Cars are beautiful machines that allow us to travel from grocery store to racetrack with ease and grace. Their histories are as unique as the drivers behind them and some can even be worth millions! Below you can find the very best car museums in the USA!
Also Read: Mysterious places to visit in the USA
Here are the best car museums in the United States, from an iconic collection in California to one in Hershey.
1. The Henry Ford
Henry Ford Museums of American Innovation boasts one of the nation’s premier collections of cars, planes, and trains that represent America’s history and culture – from an 1865 Roper to Ford Model Ts and 2002 Prius cars – while Greenfield Village features numerous themed galleries dedicated specifically to motorcycles. Both museums can be visited independently as part of an indoor/outdoor complex called the Henry Ford Complex. Driving America features 1865 Ropers right through to 2002 Prius cars; plus there is even an entire section devoted to motorbikes!
Apart from cars, there are plenty of items on display at the museum to illustrate its history and society. A collection of presidential limousines features John F Kennedy’s Lincoln Continental limousine from when he was assassinated; Thomas Edison’s laboratory as well as Rosa Parks’ red cushioned bus where she was arrested are just a few examples of items you may find there.
The Museum of American Innovation is an enormous sprawl, where you could spend all day marveling at its collection of cars, train engines, and other items on display. If you want a deeper insight into American car history there’s also an informative narrated walking tour available; additionally, there’s also the Ford Rouge Factory Tour for those wanting an insider glimpse of car manufacturing processes – perfect for both car enthusiasts and history lovers! These tours provide fantastic opportunities for discovery.
2. The Lane Motor Museum
Though most of the nation’s premier car museums can be found along the coasts, some worthy gems can also be found tucked away in middle America – like Nashville’s Lane Motor Museum with its bizarre collection of microcars and automotive oddities that would rival Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s Island of Misfit Toys in terms of uniqueness. Here you’ll find everything from steam cars powered by coal to 1932 Helicrons equipped with propellers to Peel P50 3-wheeled minicars capable of going 0 to 60 in under 1 minute! Truly one of the very best car museums in the USA.
The Lane is a must for fans of eccentricity. Founded by Jeff Lane, an engineer who loves cars that push engineering’s limits. His mission: showing “what a car can be”. Undoubtedly he has succeeded.
Petersen Automotive Museum is the nation’s largest museum showcasing the auto history and is an invaluable experience for auto enthusiasts. Its collections span all eras and styles and change regularly so visitors can come back again and see something different every time they visit. Don’t miss catching sight of Steve McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS from Rebel Without a Cause filming when visiting!
Petersen Museum offers more than American cars; you’ll also find an impressive selection of European automobiles here, such as a 1952 Volkswagen Type 1 that served in World War II!
3. The National Automobile Museum
AAA GEM (“Great Experience for Members”) Transportation Museum was honored as one of USA Today’s Top Ten Transportation Museums with over 200 stunning cars from 300 years, from early brass cars to muscle cars – you’ll find it all here! For added thrills of speed enthusiasts, demo drives can even be taken out on nearby tracks!
The museum’s holdings are organized into four galleries: Gallery 1 displays cars from the 1890s and 1900s; Gallery 2 features vehicles built during this era; while Gallery 3 highlights vehicles built between 1910-1930 and 1950+, with each gallery connected by themed “streets”, featuring vehicles as well as faux shop fronts.
One of the most striking exhibits at the museum is the Nethercutt Collection. Spanning two buildings and featuring over 250 rare, antique, and collectible cars presented in period street scenes adds to the thrill of viewing them. You’ll also see vintage motorcycles as well as memorabilia from previous eras.
Larz Anderson began collecting cars early on and amassed an impressive collection when he passed away in 1948. Many of those cars can now be seen at the museum’s carriage house – including an 1899 Winton 4-hp runabout and Radford-bodied 1959 Rolls-Royce shooting brake by Radford bodied for Larz Anderson himself!
As well as displaying cars and automotive memorabilia, the museum hosts special events throughout the year for car fans of all ages. You can catch a film in its theater room or enjoy dinner or reception in its beautiful exhibit halls; additionally, corporate meetings, luncheons, receptions, sit-down dinners weddings, or other special occasions are hosted here as well.
4. The Revs Institute
While most car museums can be found along the coasts, there is one incredible collection in Central America worth making an effort to see. Specializing in cars built for speed, this museum houses some of the most acclaimed racers ever. These include the 1995 McLaren F1 car by McLaren F1, Dan Gurney’s 1967 F1 car from 1967 F1, as well as several historic Porsche race cars from its collection.
This museum may boast one of the more eclectic car collections in America. Their eclectic exhibit includes everything from a 1932 Helicron with its enormous propellor to three-wheeled microcars like Peel P50. If you enjoy things outlandish and unusual, this might just be your ideal museum!
This museum showcases more than just cars; in addition to having over 140 vehicles on display, they showcase some truly remarkable artifacts including Oscar Meyer mobiles and limousines from John F Kennedy’s assassination, respectively. Additionally, this museum hosts one of the largest car collections ever assembled worldwide: one that consists of original Oscar Meyer mobiles as well as limousines John F Kennedy rode in when he was killed.
This museum’s collection is dedicated to all types of automotive racing, but there are other cars that will attract your interest as well. These include Don Garlits’ 17-time world champion drag race car collection as well as vehicles driven by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic; Elvis Presley’s 1973 white Cadillac Eldorado and Lana Turner’s 1941 Chrysler Newport Dual Cowl Phaeton from Titanic; plus Elvis’s 1973 white Cadillac Eldorado that served Lana Turner during Titanic filming; plus plenty of exhibits dedicated to Corvettes and tailfins – hence why Yankee Travel awarded this museum as their best special-collections museum award for New England.
5. The Simeone Museum
Car museums are holy temples for every gearhead who seeks out automotive history. These museums showcase some of the most breathtaking historical vehicles ever assembled – from rare classic cars to unique concept vehicles – that any gearhead would find worshipful.
No matter your interests – art or car – museums are an incredible source of learning and fun in America. From those dedicated to famous cars such as those celebrated at museums like MoMA to smaller cars like those found at car shows – visiting these institutions allows one to witness history first-hand and experience its magic first-hand.
These museums boast some of the rarest cars in America, from the tiny Peel P50 which can fit only three people to the massive 1932 Helicron with its massive propeller. Lane Motor Museum also houses an unusual collection of vehicles such as two-story steel houses that can be parked inside them as well as 60-ton amphibious military vehicles known as LARC-LXs.
The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia boasts an amazing collection of unusual cars, truly one of the very best car museums in the United States. Housed within an old commercial bakery, it houses everything from an unusual 1913 Mercer Raceabout (the predecessor to Corvettes) and folding scooters from the 1950s, to Dymaxions found nowhere else worldwide.
The museum boasts an incredible variety of cars and exhibits, so every visit brings something new! As such, it should definitely rank among the top 5 museums for any enthusiast of automobiles!