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Drool Away: Jaw-Dropping Car Museums
Volo Auto Museum - Volo, IL
The Volo Auto Museum is located just forty-five miles northwest of Chicago and offers a large array of all kinds of vehicles. Military machinery, American muscle cars, European sportsters, and some of the most outlandish automobiles from the silver screen adorn the exhibits of the Volo Auto Museum. Chicago marks the end cap of Route 66, so a trip to Volo to get your road trip started seems more than appropriate.
Perhaps one of America's most iconic manufacturers of the past, Studebaker operated in South Bend, Indiana until the corporation became defunct in 1967. However, in the same town in which nameplate began, the Studebaker National Museum has played the part of memorializing this memorable American brand and has dozens of genuine Studebakers on display as well as an exhibit recreating the factory floor of the original South Bend plant.
The muscle car was perhaps one of the most unique designs of the American automotive industry. It encapsulated raw power at an affordable price point and this concept is celebrated at the massive 99,000 square foot Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida. A short drive up from Fort Myers, the museum (a former Wal-Mart) also hosts several outdoor car shows where guests can come by and show off some muscle of their own.
Home of some of the oddest contraptions to ever be called cars, Lane Motor Museum in Nashville Tennessee is definitely worth a look when visiting the music city. The museum is relatively young. It first opened in 2002 with just a handful of cars, but today it operates in a 40,000 square foot location with over 230 cars on hand ranging from little European oddities to military vehicles.
The Saratoga Automobile Museum has a vast array of exhibits ranging from historic in nature to performance. Their East of Detroit exhibit showcases the many brands of automobiles that were made in New York state in the past and that are still currently made today. They also have exhibits on super cars such as Ferrari and Aston Martin.
The National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada is one of the most expansive car museums in the United States. On display are over one hundred cars of all stripes ranging from celebrity rides to delivery trucks, beautiful paintings of cars and landscapes, and many other artifacts of the automotive world including gear and tools, some of which were used by Henry Ford himself.
Don't let the name fool you: this museum located just outside the Detroit city limits has a lot more to share than just Fords. On display are vehicles of all kinds, even some airplanes. Probably one of its more unique exhibits is the Presidential Limousine Exhibition featuring the rides of five presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan.
Billing itself as 'the racing capital of the world,' Indianapolis Motor Speedway has played host to some of North America's most memorable moments in auto racing. On site is the Hall of Fame Museum which has over seventy racing vehicles on display, all of which have competed on the track itself. Everything from NASCAR stock cars to super bikes to Formula One racers are on hand for your marveling pleasure.
It's no surprise that some iconic cars capture the American psyche so well that they have their own fan clubs, but only a select few warrant their own museums. America's favorite sports car, The Chevrolet Corvette, is one such brand. The Museum is set up directly across from the GM Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant, where every Corvette is made.
The Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A. shows off cars in every way imaginable. They have exhibitions on concept cars, aerodynamics, cars in Hollywood, the history of the hot rod, motorcycles, and even Hot Wheels. California is a state known for its love of cars and it shows. The Petersen Museum reflects this elegantly.
Matthew Henson is a racing enthusiast living in historic Greenville, SC. Having spent every summer of his childhood going to local racetracks with his grandfather and uncle - both of whom drove race cars they built themselves - Matthew developed a love of NASCAR and all motorsports early on.
Several of the major races Matthew has attended are an easy day trip from home. Greenville lies halfway between Charlotte Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, and in the dead center of the southeastern motorsports network.
Some people have to search for what they love, but Matthew was born into it.