Posted on June 28th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Five, Franklin to Auburn

We left off last night with the team working feverishly on the Packard, trying to figure out what was wrong with the acceleration and timing. After combing the car, it seemed that the distributor – the device in the engine that passes an electric current to each spark plug – had shifted due to a loose bolt and lost connection, which was in turn effecting the timing, causing poor acceleration. They also identified that a bolt that holds the alternator bracket was missing and needed to be replaced.

Shortly after midnight, two members of the Great Race crew came over to lend a hand with the car, which was amazing. Seamus and “Magic Dave” worked with the team to walk through the issues with the car, and helped us install our replacement distributor and retime the car. While it was a very late night, without the help of Magic Dave, Seamus, and other Great Race teams, we’d still be in the parking lot in Indianapolis. It’s true what people say about the spirit of the event — while we are all competitors, we are also family. 

With Navigator Coleman and Driver Bob safely on the road this morning, the rest … Read More

Posted on June 27th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Four, Bowling Green to Franklin

Last night as I was writing our daily blog post in Bowling Green, Team #GilmoreGreatRace was outside with the Packard doing our nightly check up and maintenance routine. Shortly after posting, the team identified a problem with the car…one that would lead to a late night. 

As the team went over the engine area, they noticed some discoloration around a head stud. They examined the nut and ’round and around it spun. When they removed the stud, they noticed the lower threads were culprit and not gripping properly. No good. Unfortunately, we were running without a torque wrench so the team resorted to sourcing solutions around the lot and by calling local mechanics. Finally, it was Team Hagerty to the rescue! They were able to share extra washers, liquid gasket compound, and some cleaning compound. Our team used the materials from our friends at Hagerty to seat the stub and stem the leak. It was a “quick fix” and we weren’t confident that it would hold. But, we had to try.
After a late night, the day started early with the Packard #62 across the start line at 8:02am Central Time. Navigator Jacob Onderline (age 17, a home school … Read More

Posted on June 26th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Three, Chattanooga to Bowling Green

It was a busy day for Team #GilmoreGreatRace! We started the day in Chattanooga, Tennessee as car #116 to leave from the Stage Three start line.

As Navigator Jakob Taylor (2016 graduate, Otsego High School) and Driver Brad Wire prepared for today’s leg of the Great Race, the support team headed into downtown Chattanooga to take advantage of a bit of free time.

We hopped on one of the famous “Chattanooga Ducks,” a fleet of WWII era land and sea vehicles. In total, over 20,000 Ducks were made between 1942 and 1945, some of which were used in the D-Day storming of Normandy Beach. The term DUKW is not an acronym, but rather the original GMC nomenclature designating the company’s manufacturing code for the military wheeled amphibious landing-craft with D standing for 1942, U for utility (amphibious), K for all-wheel drive, and W for 2 powered rear axles.

Our Duck – fondly named “Daffy” by our Captain, Bill – was built in 1944 by GMC in Pontiac, Michigan. In total, a Duck weighs approximately 6.5 tons and travels at a top land speed of 45 mph and a top water speed of 4 mph. Today, there is only an estimated … Read More

Posted on June 26th, 2017

#GilmoreCarMuseum: Stage Two, Tifton to Chattanooga

The first FULL day of 2017 Great Race dawned cooler and hazy in Tifton, GA. Whereas the day before starting in Jacksonville brought temps well into the 90s throughout the day, we were greeted by mid-80s and even cooler weather the further north into Georgia and Tennessee we traveled. 

Some quick modifications were performed on the Packard last night, included re-adjusting the connectors for the brake lights (still giving us trouble) and removing the side panels of the bonnet to prepare for today’s run. Why? Well, in meeting some of our competitors and long-time rally runners, we were highly advised to allow as much air flow to the engine as possible to prevent overheating while travelling the uphill ascent to Chattanooga, as the car already was running very hot both during the Trophy Run on Friday and the Stage One run from Jacksonville.

That is one thing that this race has, its the spirit of the competition. While we are all in it to win it (some a prized purse, others for scholarship), everyone has been so friendly and helpful to our rookie x-cup team. We’ve already made some great friends along the way. 

Early this morning Navigator Gavin (Gilmore … Read More

Posted on June 25th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: 3, 2, 1, GO!

It’s the moment the team has been training months for…crossing the official start line in Jacksonville, Florida. We started the day early — last minute checks on oil, fuel, tool kit and then it was off to the line up on Main Street. Our start position was number 106 out of 121, so we pulled in our spot on the last block and began the long wait to the start line. To keep the cars in order and to start the time tracking system, cars are released at start lines one minute apart — 121 cars means over two hours of cars leaving the line!

To start the race, we had Navigator Madison and Driver Mike piloting the Packard from Jacksonville, Florida to Tifton, Georgia, a 135 mile journey.

The Packard attracted a lot of attention at line up – the smooth lines, sharp colors and paint job (thanks to Dick Brown, Museum Operations Staff Member!), and overall stunning presence was hard to pass up for many spectators. As we were prepping for the official start, two great things happened.

1)Driver Mike found a lucky penny on the street – heads up!

2)And we were sought out by the Florida … Read More

Posted on June 24th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Pre-Race Jitters

Whew! Day 2 in Jacksonville was a blur! Friday (6/23) morning started off with an early 7:30am all-teams meeting.

