Labor Day weekend the small town of Auburn, Indiana becomes the center of the collector car universe. It is already famous as the birthplace of the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg automobiles. It is now the home of the fantastic museum that is a shrine to those three iconic marquees. But Labor Day weekend sees the town swell as 80,000 car enthusiasts come to northeast Indiana. The lure is the homecoming of Auburn Cord and Dusenberg vehicles and their owners, and the huge swap meet and vehicle auction organized by Auctions America at the mammoth grounds designed especially for the event. It was the perfect place to kick-off the 2014 Shades of the Past AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour. We are setting our sites on Pigeon Forge, Tn. and the Hot Rod Round-Up that is known in the street rod hobby simply as "Shades of the Past" for the club that organizes the event each year.
Our first driver's meeting of the tour was held Friday morning at our hotel in Fort Wayne, In. just about 10 miles south of Auburn. About 15 of the 25 registered Tour vehicles were able to start out on Friday. The remaining dozen will be catching up with us over the next few days. Our first destination in Auburn was the National Automotive and Truck Museum. The museum is located in a huge structure that at one time was part of the Auburn automobile factory. When we arrived the festivities were already in full swing as the NATM is located directly behind the Auburn-Cord –Duesenberg Museum and autos from all across the country were gathering in the adjoining parking lots. Our designated parking area for the morning was right next to a number of restored auto court buildings that exemplify the early days of auto travel lodging.
The National Automotive and Truck Museum covers two floors and consists of a wide array of vehicles from all automotive eras. Downstairs is where the majority of the trucks are on display. The vehicles range from restored commercial vehicles to trucks that literally just came out of their resting place in a building or barn. Upstairs on the first floor a wide variety of autos were on display along with pedal cars and automobilia. We were also able to get a preview of an auction of vehicles and automobilia that was taking place over the weekend. It was a great start to our Friday Auburn adventure.
From the NATM it was literally 100 feet to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum which is actually the original A-C-D showroom from the 1930's. It has been restored to its original Art Deco glory and contains some of the most beautiful vehicles ever produced. The main floor is absolutely breathtaking in its grandeur. Upstairs on the third floor the display of classics continues. We were also able to see the new Racers and Record Setters exhibit that had just opened a week before our visit. The A-C-D Museum is simply amazing and coupled with the National Auto and Truck Museum the two collections are enough to make Auburn a destination for auto enthusiasts any time of the year.
After our morning at the museums it was a very short drive to the Auctions America grounds. The parent company of Auctions America is the RM Auctions which is famous for their high end auto auctions held around the country. The event at the grounds is literally a three ring circus of auto activities. The swap meet is huge, the car corral holds hundreds of cars and trucks for sale and the auto auction activity is non-stop. The Road Tour participants were special guests at Auction America on Friday and we had VIP parking and All Access privileges to the activities. With just an afternoon to try to see it all we fanned out in different directions. A number of the Road Tourians bid and at least one was the the winner on a vehicle during Friday's auction action. A certain Road Tour Director purchased a 1948 Pontiac Steelcraft pedal car to add to my collection. It was a great day but way too short in Auburn, Indiana. It just may be that next year we will spend the entire Labor Day Weekend in Auburn as we head to Pigeon Forge in 2015.
All of that took place during our very first day of the Shades of the Past Road Tour. We are just getting started as we have Friday, Saturday and Sunday ahead of us in Indianapolis at the NHRA celebrates the 60th US Nationals. It is going to be an amazing week on the road to Pigeon Forge.