Nearly 2 million people have stepped back in time over the years at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. Call it a short drive from Fort Wayne into the past.
About 125 historical automobiles from 1894 to 1999 are on display. It'll evoke memories in some, nostalgia in others and a connection with history in younger people.
The museum – one of an elite 5 percent accredited by the American Association of Museums – is at 1600 S. Wayne St., Auburn. The only downside is you can't drive one of its cars back home.
No other museum has as extensive a collection of Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg automobiles. The museum is the site of the former Auburn Automobile Co.
The museum includes seven galleries that display the automobile collection, along with restored Auburn Automobile Co. offices and other exhibits.
“Our busiest time of year is probably over the Labor Day festivities here in town,” ACD Museum operations director Kendra Klink said. “Thousands and thousands of people come into town for the weekend of Labor Day to celebrate Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs.”
Consider some of the automobiles a visitor can examine up close:
•1930 Ruxton Roadster. Only 500 of these cars were produced, and only a few remain today.
•1932 Studebaker President. Only nine of these 122-horsepower convertibles are still around.
•1904 Auburn. The oldest Auburn automobile, only 50 of these were originally produced.
•1954 Chevrolet Corvette. You'll want to cruise Auburn in this first fiberglass production classic, but they probably won't give you the keys.
•1907 Kiblinger. Henry Ford bought this car to put in his museum, where it was displayed 1930-1978. It's been in Auburn ever since.
•1927 Duesenberg Indianapolis Race Car. This was the last Duesenberg to race in the Indianapolis 500 in 1937, and it appeared in nine races.
The collection changes periodically to remain fresh for those who visit more than once.
“We have an 'Automobile Collection Wish List' that is ever-evolving,” Klink said. “We will add cars to our collection as they are donated or purchased and fit into our collection focus and wish list.”
The interactive exhibits have also become quite popular with guests, Klink said.
“When looking at a car, a visitor cannot see under the hood or know what the car sounds like,” Klink said, “but with the interactive kiosks and with a touch of the screen, visitors are able to sift through pictures, videos and archival materials that previously they didn't have access to.”