Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg

July 18, 2016

From the moment I passed through the doors into the old showroom, I knew - this was going to be worthwhile and eagerly admired and read about the cars and their histories.

All three are classic car makes that are now obsolete, but in their day were three of the most  stylish, innovative and luxurious cars consturcted in Auburn, Indiana. Many have told me I should stop at this automobile museum, thus I planned a visit. 

I was not disappointed. It is an incredible collection and record of automotive history in the former general offices for the cars. Many of the cars are displayed on the first floor just as they were back in the day. It would not be exaggerating to say the cars are jaw-droopingly beautiful. With artistic designs, and stylish touches from hood ornaments, pin striping, color choices and streamlining the cars were show stoppers then as well as they are now.

And to top it off the Art Deco designed building is the perfect enhancement for displaying the vehicles. 

Two floors incorporate some of the old offices and design center, but other Indiana made cars, early pre-teen, teen, 20’s, 30’s cars, not all are Auburn, Cord or Duesenberg some are unrestored originals showing the natural wear and patina of the years. According to the information printed on the displays, museums like to have un-disturbed originals for perfect examples of how the cars were built so that restorations can be completed exactly as built. As a result, perfect, used, stock cars also grace spaces throughout the museum some on loan from the owners. 

When I thought I had seen everything, I found the former offices of the company president, the elevator that carried the full sized models from the second story design area to the first floor, many photos and advertising posters, a room of massive engines and so much more.

It was such an impressive display in such an awesome setting that I had a hard time pulling myself away, but after 4 hours, it was time to leave and consider my return to driving further or staying in the Auburn area. Staying here is my best option and tomorrow I will set out and pick up US 30 which I plan to travel well into Iowa. If something catches my attention, I may stop to investigate and enjoy it. 

The car above has an interesting history: in 1919 a farmer’s daughter was dating a young man of whom the father disapproved. To encourage and prompt her to abandon her love interest in her suitor, the father bought her this car with her promise to cease seeing the man. However, the daughter did not stop and once her father discovered her betrayal, he took the car back and stored it for 50 years, undisturbed. The majestic car is stately and an excellent original approaching its 100th year.

u © Donald E. Kline 2012