Car shows are ready to roar back to life at Gilmore Car Museum. Check out the schedule for a new feature every weekend, from traditional hot rods to a motorcycle gathering.
There are rules for social distancing in place. Since there’s limited capacity, it’s recommended you register in advance at gilmorecarmuseum.org.
Whether you have your own classic ride to show off or you just want to check out the cars, it’s a nice drive out to the museum at this time of year.
If you go west along Hickory Road, there’s a refreshing view of Fine Lake. If you’re coming from M-89 in Augusta, you’ll go by the Kellogg wildlife preserves.
Check out the museum while you’re there. Five vehicles to add to your must-see list:
1902 E.R. Thomas Motor Car
This Thomas is 100% unrestored. It’s regarded as the best preserved pre-1905 automobile in original condition.
John D. Rockefeller used this car to drive around Mount Desert Island in Maine, where he had a vacation home. After a few years, Rockefeller bought bigger, newer cars. The Thomas was retired to a barn with barely 100 miles on it, where it sat for 75 years, kept in great condition.
If you look underneath the car, you can spot the single-cylinder engine.
1967 Shelby GT500 prototype
American Muscle is planning on breaking ground for a new building at the Gilmore Campus. It’ll be just like walking around a dealership in the ’70s.
Until then, check out the era of the muscle car with a 1967 Shelby GT500 prototype.
The vehicle on display has quite a history: As a prototype, it paved the way for the muscle car through engineer testing. It was then discarded and used as a teaching prop at a correctional facility for three decades.
This GT500 would have ended its run in a junkyard, if the current owner hadn’t discovered it and then spent 10 years on restoring it to its original muscle glory.
1914 Harley-Davidson V-Twin Motorcycle
If you think the roads are rough now, you should have seen them back in 1914. But Della Crewe fell in love with the idea of taking a long trip across America on the back of a motorcycle.
She bought a Harley-Davidson with a sidecar and she traveled from Texas to New York with her dog, Trouble.
Della is credited as the first woman to drive a motorcycle across America. It’s pretty amazing when looking at the Harley, which is built like a bicycle with a motor.
Franklin automobile engine
Take a look under the hood with a deconstructed Franklin automobile. You’ll see the wood frame and one of the first air-cooled engines.
Franklin was known for this cool engine innovation, which did not require a radiator, coolant or anti-freeze. According to Gilmore, “This contributed greatly to the cars’ reliability and smooth ride.”
It was the car of choice for pilots, since Franklin also made their airplane engines.
American Graffiti’s 1958 Chevy Impala
“Where were you in 1962?”
That’s the refrain for “American Graffiti,” a film inspired by George Lucas’ memories of cruising in Modesto, California.
For Ron Howard’s character, 1962 was supposed to be the year he left behind his girlfriend and his 1958 Chevy Impala.
Fans of the film will recognize the Impala at Gilmore Car Museum, complete with red interior and fuzzy dice in the window. The car was used in filming “American Graffiti.”
It’s right next to a Ford Thunderbird, like the one driven by the mysterious blonde (Suzanne Somers).
That’s not the only movie magic to be found at the Gilmore. A movie set was lifted from Walt Disney Studios and assembled at the museum. You can see the set and the “Gnome-Mobile,” which were personal gifts to museum founder Donald S. Gilmore from Walt Disney.
The Heritage Center also has a DeLorean DMC-12, for those who are feeling nostalgic about going “Back to the Future.”