CC Museum Visit: A Quick Tour of the Henry Ford Museum

(first posted 1/29/2018)       In the fall of 2014, I was quite active with my union, and they sent me and a small group of grocery workers to Detroit Michigan to knock on doors and work to help elect a labor friendly governor. We worked our butts off and knocked on countless doors, but alas, our candidate did not win.

However, the trip was not a total loss for me. I got to see Detroit, once the epicenter of the American Auto Industry and now a city in with huge problems. It’s kind of shocking to see an American city in such shape. There really are hundreds of burned out, abandoned buildings all over the city. Detroit may never be what it once was, but it looks like they are coming back.

I liked the city and its people. And I have never seen an area with so many American cars. I live in Portland Oregon, where Imports have a very healthy market share. It got me thinking, would the whole country be like this if we could buy American cars at employee discount prices?

We had almost no free time, but one afternoon a small group of us made it to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. If you are a car person, this is a place you simply must visit. It has to be one of the most fantastic car collections on the planet. This is the place to go to see those cars you have only seen photos of or read about. Some of the most historic cars ever made are here, along with the everyday vehicles, race cars, airplanes, trains and farm equipment.

It is a place I could have easily spent a month in, but our schedule only gave us about an hour and a half before the museum closed. My poor cell phone that I had been using for navigation all day was almost out of battery power, or I could have taken 1000 photos of the cool things I saw in my very brief visit.

Some day I’m going to return to The Henry Ford Museum, and I’ll have my good camera with me, and spend the entire day there. Until then, you and I will have to look at these photos to recall my rushed but wonderful trip to this must see automotive destination.

If you have a thing for Presidential limousines, then you are in the right place. Our tour begins with these historic cars. This is Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1939 Lincoln “Sunshine Special.”  It was the first car designed and built expressly for a president.

Dwight Eisenhower’s 1950 Bubbletop Lincoln was used from 1950 to 1967.

This is the Lincoln Continental, President Kennedy was assassinated in. It was heavily modified after that tragic event and remained in service for a number of years.

Ronald Reagan narrowly escaped death in 1981 after being shot by John Hinckley Jr. The president was rushed to the hospital in this 1972 Lincoln.

Let’s take a look at some race cars. This 1968 Ford Mark I won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1968 & 1969. It looks gorgeous in its Gulf livery.

1967 Ford Mark IV.

1965 Lotus.

The Ford 999 race car, driven by Barney Oldfield and its designer, Henry Ford in 1902.

Here are just some of the many beautiful classic cars on display here.

This is one of only 55 experimental Chrysler turbine powered cars produced between 1963 and 1964. Chrysler reclaimed the cars in 1966 and destroyed all but nine of these.

The  EV1 was the electric car that GM killed, much to the displeasure of the car’s fans. Like the turbine car above, General Motors reclaimed and destroyed almost all of the cars produced. Does anyone know how many of these remain?

I’m sure many CC viewers would find themselves right at home in this wing of the museum.

Of course, they have a Tucker. What mega collection would be complete without one?

The cars of the 50’s had such great style. Detroit must have been a very different place when these cars were produced. They showed such optimism. Designers were unconstrained by such frivolities as safety or efficiency, and the results are some of the most stunning cars ever made.

1963 Buick Riviera.

This has to be one of the only perfect 1981 Ford Escorts anywhere. I like seeing cars like this, that most people drive but never save or restore. They are snapshots from a different time.

I love the color combination on this beautiful old Nash.

Crosley Hotshot Roadster.

This 1939 Dodge fuel truck oozed with style. They certainly don’t make them like they used to.

If you are over a certain age you may remember this RV…

CBS Evening News reporter Charles Kuralt toured the country for years making “On the Road” stories about regular Americans in this one.

If your Model T was to somehow explode, it would look something like this.

I don’t know what car this is, but this Ford Tri-Motor was used by the Byrd expedition to Antarctica. The museum has an impressive collection of aircraft.

I will finish the tour with this Ford Flivver. After the success of the Model T and Tri-Motor aircraft, the company wanted to make an airplane for the masses. It was going to be the Model T of planes. Only five were built, and production stopped after a fatal crash of a prototype into the Atlantic Ocean near Melbourne Florida.

More information about the Henry Ford Museum can be found here