Muscle Car City Museum

What do you do with a 40,000-square-foot building vacated by Wal-Mart? You load it up with one of the largest collections of GM muscle cars in the world if you’re anything like Rick Treworgy. This museum celebrates the days when Detroit was churning out big brawny power and currently boasts over 65,000 hp on display. Tell us that doesn’t get you excited. The 99,000-square-foot museum has 200 cars on display with a focus on the mid ’60s to early ’70s.

What to see:

All the GM muscle you possibly want: ’67-69 Z/28, ’70 Z28 Camaros, ’68-71 396 Camaros, ’64-71 SS Chevelles, ’65-71 SS El Caminos, ’58-67 big-block Impalas, ’64-71 Pontiac GTOs, ’64-72 Oldsmobile 442s, and a sampling of hot rods and antique Chevys. Rick even managed to collect one or more Corvettes of each year from 1954 to 1975, and several of each series from 1975 to 2006.

Contact:

Muscle Car City Museum

Punta Gorda, FL

941-575-5959

www.MuscleCarCity.net

National Automotive Museum

Many of the National Automotive Museum’s cars come from the collection of the late Bill Harrah. After he died, and his hotels and casino were purchased, the investment group announced that they intended to auction the cars off. Citizens of Nevada were justifiably upset, so Governor Robert List formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and convinced the group to donate 175 cars from Harrah’s research library to the organization. It was the largest corporate philanthropic gift in American history at the time.

What to see:

Much of the collection focuses around important antique autos, but there is also a collection of historic race cars, historic off-road racers, as well as some celebrity cars, like one of Elvis’ Caddys and John Wayne’s ’53 Corvette. The original Thomas Flyer that won the first Great Race for America is currently there as well.

Contact:

National Automotive Museum

Reno, NV

775-333-9300

www.AutoMuseum.org

Volo Auto Museum

The Volo likes to say it’s “Lake County’s high-octane theme park.” It’s one of the oldest museums on our list and over the course of 51 years it has become home to the world’s largest muscle car collection as well as the George Barris TV and Movie Car Collection, and an impressive array of military vehicles as well. Where the Volo is truly unique, however, is that all 300 or so classic cars on display are for sale.

What to see:

There’s really something for everyone here—lots of movie and TV cars, like KITT, the General Lee, The Bluesmobile, and the infamous Vette from Corvette Summer, contrasted with heavy-duty military hardware, and a great selection of classic and antique cars of all stripes. The rugrats won’t even be bored; the Volo has dedicated exhibits for kids like Herbie, Ecto-1, Lightening McQueen and Doc Hudson, the Truckasaurus, as well as the wild Hall of Fame caricature cars, some of which are actually driveable.

Contact:

Volo Auto Museum

Volo, IL

www.VoloCars.com

Wally Park NHRA Motorsports Museum

It has NHRA in the name, so you know there will be historic drag cars on display, but there’s actually much more than just that to this museum. A longtime dream of Wally Parks, one of the founders of the NHRA and structured drag racing as we know it as well as being the first editor of Hot Rod magazine, the NHRA Museum honors all forms of hot rodding from street cars to Indy cars and land speed racers. One of the best times to show up is the evening of the first Wednesday of every month for the Twilight Cruise—there’s always tons of great cars that show up and the museum stays open.

What to see:

The NHRA often puts together temporary exhibits for special occasions (including one featuring PHR’s Project Talladega), but one of A.J. Foyt’s Coyote Indy Cars, Kenny Bernstein’s first dragster to go over 300 mph, and The Bug (the first “rail”) are always there and definite must-sees. Additionally, the museum has an eclectic collection of artifacts from early events in the history of land speed records and hot rods. We love the display that demonstrates how much nitro a Top Fuel engine ingests during a pass.

Contact:

Wally Park NHRA Motorsports Museum
Pomona, CA

www.Museum.NHRA.com