They’re the most commonly used mode of transportation in the US. Birthed at the turn of the last century, they started off a crudely designed and cumbersome machine, living up to their nickname ‘The horseless carriage’. Yet, by the thirties and beyond, a good number of their designs caused passers by to admire with double takes, glancing at elegance gracing a city street.
Of course I’m referring to the automobile. It’s not only what’s under the hood that counts, as far as consumers and enthusiasts are concerned. I remember as I romped about while I was a kid, being thrilled by the sight of a ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ Firebird. The painted hood was cool, and quite unique. Also, I loved the high arching fenders of the ’80s Stingray Corvette, never mind that they could get up and go.
As always, everything about an automobile, from engine and headlights to custom interiors, is designed to be eye appealing. Stunners have stuck around for quite awhile. Hence, I haven’t seen an AMC Pacer in eons.
So, when I discover a permanent car display, housed on an old dealership grounds, I understand its curious label. ‘The Automobile gallery’ is just that, as it highlights the curves and shapes that made many drivers covet these highway travelers. These machines have been conceived on assembly lines in corporate factories, yet these feats of engineering are surely works of art.
I stroll into a fresh reception area, at the entrance of a building that is stylish in its own right, accompanied by a young lady full of information. I pay my discounted admission fee of $8, listening to her outline the highlights of the Gallery. In this reception area, interesting vehicles, such as an old Buick station wagon, start my visit off right.
I turn the corner and my eyes must be wider. There’s a wide array of automobiles, some auto show regulars, from drag racers that hang from the wall to a ford model A. Of course, like I said, there are the Corvettes, Mustangs and Camaros I tend to find anytime I find a classic car collection. However, I discover new cars, well new to me. Like a muscle car known as an AMC Javelin, and for the movie buff, a 1981 DeLorean, being the time travelling vehicle in ‘Back to the Future”.
I’m absolutely delighted in this modestly sized, well presented, and engrossingly interesting collection of showroom quality automobiles.
As I reluctantly leave the room, I discover a collection of tables, allowing for gatherings. Not only is this some cool mesh of auto art gallery meets history museum, It’s also an event center. I peruse the indoor conference room and outdoor patio. Definitely a winner for a small get together.
I also take a gander at the Boardroom, equipped with plate glass windows overlooking the showroom I had left behind. With the sports cars below and cool amenities of the Boardroom, I feel like I’m on the set of some James Bond scene.
Such a cool Place!
However, I’m not finished, there are more cars waiting in a smaller room. I discover an automobile known as the Dearborne Duece. This car is still being produced in this day and age. It is a replica of the original Duece manufactured in 1932, being constructed from Detroit steel.
Of all the cool cars, as there are roughly 60 according to my research (somehow I felt there was more) there is something else that gives this fresh new venue an added sense of benevolence. I see a small group of men, I would assume that have reached the age of retirement, working as volunteers. I only briefly witness their interactions as one talks to me for a moment. Yet, in those moments, I sense these men share knowledge, camaraderie and a sense of purpose void of stress.
The Automobile Gallery is a non profit organization, benefitting from these passionate volunteers. I almost get the sense that these men belong to some kind of club. I’m the only visitor in the building at the time, and these men don’t shun me but encourage me to explore their ‘clubhouse’.
This place makes a statement. Art comes in many forms and one can’t deny the beauty of these amazing standouts. Yes, many, such as the muscle cars, were manufactured and appealed to testosterone driven men with a sense of adventure, but these cars are both historically interesting and significant, not to mention stunning.
Like I said, there is an array of automobiles here from the crude pieces that ushered in the automobile age to historic station wagons and sedans. If your even remotely interested in cars or have boys in your family, I do suggest putting this place on your to do list. It’s also a great place to have a gathering or celebrate an event.
The Automobile Gallery and Event Center 400 S Adams St, Green Bay, WI 54301
Monday, Thursday-Sunday 9am-3pm
Seniors, Veterans, Children(7-17), Students with ID-$8
Active Military and children under 7 years of age are free.