I promise, I’m not on the payroll of the Alabama Tourism Department. It’s just that if you’re in Huntsville to visit the Marshall Space Flight Center (the “NASA Museum”) or the Veterans Memorial Museum (the “Original WWII Jeep Museum”), you could as well drive 100 miles south, to Odenville, AL, and visit the Mustang Museum of America. Odenville is a little town 30 miles north-east of Birmingham, and not far from the Barber Motorsports complex and its incredible motorcycle museum.
The Mustang Museum of America is a non-for profit, family managed initiative. It opened to the public in 2019, in a 30,000 sq ft building. There’s plenty of room, plenty of light, and everything (the amenities and the cars) is squeaky clean. At the top of that, the people running the operation are definitely enthusiasts (most of the cars are coming from the family’s private collection).
There are 110 Ford Mustangs on the floor. Almost half of them are police interceptors – starting with the car developed by Ford for the California Highway Patrol. Almost every state is represented, as well as a few Federal administrations. A lot of people collect the Starbucks mugs of the far away places they’ve gone to; it looks as if there are also people who collect Police Interceptors – maybe one for each of the places where they got speeding tickets. That would be an interesting idea.
The other half of the Museum is dedicated to “civilian” Mustangs of all generations, with a strong representation of cars of the 1979 to 2004 vintage. They’re all pristine, outside and inside. A few of them have their hood open, and the engine bay is as clean as a surgical block. All cars are registered and their tags are current, they regularly leave the museum to join parades or charity events.
There are also a few (genuine) race cars, and an Indianapolis pace car replica. I’ve never been a fan of the Fox Bodies (and there are plenty of them in the Museum), and, until I stopped there, I had never really looked at cars of the SN-95 generation – to me they were just an upgrade at the car rental counter. I should have looked better: the Museum has a few impressive SN-95 Cobras and one or two New Edge Mach 1s of stunning beauty – even the interior is much nicer than in my recollections.
I’m far from being a Mustang specialist – I’ve probably been standing in front of gems, and been too ignorant to appreciate their originality or their historical importance. I simply took a few pictures of the cars I liked the most, and that I had little chance of spotting at a Caffeine and Octane meeting.
If you love Mustangs or are interested in American cars in general, the place is definitely worth a visit.