A visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn, Indiana is one of the great institutions of the collector car world—and one of MCG’s favorite car-gawking destinations. Here’s a big photo essay. 

 

 

Opened in 1974, the ACD Museum was originally constructed in 1929 as the factory showroom and administration building for the Auburn Automobile Company. Built in the automaker’s boom days, the building is an art deco masterpiece with elegant fixtures, terrazzo floors in a stunning geometric pattern, and wainscotted offices. Beautifully restored and repurposed, the facility now makes a perfect space for the display of classic cars.

Somewhere around 120 cars are on exhibit at any given time, mainly Auburns, Cords, and Duesenbergs, just as you’d expect. And except for the annual Auburn Cord Duesenberg festival held in Auburn each Labor Day weekend, the museum houses the finest collection of these three classic Indiana marques—the royalty of American automobiles—you will see anywhere.

The first floor gallery at the ACD Museum during a 2007 visit. Exhibits are rotated on a regular basis, so MCG returns often. 

 

There’s more. The collection also includes a gallery of Auburn-built cars, another gallery of Indiana-built vehicles, a gallery devoted to designer Gordon Buehrig, an entire gallery of engines, and a gallery of what could most easily be called popular collector cars. On our most recent visit this past weekend, this room housed a really nice ’37 Lincoln Zephyr coupe, a ’53 Corvette, and a survivor 300SL Gullwing, among others. So while the focus at the ACD is on the capital-C Classics, naturally, gearheads of all persuasions will find plenty to see.

You can learn more about visiting hours and so forth at the Museum’s website. If you’d like to make an entire weekend of your trip, the Dekalb, Indiana County Alliance of Museums has eight member museums devoted to transportation, including the National Auto and Truck Museum of the United States (right next door to the ACD) and the Hoosier Air Museum. You can find more about the Museum Alliance, including package discounts, at the Dekalb County Visitors Bureau.

See you there soon. In the meantime, please take some time with the big photo gallery below.

 

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1956 Ford Thunderbird
Duesenberg V16 aircraft engine
1929 Cord L-29 Convertible Coupe left front
1908 Zimmerman
1936 Cord 810 Sedan ex-Gordon Buehrig
1936 Auburn 852 Hearse
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum 2007
1930 Auburn Cabriolet
1935 Auburn 653 Coupe
1925 Auburn 8-Eighty-Eight Sedan
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum
Duesenberg King Bugatti U16 aircraft engine
1909 Zimmerman
1932 Cord E-1 V12 Prototype
1936 Cord 810 quarter scale clay model
1929 Duesenberg Murphy Convertible Coupe J-200
1939 Hupmobile Skylark Convertible
1926 Duesenberg Model A Touring
1926 Cunningham Sport Touring
1948 Tasco Quarter Scale Model
1931 Cord L-29 boattail speedster
1948 Tasco
1937 Cord 812 Custom
1916 Dodge Brothers Touring
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
1930 Duesenberg J Murphy Convertible Sedan
1904 Auburn oldest surviving Auburn
1937 Cord 812 Coupe Robert A. Stranahan
1912 Auburn 30L Special Formal Sedan
1926 Duesenberg Model A Sedan
1979 Buehrig concept
1930 Cord L-29 Phaeton
1916 Rauch and Lang J-6
1927 Duesenberg Model Y Touring
1923 Duesenberg Model A Sport Touring
1936 Auburn 654 Cabriolet
1913 Imp cyclecar
1935 Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster
1911 Metallurgique roadster
1927 Duesenberg race car
1937 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe
1930 Ruxton
1929 Auburn Cabin Speedster
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum Wayne Street entrance
1933 Checker Model T Taxicab
1929 Cord L-29 Cabriolet Frank Lloyd Wright
1908 Mcintyre
1931 Duesenberg J Murphy Convertible Coupe
1941 Graham Hollywood Sedan
1936 Auburn 852 Phaeton
1933 Auburn 8 Salon Sedan

1956 Ford Thunderbird

Duesenberg V16 aircraft engine

1929 Cord L-29 Convertible Coupe left front

1908 Zimmerman

1936 Cord 810 Sedan ex-Gordon Buehrig

1936 Auburn 852 Hearse

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum 2007

1930 Auburn Cabriolet

1935 Auburn 653 Coupe

1925 Auburn 8-Eighty-Eight Sedan

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum

Duesenberg King Bugatti U16 aircraft engine

1909 Zimmerman

1932 Cord E-1 V12 Prototype

1936 Cord 810 quarter scale clay model

1929 Duesenberg Murphy Convertible Coupe J-200

1939 Hupmobile Skylark Convertible

1926 Duesenberg Model A Touring

1926 Cunningham Sport Touring

1948 Tasco Quarter Scale Model

1931 Cord L-29 boattail speedster

1948 Tasco

1937 Cord 812 Custom

1916 Dodge Brothers Touring

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

1930 Duesenberg J Murphy Convertible Sedan

1904 Auburn oldest surviving Auburn

1937 Cord 812 Coupe Robert A. Stranahan

1912 Auburn 30L Special Formal Sedan

1926 Duesenberg Model A Sedan

1979 Buehrig concept

1930 Cord L-29 Phaeton

1916 Rauch and Lang J-6

1927 Duesenberg Model Y Touring

1923 Duesenberg Model A Sport Touring

1936 Auburn 654 Cabriolet

1913 Imp cyclecar

1935 Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster

1911 Metallurgique roadster

1927 Duesenberg race car

1937 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe

1930 Ruxton

1929 Auburn Cabin Speedster

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum Wayne Street entrance

1933 Checker Model T Taxicab

1929 Cord L-29 Cabriolet Frank Lloyd Wright

1908 Mcintyre

1931 Duesenberg J Murphy Convertible Coupe

1941 Graham Hollywood Sedan

1936 Auburn 852 Phaeton

1933 Auburn 8 Salon Sedan

 

8 thoughts on “A visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum

  1. I love this museum and it looks like it’s developed a lot since I was there ten years ago. I stopped by on a weekday afternoon and was given a personal tour that lasted at least ninety minutes. Just me and a very knowledgeable curator.

    The showroom would be outstanding even if there were no cars in it.

  2. So, your “work” entails visiting places like the ACD Museum, where you stroll around gorgeous buildings taking photos of gorgeous cars? If that’s not the Best Job In The World it’s gotta be damn close…

    • You know what they say: Do what you love and never work a day in your life. That’s true, though it doesn’t mean there aren’t hassles and stresses as well. Anything can become a job eventually.

      Back when I was working the motorsports beat, I used to look up at the stands and think, “Look, 150,000 people who would kill to have my job.” As time went on I realized it’s not that simple. In truth, not one in 100,000 can actually do it: they lack the weird combination of skills, the commitment, the passion, or the willingness to sacrifice. For example, if you need actual weekends and holidays in your life, you can’t do this for a living.

  3. Even though the ACD is the jewel of the area’s museums, all of them have their own unique character and are definitely worth a visit. With an overnight stay at the Auburn Inn and fried fish or pulled pork at the Town Tavern, you can have a truly unique and affordable weekend getaway.

  4. The 1937 Cord 812 Coupe Robert A. Stranahan…yowza. There’s no shortage of impressive art there McG but that black 812 is just…it. It’s interesting to see styling here that was (presumably) echoed elsewhere, but somehow lacked the full weight and character of the originals. Beautiful cars.

    • Stranahan was founder of the Champion Spark Plug Co. Note this car has chrome headlamps from an Auburn instead of the standard hideaway lamps.

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