Coming from Detroit, the Motor City, I’m used to seeing a lot of car collections. Of course, these are mostly of the bare bones Model T variety and was not prepared for the beauty of this collection. The vehicles at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Museum are more akin to works of art than mere transportation. The elegant lines and variety of colors draw the eye every which way. The building itself is a piece of historic architecture.
Housed in the AUBURN? Corporate office, the first floor of the museum was originally a showroom. With its huge glass windows, it is still a fitting space to display these fine automobiles. The columns and moldings feature amazing Art Deco detailing as well as the wide staircase leading to the upper floors. Located behind the museum is one of the factory lines, which is now the National Auto and Truck Museum.
Upon entering the showroom I was greeted by one of the docents, He was extremely knowledgeable and filled me in on the history between the three companies and the buildings. This is very beneficial since many visitors will not know much, if any, of the history of these car companies. He was also able to answer my questions on particular cars as well as provide some interesting tidbits along the way.
The collection itself was impressive. Several prime examples of vehicles from the three companies are on display. I found myself drawn to the beauty of a few models as I would an artwork. It is not often you get to see cars from the early part of the 20th century, let alone several Duesenbergs! As the Fords of the era went, any color you want as long as it’s black. Not so here. This showroom is filled with bright greens, rich blues and reds, even orange!
Another room off the main area houses cars from manufacturers contemporary to ACD, such as Cadillac, Lincoln, and Chrysler. A few random sports cars sit in the back, including a pair of sleek classic Jaguars. The second floor contains some artwork display and models, but not much else. The third floor continues the car collection and work areas. Several staff offices are preserved plus there are rooms with engines and other displays.
The third floor car collection is divided into a few areas. At the top of the stairs is a large open room with several more Auburns, Cords, and Duesenbergs mixed with some other makes, such as a Rolls-Royce. Of historical note to auto enthusiasts is Tucker car #52, which was made from the leftover parts in the factory after the original 51 were built. The rear of the main room has a stunning collection of ‘boat tail’ cars, including some one off designs.
A side room focuses on some of the earlier models and a bit about the sales process. These cars are a bit more towards what you’d find in most museums with early car collections. The remaining side rooms contain an impressive collection of vehicles from small local manufacturers. I was surprised to see so many different car companies and that was just from the northern Indiana area.
Overall, the collection is very impressive. I never expected to find so many amazing cars under one roof when I planned my stop on the way to Indianapolis. Having spent three hours touring the museum, I already have plans to return again when I’m in the area.
Whether you are a car nut or have zero interest, you will appreciate the ACD museum. The cars on display here feature an uncommon elegance that is enjoyable as pure art, let alone part of automotive history. Allow at least two hours to tour, more if you are a fan of old cars.
Museum General Information
Museum Hours: Open 9 to 5 daily. The museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Thanks giving Day and Christmas Day.
Location: 1600 Wayne St, Auburn, IN 46706
Admission: $12.50 adults, $7.50 kids ages 6 to 18, under 6 free. Family Package $32.00 per family**This rate is available to parents and their dependent children at the same address that are 18 years of age or younger.
TIP: Ask for a Dekalb County museum passport and save a few dollars off admission on all your other museums visits. Click here for a full list of Dekalb County museums.
The ACD museum also has space to host meetings, banquets, and weddings (great photo opps).
Watch the video for more stunning pictures from the ACD Museum
Other Area Museums to Visit
National Auto and Truck Museum (NATMUS) – located right behind the ACD museum in a former factory building.
Early Ford V-8 Museum (1932 – 1953 Fords) – Currently adding an expansion, check ahead to see if open to public)