ABC57 Road Trip: Travel back in time at the Gilmore Car Museum
HICKORY CORNERS, Mich., --- The latest ABC57 Road Trip took our team to the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners Michigan. It’s the largest car museum in North America dedicated to showcasing hundreds of vehicles on the road, both new and old.
Don and Genevieve Gilmore revved up the Gilmore Car Museum with just 60 cars back in 1966, and now the museum has over 400 vehicles on display across its historic campus.
“We have 90 acres, 29 buildings, seven partner museums plus the Gilmore, it's like going to eight museums in one. We have two restaurants and a ballroom and a theater, and we have over 100 campsites,” said Ken Fischang, the Director of Commercial Operations at the museum. “We're driven by history, to tell the story of the automobile and on American history and how that impacts our daily lives today.”
The vehicles tell stories of the past and present, like in the new Supercar Exhibit that features the GT 40 that starred in the hit film "Ford V Ferrari."
The museum also takes you back in time to appreciate the classics.
“We have our 50, 60s gallery, we have our muscle car gallery, really popular with families, and then our seven partner museums, which include everything from pre-1916 cars, the museum and the horseless carriage to the model a museum from the 1920s and 30,” explained Fischang. “The Franklin Museum from the early 1900s. We have a 1948 Cadillac LaSalle Museum and 1920s Lincoln Museum."
The educational experience is so much more than just looking at the cars from afar.
“We have an entire barn that is devoted to teaching people how to drive a Model T,” Fischang said. “Also, for kids, we have a vintage pedal car setup, and we have pedal Ville where they can actually hop on a pedal car, and we have a state-of-the-art computerized slot car track, which is great fun for kids to race, and enjoy. Also in the museum, we have the Automotive Activity Center.”
After you’re done exploring some of the indoor exhibits, you can step outside to take a ride around campus in one of several classic cars.
The vintage vehicle tour is a favorite for fans like Wade and Nancy Frye, a couple from Alabama, who travels all around the country just see vintage cars. This time their exit was the Gilmore.
“This is our second day here and we've just had a wonderful time and enjoyed their hospitality and we've met a lot of people and got to meet a lot of cars,” said Wade Frye.
To the Fryes, this museum is so much more than just fancy cars to store.
“This is, to me, this is history. The older cars, it's something that I feel like's disappearing,” added Nancy.
The Gilmore Car Museum is just over an hour and a half away from South Bend.
They also offer hands-on classes for high schoolers; car shows and more.