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 1st half of the 20th century, hundreds of vehicle marques had been manufactured in dozens of metropolitan areas and towns throughout America’s industrial heartland.

Whilst Auburn, Indiana, no extended produces cars, the town’s automotive history is, you may possibly say, a authentic Duesy. And the city nonetheless celebrates — in a major way — its heritage as one of the top producers of luxury motor automobiles in the 1920s and 1930s.

Just a three-hour push from Columbus in northeast Indiana, Auburn now is property to three globe-course automotive museums. 

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You really do not will need to be an fanatic of antique automobiles to be totally dazzled by the collections on display in Auburn. And the structures in which the museums are housed are almost as intriguing as the autos they consist of.

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

Auburn Wire Duesenberg Auto Museum

The Auburn Wire Duesenberg Automobile Museum ( is focused, as the name would advise, to the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg products created in Auburn by the Auburn Car Company.

The museum is positioned in the first automotive showroom in just what was the company’s world headquarters.

The headquarters was concluded in 1930 in the art deco-fashion, a design and style that also informed the structure of the streamlined, motorized beauties the company marketed to discerning car consumers.

The developing, itself a Countrywide Historic Landmark, has been restored to its deco luster and would be well worth going to even without the need of the dozens of typical vehicles — some a person of a form — that are on show on the showroom flooring, just as they would have been when the developing 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 readers will uncover a assortment of other displays on the a few ranges of the headquarters developing, which includes the business of organization president E.L. Wire.

Twine, an automotive visionary, took control of Auburn Car in 1926 and purchased Duesenberg a 12 months later on. For the duration of Cord’s tenure, Auburn created some of the most legendary automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Other shows consist of the Early Auburns Gallery, that includes automobiles designed by the company from 1903 right up until Cord’s ascension and a screen of other early vehicles built 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.

National Vehicle & Truck Museum

The Nationwide Car & Truck Museum ( is positioned straight driving the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in the previous company and experimental properties of the Auburn Vehicle Company.

The structures, as when they were built, are additional utilitarian than the ornate headquarters developing, but they are the great spot to show the museum’s eclectic selection.

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

Among the hundreds of vehicles are a huge collection of vans and engines created by Global Harvester and Navistar typical cars and trucks of the 1950s muscle autos of the 1960s and 1970s, an real 1948 roadside diner moved within the museum, and numerous prototypes and one-of-a-variety automobiles.

Also within the greater museum is the selection of the National Automotive & Truck Design & Toy Museum, with hundreds of toy and design vehicles, such as a big display screen of antique pedal cars. 

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

Ford V-8 Foundation

The Early Ford V-8 Foundation built its countrywide museum ( in Auburn for the reason that of the other automotive museums presently situated there, reported museum Executive Director Joshua Conrad. 

The museum is dedicated to 1932–53 Ford automobiles, which also replicate substantially of the artwork deco aesthetic of the age.

The centerpiece of the museum is a newly opened wing, together with a segment resembling a smaller model of the Ford Rotunda pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World’s Good. The unique rotunda was later on moved to Ford’s Dearborn Michigan Headquarters, the place it served as a firm customer middle until finally it burned in 1962.

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

Today, the initial Ford Rotunda marquee welcomes visitors to the museum. The inside of the new constructing reproduces an upscale 1936 Ford supplier showroom and shows representatives of each individual Ford design for sale that year.

People can even choose a self-guided stroll for a 1936 showroom knowledge, understanding about the characteristics critical to several customers of the era, and which auto would most likely enchantment to each 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 vehicle, which appears to be as new as the day it rolled off the factory ground, shines with an just about heavenly gleam. The surfaces are so reflective that, without the need of treatment, just about every image a customer can take of a car can turn into an accidental selfie.

The museum incorporates various other shows and galleries, together with a substantial selection of early Ford tractors.

Site visitors who want even extra previous-car experiences can time a take a look at to coincide with a single of Auburn’s a lot of automotive-focused situations, these as the 3rd 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 once-a-year Auburn Twine Duesenberg Festival (, held about Labor Day weekend, attracts hundreds of readers from close to the earth to a broad variety of antique automotive functions together with parades, swap-satisfies, cruise-ins and a big and renowned classic auto auction.

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

Steve Stephens is a freelance journey writer and photographer. E mail him at [email protected].

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