Sometime back around 2007 or 2008, the show Car Crazy featured a man who had amassed a voluminous collection of automobiles, all of them 1957 models. If memory serves, he’d been born that year and thus thought it appropriate to gather as many examples as he could.
On the show came the announcement that he was opening a museum, featuring these cars, in Branson, Missouri.
For those unfamiliar with the place, let’s take a moment to introduce you to Branson. It is a town of 10,520 people in rural southwest Missouri and a tourist attraction of supreme magnitude. Specializing in live music performances, Branson has 50 theaters; over 60,000 theatre seats; 18,000 motel rooms; and nearly 8,000,000 visitors annually. I offer this for perspective; obviously, Branson isn’t the typical small town.
As luck and good fortune had it, I was invited to speak at a convention in Branson in early 2009. I departed home early to allow time to visit the museum, which occupied the downstairs portion of the Dick Clark Theatre.
The Dodge convertible at the top of this page is the Custom Royal and has the 310 horsepower D-500 engine. It should be noted that despite having been adjusted for shadows and exposure, the interior pictures are not of grand quality due to space constraints and lighting.
Here’s another Dodge convertible, this one a Coronet. You will likely see parts of other makes in these pictures, as all brands were represented at the facility.
Moving upscale, we have this Imperial convertible. There were only 1,167 Imperial convertibles, all of them Crown-series, built that year.
There is something about a black Imperial that embodies class, elegance and strength.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is this Plymouth Belvedere convertible, which was advertised as having zero factory options–not even a radio! I regret not getting better pictures of the display signs, but these shots were taken over four years ago when I had no clue they might go online someday.
Wagons, including this DeSoto Firesweep, were well represented. This is the six-passenger “Shopper” version, one of 2,270 produced. A full CC on a ’57 Firesweep sedan can be found here.
Here is another rare wagon, this one a New Yorker. At 1,391 units, their production was even less than DeSoto’s. This one was advertised as being unrestored.
There was even a Dodge pickup on display.
However, my trip to the ’57 Heaven Museum that day was fruitful beyond seeing what was parked inside. Branson has a penchant for both advertising and offering everything for sale. For example…
…all these cars, parked by the front door of the museum, were for sale. The VW sticks out, especially next to four convertibles. The Imperial speaks loudest to me.
There are mobile advertisements aplenty, such as this familiar looking ’74 Dodge used in a show…
…and this one, for a Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia shop.
Sadly, the ’57 Heaven Museum closed sometime after my visit, and the collection was liquidated. I still don’t know exactly why, but I did sense a few problems at the time of my visit. First, the admission price was nearly $30, not much less than the price of seeing a live show. Second, there were painfully few people visiting at the time. Granted, this was on a weekday in early March, but I saw maybe two other people there during my two-hour visit.
The upside is that I took enough pictures to make this Mopar Week post possible. There are more pictures of other makes for a later time. I hope you enjoyed the trip.