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 Metropolis.” In the initially 50 percent of the 20th century, hundreds of vehicle marques had been made in dozens of towns and cities across America’s industrial heartland.

While Auburn, Indiana, no extended generates vehicles, the town’s automotive background is, you could say, a genuine Duesy. And the city continue to celebrates — in a massive way — its heritage as 1 of the best producers of luxurious motor autos in the 1920s and 1930s.

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

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You really don’t have to have to be an enthusiast of antique automobiles to be wholly dazzled by the collections on screen in Auburn. And the structures in which the museums are housed are nearly as interesting as the vehicles they contain.

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

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Car Museum

The Auburn Wire Duesenberg Automobile Museum ( is devoted, as the identify would counsel, to the Auburn, Wire and Duesenberg designs made in Auburn by the Auburn Automobile Company.

The museum is situated in the unique automotive showroom within just what was the company’s globe headquarters.

The headquarters was done in 1930 in the artwork deco-style, a design and style that also educated the design of the streamlined, motorized beauties the company sold to discerning automobile customers.

The building, itself a Countrywide Historic Landmark, has been restored to its deco luster and would be well worth browsing even without the need of the dozens of typical automobiles — some a single of a form — that are on show 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 readers will uncover a selection of other shows on the 3 ranges of the headquarters developing, which includes the office of firm president E.L. Wire.

Wire, an automotive visionary, took regulate of Auburn Automobile in 1926 and procured Duesenberg a 12 months afterwards. All through Cord’s tenure, Auburn generated some of the most iconic automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Other shows incorporate the Early Auburns Gallery, featuring cars and trucks developed by the enterprise from 1903 until finally Cord’s ascension and a show of other early cars and trucks designed 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 Nationwide Auto & Truck Museum ( is found immediately powering the Auburn Wire Duesenberg Museum in the previous provider and experimental buildings of the Auburn Auto Company.

The constructions, as when they were being created, are much more utilitarian than the ornate headquarters building, but they are the best place to display the museum’s eclectic assortment.

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

Between the hundreds of cars are a big assortment of trucks and engines built by Intercontinental Harvester and Navistar typical vehicles of the 1950s muscle automobiles of the 1960s and 1970s, an precise 1948 roadside diner moved within the museum, and many prototypes and a single-of-a-type autos.

Also within just the larger sized museum is the selection of the Nationwide Automotive & Truck Model & Toy Museum, with hundreds of toy and model automobiles, which includes a significant display screen of antique pedal autos. 

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

Ford V-8 Basis

The Early Ford V-8 Basis crafted its countrywide museum ( in Auburn since of the other automotive museums by now situated there, stated museum Government Director Joshua Conrad. 

The museum is dedicated to 1932–53 Ford motor vehicles, which also replicate a great deal of the art deco aesthetic of the age.

The centerpiece of the museum is a newly opened wing, together with a part resembling a scaled-down edition of the Ford Rotunda pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World’s Good. The original rotunda was later moved to Ford’s Dearborn Michigan Headquarters, in which it served as a business customer middle until it burned in 1962.

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

Today, the unique Ford Rotunda marquee welcomes visitors to the museum. The within of the new making reproduces an upscale 1936 Ford vendor showroom and shows reps of just about every Ford model for sale that 12 months.

Website visitors can even choose a self-guided stroll for a 1936 showroom knowledge, mastering about the options significant to many purchasers of the period, and which automobile would most likely appeal to every single customer.

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 to be as new as the working day it rolled off the factory flooring, shines with an practically heavenly gleam. The surfaces are so reflective that, without having care, each individual picture a visitor can take of a motor vehicle can turn out to be an accidental selfie.

The museum features a number of other displays and galleries, including a substantial assortment of early Ford tractors.

Readers who want even additional previous-automobile experiences can time a check out to coincide with just one of Auburn’s quite a few automotive-centered functions, these types of as the Third Thursday Cruise-Ins held on the DeKalb County Courthouse Sq..

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

And the once-a-year Auburn Cord Duesenberg Competition (, held in excess of Labor Day weekend, attracts countless numbers of site visitors from all around the world to a vast range of antique automotive functions which includes parades, swap-fulfills, cruise-ins and a huge and renowned common auto auction.

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

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

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