I have had the opportunity to visit most of America’s great transportation museums. Having that background I can state that in my opinion the Gilmore Car Museum is the best in the country.
I had read about the Gilmore for some time now, and had always looked forward to going. With the long Labor Day weekend and the emphasis on cars, now was the time.
When we arrived one of the staff said ‘see you in 4 hours’. He was wrong, we spent 4 1/2 hours 🙂
Gilmore is more than just a single building with some cars. It is a campus of buildings and barns, each featuring a genre of cars or car companies.
Each building is immaculate, clean and well light with great presentations. They also take pride in that there aren’t barriers for most cars, just notes to remind you not to touch. This makes photography much easier.
Among the buildings is a 1940s diner that was moved from Connecticut. It serves as the restaurant for the museum. We had a basic lunch there, with great milkshakes and friendly staff.
An example of one of the barns. This one was moved from a nearby farm, with 2 levels for cars.
A complete 1930s Shell Station.
The pumps represent different eras.
The motorcycle building.
Inside are a number of bikes from the early 1900s to current day.
A vintage Cleveland and 1919 Johnson.
As the sign notes – a 1928 Indian. Check out that rear seat.
Outside near one of the storage barns is an un-restored London double decker bus.
Another building – another collection. This one has a peddle car collection.
As with the motorcycles, the collection was vast and pristine.
Even some peddle airplanes – how cool.
In the 1960s Mr Gilmore built a replica of the train depot for the little town of Hickory Corners. Inside is a hood ornament display.
I am always enthralled by the old hood ornaments.
Almost too nice for the hood of a car.
At the Gilmore they have over 1300 of them.
While the photography was tricky with the display cases and the light and shadows, many came out very nice.
Also called mascots, it was a common occurrence in the 1930s to personalize your car with a different ornament.
Our next building was called ‘The Classics’. Higher end cars from the 1930s.
A Cadillac for a movie star.
The large two level barn shown earlier from the outside had 1950s cars on the lower level.
And the impressive upper level had earlier models.
Hudson Motor Car Company made automobiles from 1909 through 1954. This one is from the 1940s.
So many great cars.
In the same barn is a Ford display.
One interesting feature of the the Gilmore campus is that car clubs build their museums there. In this example the Cadillac club built essentially a Cadillac dealership on the outside.
Inside are Cadillacs over the years.
Without a doubt the older Cadillacs are much nicer looking than the 1970s and 1980s.
The Ford Museum has a complete, authentic 1930s parts counter.
The Ford museum is dedicated to Model A’s.
A 1930s school bus.
As with Cadillac, from the outside it appears to be a vintage Ford dealership.
Across the driveway in the main building is the Lincoln building, whom have some of the nicest cars of all.
Another earlier Lincoln model.
A collection of 1950s and 1960s sports cars.
As with Cadillac, Lincoln and Ford, there is a Franklin dealership.
But back to the Lincolns.
Also in the main building is an exhibit for A J Foyt.
The main building seemed to have more of a mix of cars.
One of the last of the Packards.
A stylish 1934 DeSoto Airflow
If you are into cars the Gilmore Car Museum is a must to visit.