Car museums in Auburn, Indiana, display classic vehicles

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

AUBURN, Ind. — Detroit was not normally the only “Motor City.” In the very first 50 % of the 20th century, hundreds of auto marques were being generated in dozens of metropolitan areas and towns across America’s industrial heartland.

Despite the fact that Auburn, Indiana, no extended creates automobiles, the town’s automotive historical past is, you could say, a authentic Duesy. And the city however celebrates — in a significant way — its heritage as 1 of the prime producers of luxury motor motor vehicles in the 1920s and 1930s.

Just a three-hour travel from Columbus in northeast Indiana, Auburn currently is household to three planet-class automotive museums. 

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You really do not have to have to be an fanatic of antique cars to be totally dazzled by the collections on exhibit in Auburn. And the structures in which the museums are housed are virtually as intriguing as the motor vehicles they consist of.

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

Auburn Wire Duesenberg Automobile Museum

The Auburn Twine Duesenberg Automobile Museum ( is committed, as the name would recommend, to the Auburn, Twine and Duesenberg versions made in Auburn by the Auburn Car Enterprise.

The museum is located in the unique automotive showroom in just what was the company’s entire world headquarters.

The headquarters was finished in 1930 in the artwork deco-type, a model that also knowledgeable the style and design of the streamlined, motorized beauties the corporation bought to discerning auto purchasers.

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 vintage vehicles — some just one of a variety — that are on exhibit on the showroom ground, just as they would have been when the setting up 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 people will obtain a wide range of other shows on the a few concentrations of the headquarters setting up, including the business office of enterprise president E.L. Wire.

Wire, an automotive visionary, took handle of Auburn Vehicle in 1926 and procured Duesenberg a 12 months later on. All through Cord’s tenure, Auburn produced some of the most iconic automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Other displays involve the Early Auburns Gallery, showcasing autos constructed by the enterprise from 1903 until eventually Cord’s ascension and a exhibit of other early automobiles crafted 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 Automobile & Truck Museum

The National Vehicle & Truck Museum ( is found right driving the Auburn Wire Duesenberg Museum in the former support and experimental properties of the Auburn Car Organization.

The constructions, as when they had been designed, are additional utilitarian than the ornate headquarters building, but they are the perfect location to display screen the museum’s eclectic assortment.

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

Amongst the hundreds of motor vehicles are a large assortment of trucks and engines designed by Intercontinental Harvester and Navistar classic cars and trucks of the 1950s muscle mass automobiles of the 1960s and 1970s, an actual 1948 roadside diner moved inside of the museum, and numerous prototypes and one-of-a-variety autos.

Also within the much larger museum is the assortment of the Nationwide Automotive & Truck Model & Toy Museum, with hundreds of toy and design cars, which includes a huge display of antique pedal cars and trucks. 

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

Ford V-8 Foundation

The Early Ford V-8 Foundation designed its national museum ( in Auburn because of the other automotive museums now located there, claimed museum Government Director Joshua Conrad. 

The museum is devoted to 1932–53 Ford autos, which also reflect much of the artwork deco aesthetic of the age.

The centerpiece of the museum is a freshly opened wing, like a portion resembling a scaled-down model of the Ford Rotunda pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World’s Truthful. The primary rotunda was afterwards moved to Ford’s Dearborn Michigan Headquarters, wherever it served as a company visitor center until eventually it burned in 1962.

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

Now, the unique Ford Rotunda marquee welcomes website visitors to the museum. The within of the new constructing reproduces an upscale 1936 Ford dealer showroom and displays reps of each individual Ford design for sale that yr.

Readers can even acquire a self-guided stroll for a 1936 showroom encounter, studying about the functions critical to various purchasers of the period, and which motor vehicle would likely attractiveness to every single buyer.

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

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Each car, which appears to be like as new as the day it rolled off the manufacturing unit floor, shines with an almost heavenly gleam. The surfaces are so reflective that, without the need of care, every single photograph a customer usually takes of a motor vehicle can become an accidental selfie.

The museum consists of many other shows and galleries, which include a substantial collection of early Ford tractors.

Site visitors who want even extra old-car activities can time a visit to coincide with 1 of Auburn’s several automotive-targeted gatherings, this kind of 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 annual Auburn Twine Duesenberg Festival (, held in excess of Labor Working day weekend, attracts thousands of people from around the earth to a vast selection of antique automotive gatherings like parades, swap-fulfills, cruise-ins and a significant and renowned traditional vehicle auction.

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

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

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