Archive for the ‘Antique Car Museums’ Category

Classic Car Museum Guide – South Carolina

There are several classic car museums in South Carolina that cater to very different genres of the classic car enthusiast. The Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum in Darlington, SC pays tribute to historic NASCAR race cars and drivers. The BMW Zentrum near Spartanburg SC features BMW vehicles from the past and gives a glimpse into the future. The Wheels Of Yesteryear Museum in Myrtle Beach showcases classic American muscle cars.

The Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum started life as the Joe Weatherly Stock Car Museum in memory of the famous driver that won there in 1960 and 1963, and was killed in an accident at Riverside speedway in 1964. The museum was dedicated in May of 1965, and the name was changed following a major renovation and expansion in 2003.

The museum of course features many cars with NASCAR historical significance, including the “winningest car in stock car history”, a 1956 Ford Convertible that won a total of twenty-five races that year; Richard Petty’s 1967 Plymouth that won ten races in the 1967 season; and the 1991 Lumina that Darrell Waltrip rolled eight times in one of the worst crashes in NASCAR history.

The NASCAR museum has a number of engines on display, including an example of the famous Chrysler Hemi that dominated many races in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There are many interactive displays, and even an impression of Dale Earnhardt’s hands in concrete. The Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum is a must-see for any NASCAR fan. (843) 395 – 8821

The BMW Zentrum has a very different focus. It is a snapshot of BMW history, from the very beginning of the company to where they are today. Located beside the only BMW manufacturing plant in the United States, the museum is 20,000 square feet of historic cars and motorcycles, aircraft engines, and interactive displays.

It features the BMW Isetta “Bubble Car”, BMW race cars, a James Bond movie car, a virtual plant tour in the state-of-the-art video-production theater with surround sound, and a cafĂ©. You can view an example of one of the first BMW automobiles ever produced, the BMW Dixie, as well as a display of the company’s work with hydrogen fueled cars. Guided tours of the manufacturing plant are available by reservation only. (864) 989-5297

The Wheels Of Yesteryear Museum just opened in September 2009 and features over 45 fully restored automobiles from the collection of Paul Cummings. The cars are displayed on a rotating basis from his 100-plus car collection of primarily Mopar muscle cars, with a few classic GM, Ford and AMC vehicles thrown in to the mix just for fun. The muscle car museum displays examples of the famous Mopar winged cars and nostalgia drag racers, too. (843) 903 – 4774

No matter what type of classic automobiles you are interested in, South Carolina has a museum for you. Be sure to call ahead for operating hours and holiday schedules before making the trip.

Antique Car Museum Guide for Tennessee

Tennessee has several antique car museums that cater to the automotive enthusiast. If you are interested in visiting a classic car museum and live in or are passing through Tennessee, these are worth taking a look at.

Lane Motor Museum, Nashville – The largest collection of European vehicles in the United States. They have over 150 vehicles on display from all parts of the world, and most of them are rarely seen in the US. They have amphibious, alternative fuel, and military vehicles, race cars, micro-cars, three-wheelers and motorcycles. Anything rare, strange, odd, or extreme can be found there! I have personally visited this one, and would love to go back and spend an entire day. If you are interested in unusual vehicles, it is a must-see if you are ever in the Nashville area. (615) 742-7445.

Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum, Sevierville – A collection of 90 American muscle cars from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, plus retired stock-car based race cars. All the cars are in showroom condition. The collection has been featured in several TV shows and car enthusiast magazines. (865) 908-0882.

Hollywood Star Cars Museum, Gatlinburg – Features 40 actual cars that were used in movie and TV productions or owned by celebrities. The movie and TV cars are shown in recreated settings from the movie or TV show that they were in. They have recently added several motorcycles to their collection. (865) 430-2200.

Smoky Mountain Car Museum, Pigeon Forge – Open since 1956, they have electric, gas, and steam powered vehicles on display. They also have historic gas pumps, vintage Burma Shave signs, and other memorabilia displayed. (865) 453-3433.

International Towing and Recovery Museum, Chattanooga – Antique tow trucks, wreckers and equipment dating from the earliest days of the automobile. (423) 267-3132

Dixie Gun Works and Old Car Museum, Union City – 36 antique vehicles displayed, along with thousands of antique mechanical devices and a number of historic firearms. (731) 885-0700.

Elvis Presley Automobile Museum at Graceland, Nashville – A collection of Elvis Presley’s personal cars, motorcycles, and motorized toys. (901) 332-3322

Bewley’s City Garage Car Museum, Greeneville – A variety of antique cars and gas station memorabilia, only open on Fridays and Saturdays. (423) 638-6971

There are bound to be other antique car museums I have missed, but this should be enough for several weekend trips! If you are visiting the Smoky Mountains, you have four different ones to choose from that are in the vicinity. Be sure to call for information on their hours of operation before making the trip.