Feb 5 - 8Buy Tickets
Gilmore Car Museum Vehicles
The Gilmore Car Museum – America’s Signature Collection – is like no other car museum in the nation. It’s just 45 minutes south of Grand Rapids and hailed as one of the Nation’s finest. And its’ where you can walk right up to history.
Each year, exclusively for the Michigan International Auto Show, the Gilmore Car Museum showcases an extraordinary selection of vintage automobiles in the Grand Gallery of DeVos Place. This year is certainly no exception. While breaking somewhat from their tradition of bringing cars from various decades the Museum has brought a truly stunning array of automobiles from the Fabulous 1950s!
When thinking the 1950s, nostalgic images of poodle skirts, drive-ins and large cars laden with chrome and tailfins are certain to be at the forefront. Within this year’s exhibit you may feel you’ve stepped right into an episode of TVs Happy Days and for good reason…
Gilmore Car Museum vehicles expected to be on display
at the Auto Show include:
The Fonz’ 1952 Triumph Motorcycle used on Happy Days
Yes, this is one of the actual motorcycles ridden by the Fonz during the long-running ABC sitcom Happy Days, which was set in the 1950s. Early the TV series, the Fonz, portrayed by actor Henry Winkler, is seen riding Harleys. But to accommodate his non-riding talents the Happy Days production crew switched to the much lighter Triumph. And apparently that was a good thing as Fonzie crashed several times during shooting – as evidenced by the dent in the fuel tank!
A 1949 Triumph was used for production stills, but it was this 1952 Triumph, once owned by Hollywood stuntman Bud Ekins who did the famed Great Escape jump for Steve McQueen, that Fonz rode throughout Happy Days.
1956 Ford Country Sedan Station Wagon
Since its original factory-built woodie in 1929, Ford had been the wagon master, and for 1956 both V-8 power and styling were inspired by the all-new Ford Thunderbird. It was offered 3 levels – as a two-door Ranch Wagon intended to compete with the Chevy Nomad, six or eight passenger Country Sedan and the top of the line Country Squire. The Meadow Mist Green and Colonial White finish is sure to make you nostalgic for those long family road trips.
1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible
283 / 238 HP Factory Fuel Injected
An American Icon of the 1950s
The iconic 1957 Chevy Bel Air, with its unmistakable look and dramatic tailfins, had become one of the most recognizable and popular American cars of all time.
Chevrolet first offered factory fuel-injection for its V-8 in 1957, and boasted that it was the first American production car to provide one horsepower per cubic inch (283 cu. in. / 283 hp). With few mechanics of the time experienced in fuel-injection, most buyers didn’t purchase the option. Many that did purchase the option later had it removed, making it ultra-rare today.
1957 Chrysler New Yorker
392 / 325 HP Hemi Engine
For 1957, all Chryslers were redesigned to feature Virgil Exner’s “Forward Look” design he called ‘the new shape of motion.’ The ’57 New Yorker was low, sleek, and featured large fins tastefully fashioned.
1958 Chevrolet Corvette
“The all-American sports car”
Introduced in 1953, the Corvette was based on the 1952 General Motors “Motorama” dream car. Its fiberglass body had no side windows and it was powered by the same six-cylinder engine with Powerglide automatic transmissions found in Chevy’s “family cars.” Only 300 were built in 1953 and with sales less than enthusiastic the model was nearly cancelled. That is until it was restyled in 1956 to include the now famous side cove, given a powerful fuel-injected 283 engine in 1957, and louvered hood and twin headlights in 1958.
1958 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
1958 Motor Trend Magazine’s Car of the Year!
In 1955, Ford Motor Company introduced the Thunderbird as a stylish, two-seat sports car in response to the launch of the Chevrolet Corvette. When the all-new 1958 Thunderbird was unveiled, the “T-Bird” had been transformed into a four-seat luxury car. The boxy appearance of the restyled Thunderbird earned the nickname “Squarebirds,” and for the first time, was offered as either a hardtop or convertible.
1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
The Impala was introduced in 1958 positioned as top of the line Bel Air coupes and convertibles and was radically redesigned just one year later. The flat tailfins of the 1959 Chevy, often referred to as “Cat Eyes,” have become iconic to the decade of the 1950s.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
The flamboyant 1959 Cadillac, with its massive size, extravagant chrome, and colossal tailfins, has become an icon of the 1950s along with Elvis, poodle skirts, and “cat-eye glasses.” Today, they are highly coveted by both car and non-car enthusiasts alike.