Just north of Albany - in Saratoga Springs, New York - lies the Saratoga Automobile Museum, one of the nation’s most historic and comprehensive museums dedicated solely to cars. While the museum focuses heavily on the importance of automobiles in New York state, it also recognizes the impact of automobiles worldwide.
An example of the museum's wider focus can be seen in its Porsche exhibit, which details the role of the Porsche brand in American sports car racing, the Twenty-Four Hours of Le Mans in France, as well as street legal consumer vehicles like the 911 and the Carrera.
One of the made in New York cars in the Eat of Detroit exhibit — Photo courtesy of Matthew Simonds
One of the most interesting exhibits is the East of Detroit exhibit, which details the existence of the now almost forgotten automobile manufacturing industry in New York. At one time over 100 different vehicle manufacturers we headquartered in New York state, and in the early twentieth century New Yorkers owned more automobiles than any other state. Names like Pierce-Arrow, Franklin, and Gagemobile used to be common along the east coast but since have faded into obscurity. The exhibit features five cars made in New York at a time when Detroit was not yet the motor city.
If consumer cars aren’t what gets your motor running, then the museum has three other exhibits that may pique your interest. The first is the 2012 NASCAR exhibit which futures over a dozen actual NASCAR race cars from 1948 to 2009 and even one heavily modified 1939 rum running Ford Business Coupe that could transport over 100 gallons of hooch in a single night’s run.
Other racing related exhibits include the Racing in New York exhibit, which shows off ten racing vehicles ranging from Maseratis and Ferraris to dirt track sprint cars and NASCAR style modifieds. The final exhibit is the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame featuring drivers, car owners, and other important figures associated with racing the state of New York.
The Saratoga Automobile Museum offers discounts for students, seniors, and kids under 6 get in free. The museum is usually open on Tuesday through Sunday from 10am until 5pm, but times may vary on certain dates, so check with their site to double check.
If one wants to learn more about the history of automobiles in New York, or simply take in the amazing plethora of vehicles and artifacts on display, the Saratoga is definitely the place to be. With new exhibits coming in every year, there’s always something worth seeing with every visit.
110 Ave of the Pines, Saratoga Springs