January 30 - February 2, 2020
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Gilmore Car Museum

 

 

The Gilmore Car Museum—the largest auto museum in North America—is located just 45 minutes south of Grand Rapids in Hickory Corners, MI. With over 400 vehicles on display within a historic 90-acre campus you’ll experience cars from the late 1890’s to the muscle cars of the 60’s and 70’s and beyond.

For the past 15 years at the Michigan International Auto Show the Gilmore Car Museum has showcased just a sample of the extraordinary collection you’ll encounter when you visit them.

While the Auto Show features hundreds of vehicles representing the newest and greatest automotive innovations, the American auto industry first hit the road in 1895—just 30 years after Abe Lincoln was president. That’s nearly 124 years ago!

So travel back in time, if you will, and you may just discover a glimpse of the future as well.

 

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Gilmore Car Museum vehicles expected to be on display at the Auto Show include:

 

    

1903 Columbia Electric Runabout

Steam- and electric-powered automobiles were the most popular and most successful “horseless carriages” of the turn of the last century. In fact, the Columbia Electric was the best-selling American automobile of 1900 —years before Ford, Cadillac and Chevrolet debuted.
While the electric car was popular in large cities it obviously wasn’t practical where there was little or no power. As late as the mid-1930s, nine out of ten rural Michigan homes had no available electric service.

 


 

1999 Ford Ranger EV (Electric Vehicle)

To sell autos in California in the late 1990’s, car manufacturers were required to offer the public an electric vehicle. The fully electric-powered Ranger pickup was actually only offered as a lease to fleets and Ford employees and only about 1,400 were ever produced. This truck was donated to the museum by a Ford Design Team member involved with EV project. Interestingly, the Big Three sued the state of California over their requirement (and won) so the EV Rangers were dropped just a few years later.

 


 

1909 Brush Runabout

In 1909 two brothers—aged 6 and 10—rode their horses all the way from Oklahoma City, OK to New York City, NY to meet Teddy Roosevelt! When they met up with their father there, the boys talked their dad into buying them a 1909 Brush Motor Car and the two young Abernathy brothers DROVE their car (identical to the one displayed) 2,500 miles home!
They stopped to see the world-famous Niagara Falls, drove into Michigan to visit the Brush Motor Car factory in Detroit, then headed to Battle Creek to see how their breakfast cereal was made.

The boys were treated as celebrities throughout their entire journey home, not because of their age, but for undertaking such a daring trip. During that time most people had never traveled more than 25 miles from their home and likely did that on horseback. The Abernathy’s adventure was also before good roads, guide maps, or gas stations and the automobile was still considered a fad.

 


 

1926 Chevrolet Fire Truck

With the introduction of the Ford Model T in 1908 and the electric starter in 1912, the gas-powered automobile became far more affordable and easier to operate than steam- or electric-powered car. The automotive “fad” never passed, and the car was here to stay. Emergency services also started to motorize.

This 1926 Chevrolet fire truck is typical of what many cities purchased, as the city of Kalamazoo did in 1924 when they retired their last horse-drawn fire equipment.

The Museum is giving you the opportunity with this fire truck to climb on board and snap a photo!

 


 

1928 Model A Ford Fire Truck

In 1897, the Grand Rapids Fire department had 10 stations manned by 121 men and 53 horses. The city’s first motorized fire truck was a 1910 Oldsmobile. In 1919 the city purchased an Ahrens-Fox pumper that replaced a horse-drawn steam one. Many smaller cities finally retired their horse-drawn fire equipment by purchasing the affordable Ford Model A fire truck like the one displayed.

 


 

1929 Duesenberg J-187 Clear Vision

The mighty Duesenberg J was introduced in 1929—the same year that marked the stock market crash and beginning of the Great Depression—and became the Supercar of the 1930s. Duesenberg J was the choice of not those simply rich, but of the ultra-wealthy and became a status symbol for Hollywood elite, monarchs and captains of industry alike.

This custom-built motorcar was purchased new by a law firm in Grand Rapids, MI and used to shuttle its clients between there and Chicago. The price of a new Duesenberg J was the equivalent of purchasing 41 Model A Fords!

 


 

1957 Ford Custom 300 State of Michigan Patrol Car

The Michigan State Police was founded in April 1917 as the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force and was initially created as a temporary emergency regiment to provide homeland security during World War I. The cavalry of 300 men patrolled the state on horseback until 1924 when motorcycles became its main form of transportation.

The first Michigan State Police marked patrol cars went into use in 1929.

This 1957 Ford Custom 300 was built specifically by Ford Motor Company for the needs of the police fleet. Referred to as a “Police Interceptor,” it was equipped with a 312 cu. in. 300 hp supercharged engine, and included non-standard seat belts as part of the police safety package.

 


 

1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda 340 – in “Sassy Grass” Green

By 1971, increasingly restrictive federal fuel mileage regulations, escalating personal insurance costs and changing attitudes of car buyers, the end of the Muscle Car era seemed close at hand. Manufacturers began pushing their mid-sized economy cars while their performance offerings—like the Plymouth Barracuda—received subdued advertising.

While one of the current trends in new cars is a vibrant light green color, “all things come ‘round again” as they say. The Plymouth Barracuda changed in appearance for 1971 and was offered in a total of 21 paint color combinations including six “High Impact” tones: Tor-Red, Curious Yellow, In-Violet Metallic, Bahama Yellow, Lemon Twist and Sassy Grass Green.

 


 

   

1982 DeLorean DMC-12

The futuristic-looking DeLorean car is perhaps most recognized for its role as Doc Brown’s “Time Machine” in the Back to the Future film trilogy (1985-1990) starring Michael J. Fox.

The sports car was actually the brainchild of John DeLorean, the automotive maverick and former General Motors engineer who created the Pontiac GTO in 1964. The DMC-12, with its distinctive stainless-steel body and exotic gull-wing doors, went into production in 1981. By 1983, amidst financial difficulties and John DeLorean’s prosecution on a federal drug charge of which he was later acquitted, the venture unraveled after building only 8,583 cars.