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 always the only “Motor Metropolis.” In the 1st 50 percent of the 20th century, hundreds of automobile marques were being created in dozens of cities and towns across America’s industrial heartland.

While Auburn, Indiana, no extended provides automobiles, the town’s automotive background is, you might say, a real Duesy. And the town still celebrates — in a large way — its heritage as a single of the top rated producers of luxurious motor vehicles in the 1920s and 1930s.

Just a a few-hour drive from Columbus in northeast Indiana, Auburn right now is residence to a few globe-class automotive museums. 

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You do not have to have to be an fanatic of antique automobiles to be fully dazzled by the collections on display screen in Auburn. And the structures in which the museums are housed are approximately as intriguing as the vehicles they incorporate.

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

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

The Auburn Twine Duesenberg Automobile Museum ( is dedicated, as the name would advise, to the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg versions manufactured in Auburn by the Auburn Automobile Organization.

The museum is situated in the authentic automotive showroom in what was the company’s environment headquarters.

The headquarters was finished in 1930 in the art deco-design and style, a model that also knowledgeable the design of the streamlined, motorized beauties the organization sold to discerning auto consumers.

The creating, alone a National Historic Landmark, has been restored to its deco luster and would be worthy of going to even without the need of the dozens of classic automobiles — some 1 of a form — that are on exhibit on the showroom floor, 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 people will uncover a variety of other displays on the three ranges of the headquarters creating, such as the business office of company president E.L. Wire.

Twine, an automotive visionary, took manage of Auburn Automobile in 1926 and procured Duesenberg a yr later on. During Cord’s tenure, Auburn generated some of the most legendary automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Other displays consist of the Early Auburns Gallery, featuring cars designed by the organization from 1903 until eventually Cord’s ascension and a show of other early cars 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.

Nationwide Auto & Truck Museum

The National Auto & Truck Museum ( is found directly behind the Auburn Wire Duesenberg Museum in the previous assistance and experimental buildings of the Auburn Automobile Enterprise.

The constructions, as when they ended up constructed, are additional utilitarian than the ornate headquarters constructing, but they are the best spot to display screen the museum’s eclectic selection.

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

Among the hundreds of vehicles are a big selection of trucks and engines developed by Worldwide Harvester and Navistar classic cars of the 1950s muscle mass cars of the 1960s and 1970s, an real 1948 roadside diner moved within the museum, and quite a few prototypes and one particular-of-a-kind vehicles.

Also in the larger sized museum is the assortment of the National Automotive & Truck Design & Toy Museum, with hundreds of toy and product cars, which includes a big display 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 designed its countrywide museum ( in Auburn for the reason that of the other automotive museums by now located there, mentioned museum Govt Director Joshua Conrad. 

The museum is committed to 1932–53 Ford vehicles, which also reflect much of the art deco aesthetic of the age.

The centerpiece of the museum is a freshly opened wing, which include a section resembling a more compact model of the Ford Rotunda pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World’s Reasonable. The first rotunda was later moved to Ford’s Dearborn Michigan Headquarters, wherever it served as a enterprise customer middle right up until it burned in 1962.

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

Nowadays, the authentic Ford Rotunda marquee welcomes site visitors to the museum. The inside of the new constructing reproduces an upscale 1936 Ford dealer showroom and shows associates of every Ford product for sale that calendar year.

Readers can even just take a self-guided stroll for a 1936 showroom working experience, understanding about the capabilities important to different potential buyers of the period, and which car or truck would probably appeal to every consumer.

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

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Just about every automobile, which appears to be as new as the day it rolled off the manufacturing unit floor, shines with an pretty much heavenly gleam. The surfaces are so reflective that, without having treatment, every picture a visitor will take of a automobile can turn into an accidental selfie.

The museum consists of numerous other displays and galleries, which include a substantial assortment of early Ford tractors.

Readers who want even much more old-car activities can time a pay a visit to to coincide with one of Auburn’s quite a few automotive-centered situations, this sort 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 Cord Duesenberg Pageant (, held above Labor Working day weekend, draws in countless numbers of site visitors from all around the planet to a wide assortment of antique automotive events like parades, swap-fulfills, cruise-ins and a substantial and renowned common automobile auction.

For additional facts about other factors to see and do in Auburn and DeKalb County, visit

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


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