The Great Race coordinators welcomed the race teams, introduced sponsors, and highlighted the different race divisions*:

Grand Championship

This division of the Great Race features only competitors who have won the event in previous years. If any member of the team has won the Great Race, then that team will be entered into the Grand Champion class. It is the top of the food chain, in terms of the big names in rallying. Generally, most Grand Champions have been a part of the Great Race family since the early days, so these are truly the veterans of the event.


There’s no question that the Expert division is also packed with Great Race veterans who have proven their skills time and again. Racers designated to run in the Expert class have to comply with a set of rules that are based on the finishes of previous years. Essentially, racers who generally finish well, but have never been Grand Champions are placed in the Expert rank. This is one of the most competitive classes in the Great Race.


The Sportsman division … Read More

Posted on June 22nd, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Journey to Jacksonville

With an incredible day at Disney World behind us, we got up bright and early to head north to Jacksonville to meet up with our Packard and officially check in for the race. Along the way, we drove up Highway 1 and stopped at Daytona Beach to visit the ocean! We found neat little shells, and even a few tiny jelly fish that washed up in the tide.

We arrived in Jacksonville shortly after 1pm and met up with James, a member of the Museum’s Operations team, who trailered the team’s Packard all the way from Michigan to Florida. We got the car and van repacked and drove over to the Great Race host hotel, just a short distance from the support field where our team’s technical inspection would be held later in the day. After a quick lunch and checking into our hotel rooms for the next couple of nights, we headed back down to the support field to meet with Jeff Mehl (X-Cup division coordinator) and the other X-Cup division teams.

Throughout the history of the Great Race, it has been a priority to encourage youth to participate, be it as a participant or part of the staff. … Read More

Posted on June 21st, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Departure and Disney!

Coming at you live from bright, sunny Florida!

Yesterday (Tuesday, 6/20), the Gilmore Garage Works Great Race team made our way from Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Sanford-Orlando Airport in Florida!

We had a great flight and it was two of our team members first time on a plane. We landed at 10pm to 84-degree weather, picked up our team rental van, and headed for the hotel…at Disney World!

Thanks to a very generous donation, we kicked off our Great Race adventure at the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World. Museum Founder Donald Gilmore and Walt Disney were close friends and Disney visited the Gilmore’s collection in the 1960s. Walt went on to gift the 1930 Rolls-Royce and over-sized movie prop set used in the making of the Disney Classic, “The Gnome-Mobile,” to the Gilmore collection and those pieces are still on display at the Museum today.

We arrived at the All-Star Sports Resort shortly after 11pm and checked into our rooms, anxious to go to bed and sleep quick! Disney was waiting.

This morning (Wednesday, 6/21) the team caught a bus from our hotel resort to Magic Kingdom for some classic Disney fun. … Read More

Posted on June 19th, 2017

Military and Emergency Vehicles Featured at Museum’s First Vintage Truck Show

Trucks of all shapes and sized will be welcome at the Gilmore Car Museum’s very first Ultimate Truck Show and Swap Meet to be held on Saturday, June 24th.

The one day family event runs from 9am to 4pm and is open to all military and emergency vehicles in addition to all pickups, commercial trucks, milk trucks, and semi tractors 25 years old or older. The trucks will be invited to show on the museum’s 90-acre Historic Campus. 

“One of the fastest growing segments in the collector vehicle hobby is vintage trucks,” said Museum Executive Director Chris Shires, “and we’ve decided to add both a show and special exhibit honoring them.”

An all-new year-long special exhibit designated Designed for Delivery: The Early American Truck opened this Spring at the Gilmore Car Museum features over 20 stunning trucks of all shapes and sizes.

The exhibit includes everything from a very rare 1907 Cadillac Light Delivery truck, produced just four years after the company was founded, to a mammoth 1919 Duplex four-wheel drive and a 1963 Corvair Rampside Pick Up that features a side loading ramp and rear engine.

Everyone is sure to enjoy this celebration of the vintage truck … Read More

Posted on June 13th, 2017

2017 Vintage Motorcycle Show Winners Announced

On Sunday, June 11th over 4,000 spectator motorcycles and nearly 300 vintage show bikes overtook the Gilmore Car Museum’s campus for the 22nd annual Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet.

The show was co-hosted by the Wolverine Chapter of the AMCA, the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, and the BMW Motorcycle Club of Battle Creek and sponsored in part by AAA of Michigan, NAPA of Delton, Checkered Past Cycles of Galesburg, and Battle Creek Harley Davidson

This year’s grand exhibitor prize was a brand new Klinger motorcycle trailer and the lucky winner was Jerry Romano of Clarkston, Michigan (pictured left).

Our Vintage Motorcycle Show award winners were:

Category  Place Bike #  Year, Make, Model Owner  City/ State
USA 1001cc and UP 1 54 1929 Henderson KJ Ron Mitchell  East Leroy, MI
  2 33 1945 Indian Chief Kelly Molenaar Kalamazoo, MI 
  3 51 1947 Indian Chief  Richard Watson Wayne, MI
USA 1000cc and UNDER 1 14 1952 H.D. Hummer  Tim Hagerty  Battle Creek, MI 
  2 15 1958 H.D. Hummer  Tim Hagerty  Battle Creek, MI 
  3 16 1966 H.D. Hummer  Tim Hagerty  Battle Creek, MI 
ENGLAND 501cc and UP 1 193 1973 Norton Racer  Walt Bramhaus
Read More