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 was not often the only “Motor City.” In the 1st 50 % of the 20th century, hundreds of automobile marques were being generated in dozens of towns and cities throughout America’s industrial heartland.

Whilst Auburn, Indiana, no more time provides cars, the town’s automotive historical past is, you could say, a true Duesy. And the town even now celebrates — in a large way — its heritage as a single of the leading producers of luxury motor vehicles in the 1920s and 1930s.

Just a 3-hour generate from Columbus in northeast Indiana, Auburn nowadays is residence to three entire world-class automotive museums. 

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You do not need to have to be an fanatic of antique cars to be fully dazzled by the collections on show in Auburn. And the properties in which the museums are housed are practically as interesting as the vehicles they consist of.

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

Auburn Twine Duesenberg Auto Museum

The Auburn Wire Duesenberg Automobile Museum ( is committed, as the name would propose, to the Auburn, Wire and Duesenberg models manufactured in Auburn by the Auburn Automobile Business.

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

The headquarters was finished in 1930 in the art deco-type, a style that also educated the structure of the streamlined, motorized beauties the business marketed to discerning vehicle prospective buyers.

The constructing, alone a National Historic Landmark, has been restored to its deco luster and would be worthy of traveling to even with out the dozens of common cars — some 1 of a form — that are on display on the showroom ground, just as they would have been when the building 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 website visitors will obtain a range of other shows on the a few concentrations of the headquarters developing, such as the place of work of enterprise president E.L. Wire.

Wire, an automotive visionary, took control of Auburn Car in 1926 and procured Duesenberg a calendar year afterwards. For the duration of Cord’s tenure, Auburn generated some of the most iconic automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Other shows include the Early Auburns Gallery, showcasing automobiles constructed by the enterprise from 1903 right until Cord’s ascension and a screen of other early automobiles constructed 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 Vehicle & Truck Museum

The National Auto & Truck Museum ( is situated straight at the rear of the Auburn Wire Duesenberg Museum in the previous provider and experimental structures of the Auburn Vehicle Business.

The structures, as when they were being built, are a lot more utilitarian than the ornate headquarters developing, but they are the excellent location to display screen the museum’s eclectic collection.

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

Among the hundreds of autos are a significant assortment of trucks and engines constructed by Intercontinental Harvester and Navistar common vehicles of the 1950s muscle mass vehicles of the 1960s and 1970s, an genuine 1948 roadside diner moved inside of the museum, and a lot of prototypes and a single-of-a-form autos.

Also inside of the larger museum is the collection of the Nationwide Automotive & Truck Model & Toy Museum, with hundreds of toy and product automobiles, like a huge exhibit of antique pedal cars. 

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

Ford V-8 Basis

The Early Ford V-8 Foundation crafted its nationwide museum ( in Auburn simply because of the other automotive museums by now located there, mentioned museum Executive Director Joshua Conrad. 

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

The centerpiece of the museum is a newly opened wing, such as a area resembling a smaller edition of the Ford Rotunda pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World’s Honest. The initial rotunda was later on moved to Ford’s Dearborn Michigan Headquarters, exactly where it served as a business customer centre until eventually 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 of the new creating reproduces an upscale 1936 Ford supplier showroom and shows reps of every Ford model for sale that yr.

Guests can even take a self-guided stroll for a 1936 showroom knowledge, learning about the capabilities crucial to several buyers of the era, and which motor vehicle would probably attractiveness to every single consumer.

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

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Every motor vehicle, which seems as new as the working day it rolled off the factory flooring, shines with an almost heavenly gleam. The surfaces are so reflective that, without care, each picture a visitor requires of a automobile can become an accidental selfie.

The museum involves numerous other shows and galleries, including a huge assortment of early Ford tractors.

People who want even far more previous-car or truck activities can time a pay a visit to to coincide with one particular of Auburn’s several automotive-concentrated situations, these types of 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 Pageant (, held more than Labor Day weekend, appeals to hundreds of site visitors from around the planet to a large assortment of antique automotive events such as parades, swap-satisfies, cruise-ins and a substantial and renowned typical vehicle auction.

For a lot more data about other issues 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].


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