Auburn Hills, Michigan
Friday, July 21, 2006
Three floors, what must be a hundred or more cars, professional displays… all “top drawer,” as they might have said back in the 1920s when the first Chrysler hit the streets.
Boasting that it’s the only car museum run by a car company, it’s well worth the drive to visit. (Update: Through all the changes in Chrysler, it became independent in 2008.)
Located on the Auburn Hills campus of the automaker, it was yet another spot on my tour that made the trip worth it.
I especially enjoyed the historical tidbits about Mr. Chrysler and the team he built. I also got a sense of the guy himself… a good sense of humor, good leader and a visionary.
The first and second floors are arranged chronologically and include examples from Chrysler’s legacy US companies — Jeffery (Rambler), Hudson, Nash, Maxwell, Chalmers, Willys-Overland, Kaiser Industries, Dodge Brothers and American Motors, among others. A swell timeline shows all the companies coming and going. It’s on the museum’s web site, but stops with the start of the DaimlerChrysler days. After a costly divorce, Chrysler ended up privatly owned by Cerberus Capital Management and then — AACK! — bankrupt, and now in the charge of Fiat. Well, you know the story.
The basement has an assortment of cars, including muscle cars, Jeeps and 50s fins.
Update: Unfortunately, as of 2016, the museum is closed to the public except for “select weekends.” Check out the website for when you can visit.
Hot Dart from the muscle car days.
Hudson and Plymouth were champions in their day.
Smart ’56 Dodge. Watch them being made GO>
Javelin represents American Motors Corporation.
Vipers were on the center stand when I visited. My guess is that today there’s a Dodge Challenger.
The first Chrysler.
Early Jeeps in a row, from the Willys-Overland and Kaiser days.