While closer to the western part of Michigan than Southeast Michigan, the Gilmore Car Museum is a must-see for all automotive enthusiasts. Spread over 90 acres, the facility showcases over 200 vehicles in eight restored barns. The Gilmore is considered to be one of the top five museums in the nation, with over 100 years of automotive history on display.
The Gilmore Car Museum began in 1963 as the hobby of Donald S. Gilmore, when his wife, Genevieve, gave him an antique car for his birthday – a 1920 Pierce-Arrow “project car.” With the help of some friends, the auto was placed under a tent, and a full restoration followed. Originally a 30 car collection, the museum currently has 200 historic cars on display.
A highlight is the Tucker Historic Collection that includes a 1948 Tucker and a short history of this radically-designed vehicle. A re-created Tucker sales office is also on display.
A special drag racing exhibit, “History-1/4 Mile at a Time” traces the history of drag racing and features vehicles from some of the most iconic names in drag racing history, including “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Gas Ronda, John Force and "The Michigan Madman” E. J. Potter, just to name a few. Assembled together are Funny Cars, Rails, Pro Stock, Gassers, Drag Bikes, and many more drag cars from all eras.
Today, the site includes eight historic barns, a re-created 1930s service station, a small-town train station, and nearly three miles of paved roads. The museum displays nearly 75 vintage pedal cars and has one of North America’s largest displays of automotive hood ornaments and name badges.