors to the Auburn museum will have to decide for themselves which is more beautiful -- the building or the cars.

AUBURN, Ind. — Detroit wasn’t constantly the only “Motor City.” In the very first 50 % of the 20th century, hundreds of vehicle marques have been produced in dozens of towns and towns across America’s industrial heartland.

While Auburn, Indiana, no longer provides cars, the town’s automotive history is, you may well say, a genuine Duesy. And the city even now celebrates — in a large way — its heritage as just one of the leading producers of luxury motor motor vehicles in the 1920s and 1930s.

Just a 3-hour generate from Columbus in northeast Indiana, Auburn nowadays is house to 3 world-course automotive museums. 

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You never require to be an enthusiast of antique vehicles to be fully dazzled by the collections on show in Auburn. And the buildings in which the museums are housed are practically as fascinating as the automobiles they have.

Classic vehicles are lined up along the showroom window at the Auburn museum.

Auburn Twine Duesenberg Vehicle Museum

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Car Museum ( is focused, as the title would counsel, to the Auburn, Wire and Duesenberg designs developed in Auburn by the Auburn Automobile Business.

The museum is positioned in the initial automotive showroom inside of what was the company’s entire world headquarters.

The headquarters was finished in 1930 in the art deco-design, a type that also educated the structure of the streamlined, motorized beauties the enterprise marketed to discerning auto consumers.

The constructing, by itself a Nationwide Historic Landmark, has been restored to its deco luster and would be truly worth traveling to even with no the dozens of common vehicles — some a single of a sort — that are on display on the showroom floor, just as they would have been when the constructing was new.

Now the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, this art deco beauty was once the headquarters of the Auburn Automobile Company

In addition to the showroom, museum guests will come across a selection of other shows on the 3 degrees of the headquarters making, such as the workplace of enterprise president E.L. Cord.

Wire, an automotive visionary, took management of Auburn Auto in 1926 and purchased Duesenberg a year later. All through Cord’s tenure, Auburn manufactured some of the most legendary automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Other shows include things like the Early Auburns Gallery, that includes cars built by the corporation from 1903 till Cord’s ascension and a display screen of other early cars and trucks developed in other Indiana factories.

Hundred of classic vehicles like this 1931 GMC owned by a local Shell Oil distributor are displayed at the National Auto & Truck Museum.

Countrywide Car & Truck Museum

The Countrywide Auto & Truck Museum ( is situated directly at the rear of the Auburn Wire Duesenberg Museum in the previous company and experimental buildings of the Auburn Automobile Company.

The buildings, as when they had been constructed, are much more utilitarian than the ornate headquarters constructing, but they are the perfect area to display the museum’s eclectic selection.

An art deco chandelier is one of many original ornaments decorating the former Auburn Automobile headquarters.

Amongst the hundreds of automobiles are a massive collection of vans and engines developed by Global Harvester and Navistar vintage automobiles of the 1950s muscle vehicles of the 1960s and 1970s, an real 1948 roadside diner moved inside of the museum, and several prototypes and one particular-of-a-type vehicles.

Also inside of the larger sized museum is the assortment of the Nationwide Automotive & Truck Model & Toy Museum, with hundreds of toy and design autos, like a significant exhibit of antique pedal vehicles. 

Even the hood ornaments are works of art at the Auburn museum.

Ford V-8 Foundation

The Early Ford V-8 Basis developed its national museum ( in Auburn for the reason that of the other automotive museums now situated there, stated museum Executive Director Joshua Conrad. 

The museum is focused to 1932–53 Ford motor vehicles, which also replicate considerably of the artwork deco aesthetic of the age.

The centerpiece of the museum is a newly opened wing, which includes a portion resembling a smaller variation of the Ford Rotunda pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. The unique rotunda was afterwards moved to Ford’s Dearborn Michigan Headquarters, wherever it served as a firm visitor middle until eventually it burned in 1962.

A 1936 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan gleams in the Ford museum as it would have in the showroom.

These days, the authentic Ford Rotunda marquee welcomes guests to the museum. The inside of of the new setting up reproduces an upscale 1936 Ford vendor showroom and shows reps of each and every Ford model for sale that year.

People can even consider a self-guided stroll for a 1936 showroom knowledge, finding out about the capabilities significant to different buyers of the period, and which vehicle would most likely charm to each individual consumer.

A father and son from a classic Ford campaign ogle a 1953 beauty at the Ford museum.

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Just about every auto, which appears as new as the working day it rolled off the manufacturing facility ground, shines with an practically heavenly gleam. The surfaces are so reflective that, devoid of treatment, each and every photo a customer takes of a motor vehicle can become an accidental selfie.

The museum consists of several other shows and galleries, such as a big selection of early Ford tractors.

Website visitors who want even extra previous-auto experiences can time a stop by to coincide with just one of Auburn’s several automotive-targeted events, these as the Third Thursday Cruise-Ins held on the DeKalb County Courthouse Square.

This rainbow of classic Fords is one of many displays at the Ford museum.

And the yearly Auburn Twine Duesenberg Competition (, held above Labor Day weekend, draws in hundreds of people from about the earth to a large range of antique automotive functions which includes parades, swap-meets, cruise-ins and a big and renowned typical automobile auction.

For a lot more facts about other points to see and do in Auburn and DeKalb County, stop by

Steve Stephens is a freelance vacation author and photographer. Email him at [email protected].