The 10 Best Car Museums in the U.S.

Auto enthusiast Ken Gross shares his must-see list

The Mullin Automobile Museum
Photo: Courtesy of the Mullin Automobile Museum

Respected author and automotive enthusiast Ken Gross, who’s been a judge at the esteemed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for a quarter century, divulges his list of must-see car museums across America.

1) Petersen Automotive Museum | Los Angeles, California

Recently revamped by Manhattan architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, the Petersen is a state-of-the-art mechanical marvel with frequently changing exhibits. (Gross is the former executive director of the institution.) Photo: Wikimedia Commons

2) Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum | Indianapolis, Indiana

Home to the Indianapolis Indy 500 race, adjacent to the track, the museum boasts one of the world’s premiere collections of race cars. Photo: Courtesy of crossroadsfb.com

3) Mullin Automotive Museum | Oxnard, California

Designed after the 1930s Paris Automobile Salon, the museum features the largest collection of Bugattis outside of France along with a host of other French classics. Photo: Courtesy of the Mullin Automobile Museum

4) The Revs Institute | Naples, Florida

The museum boasts 100 cars from Miles Collier’s famed collection. Also on show is a parade of Porches (including Gary Cooper’s,) one of two short-wheelbase Duisenbergs, plus every Post-War Cunningham ever made. Photo: Courtesy of the Revs Institute

5) National Automobile Museum | Reno, Nevada

This Nevada-based museum has a fabulous collection of models owned by the late Bill Harrah, with rarities such as the only pancake-engine Julian Automobile.  Photo: National Automobile Museum

6) Nethercutt Collection | Sylmar, California

The late J. B. Nethercutt amassed an impressive classic-car collection including six Best of Show winners at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. And the family-operated museum’s restoration shop is second to none. Photo: Nethercutt Collection

7) Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum | Auburn, Indiana

Housed in the old Auburn Cord Duesenberg administration building, it’s an Art-Deco triumph with a striking presentation of rare prototypes. Photo: Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

8) Blackhawk Automotive Museum | Danville, California

Rare classics and sports cars, including three uncommon Alfa B.A.Ts, are gathered in a breathtaking setting. Photo: Blackhawk Automotive Museum

9) The Henry Ford | Dearborn, Michigan

The Henry Ford museum includes a rare, unrestored Vanderbilt Cup-winning “Old 16,” and the ill-fated 1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine. Photo: Courtesy of the Henry Ford museum

10) Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum | Pomona, California

At this Californian gem, visitors will find an incredible assemblage of noteworthy Dragsters, Dry Lakes Racers, and Bonneville cars. Photo: Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum