Indiana Iconic Automotive History - Beck's Aauto Center | Lafayette, IN

Indiana’s Iconic Place in Automotive History

It’s May in Indiana and for auto racing fans around the globe that means one thing …. The Indianapolis 500.  The Indy 500 race is the world’s largest one-day sporting event, run on the oldest working racetrack, and at the largest sports venue in the world.

Indiana’s Automotive Heritage

Indiana’s automotive heritage is long and fascinating.  At one time there were over 30 auto manufacturers in the state.  Today some of the most enduring examples of our early automotive heritage can be found in museums around our state.

For those who love automobiles and their history, here are some places you’ll want to visit.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum — Speedway

Tony Hulman Jr. and Karl Kizer, the Museum’s first director, created the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in 1956. Located on the grounds of the Indy 500 track, the museum has a rich display of historical race cars and memorabilia associated with the Indianapolis 500 race.

The collections’ exhibits include race cars from many series including IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, Sprint, Midget, motorcycle races, and drag racing.  They even have extended visitor’s hours during the month of May.  Learn more at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum – Auburn

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is home to a stunning collection of antique cars that were all made by hand in an era when style trumped utility.  These ornately-styled vehicles were built by hand in the early 20th century by the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg car manufacturers.  Production of these cars stopped in the 1930s.

Today the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum displays 130 cars of this era, all in pristine condition.  For further details visit A-C-D Automobile Museum.

Studebaker National Museum — South Bend

At the Studebaker National Museum visitors can marvel at the stylish automobiles that became classic icons of American culture due to their uniquely decorative designs.  This museum’s collection, housed in an ultra-modern museum, contains over 120 automobiles and some very notable carriages. (Studebaker began as a wagon manufacturer in the 1850’s.)

Famous for their styling and product innovation, Studebaker cars take you back to a period when style dictated a car’s popularity.  To see more go to Studebaker National Museum.

World of Motorcycles Museum – Winamac

For those with more of an inclination toward two wheels, you’ll want to visit the World of Motorcycles Museum located in Winamac.

Located just behind the Harley Davidson dealership, it has a large collection of restored and unrestored motorcycles, including an experimental Indian motorcycle called “Black Phantom”.   See what else is on display at World of Motorcycles Museum.

History on Wheels Exhibit

The Indiana Historical Society recently launched a traveling exhibit that documents Indiana’s long “History on Wheels”.  The display travels the state in a 53-foot semi-trailer that will visit festivals, schools and other locations where visitors can learn about Indiana’s integral role in the automotive and racing industries.

The trailer’s nearly 1,000 square feet of indoor display space features Indiana automakers and the lives of Indiana automotive innovators and inventors.  To find out where you can see this display go to History on Wheels Exhibit.

Be safe and have fun exploring Indiana’s contributions to our country’s automotive legacy.

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