Popular “Pint with the Past” Returns February 17th


If you’re like most people you may have cabin fever, be yearning for spring, or looking for something fun and unique to do in honor of Valentine’s Day. One very popular annual event that is certain to help any of these is “Pint with the Past” at the Gilmore Car Museum. It’s a Michigan craft beer tasting event and Museum fundraiser held on location in Hickory Corners, northeast of Kalamazoo.

DRAFT Magazine recently listed the Gilmore Car Museum’s annual “Pint with the Past” – held at North America’s Largest Auto Museum – as one of the top 101 best “bucket list” beer experiences in the world.

At this year’s event guests will stroll among special exhibits showcasing muscle cars of the 1960s and ’70s, past a pair of ultra-rare Mercedes, and beside vintage trucks as ten Michigan breweries host tasting stations mixed throughout the exhibit galleries and amid the cars.

Those attending “Pint with the Past” will have the opportunity to sample craft brews, delight in a variety of hors d’oeuvres, and enjoy easy listening music of guitarist Jack Dastoli as well as the improv style of 1950s through today’s music of the popular band Strum, Dumb and Dumber.

Gilmore Car Museum has teamed up to feature some of Michigan’s most popular brewers including Arcadia Ales, Odd Side Brewing, B. Nektar Brewing, and Shorts Brewing. “Pint with the Past” is open to those 21 and older.  The evening runs from 7pm – 10pm on Saturday, February 17th and makes a perfect post-Valentine’s event.

Advance tasting tickets are $40 each via the Museum’s website (thru Feb 9th) or $50 (Feb. 10th – 17th), and $20 for a non-alcohol “Designated Driver” admission ticket. Click here to purchase tickets – online ticket sales end Feb 16th. A souvenir Gilmore Car Museum logo tasting glass will be given with each tasting ticket sold. 

The Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo displays nearly 400 vehicles year-round and currently offers two additional special interest exhibits—muscle cars and vintage trucks—that run through April.  To learn more about the museum and other upcoming events click here.

Special thanks to this year’s “Pint with the Past” sponsors: United Party & Event Services and The Cake Boutique

Remembering #MLK at the Ford Pavilion Magic Skyway

As we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  we’re taking a look back at the King family’s visit to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The Civil Rights leader rode Ford’s Magic Skyway at the New York World’s Fair on a trip with his family in 1964. His wife and two other children followed in the next electronically controlled car.

But what does this have in common with the Gilmore Car Museum? One of the original Magic Skyway vehicles is now on display! Read on to learn more about this incredible survivor…

Ford Motor Company used Walt Disney’s Magic Skyway at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair to showcase new Fords, Lincolns, and Mercurys and there couldn’t have been a better place to introduce the famous Ford Mustang on April 17, 1964. The Fair was divided into two segments, in 1964 from April 22nd to October 18th and in 1965 from April 21st to October 17th.

Ford built a total of 24 Mustang convertibles for the Fair – 12 for each year. In preparation for the opening of the Fair in 1964 the Mustangs were the last to be placed on the Magic Skyway, primarily because the original plan did not include the Mustang; the addition of the pony car was an eleventh hour decision for Ford. When it came time to replace the first 12 Mustangs on the Skyway in the winter of 1964-65, 12 new T-code 200ci 6-cyl automatic convertibles were ordered – three of each in Caspian Blue, Poppy Red, Raven Black, and Wimbledon White. All 12 were built at the Dearborn plant and shipped to Carron & Co. for Magic Skyway preparation.

To date, only three of the second set of 12 Mustangs have been found – 5F08T383378, 5F08T383385, and this example – now on display at the Gilmore Car Museum, 5F08T383386.

Two Mustangs from the 1964 season, when Dr. King and his family visited the fair, have also surfaced. This brings the total number to date of documented World’s Fair Mustangs to five.

But what makes this particular Skyway model unique is its one-of-a-kind appointments – bench seats, AM/8-Track, Thunderbird courtesy lamps, and 1966 hubcaps. These were not Skyway originals, but options installed at Carron & Co. before the car was put in an employee for sale lot post-Fair where it was purchased on December 23, 1965 by a Ford Motor Company employee as a Christmas gift for his wife.

Twelve years later the car was found in a Detroit garage with only 35,622 miles by current owner and lender to the Museum, Gary Schweitzer and his father, Al. After sitting for an additional 30 years, a full restoration began in 2007 and was finally completed in 2015.

This 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible and Magic Skyway survivor will be on display at the Gilmore Car Museum through 2019.

Special thanks to Gary Schweitzer of Traverse City, Michigan for sharing this incredible piece of automotive history with the Gilmore Car Museum!

Museum’s 5th annual Speaker Series Highlights Variety of Topics

Did you know that Henry Ford had experimented with what many consider an “oddball” X-8 engine layout to replace the simple 4-cylinder Model T? Or that Walt Disney had a connection to Kalamazoo and the early development of the Gilmore Car Museum? Have you ever heard or even experienced some of the surprising yet true tales surrounding the muscle cars of the 1960s and 70s?

During the 2018 Lecture Series at the Gilmore Car Museum, you’ll discover fascinating stories and little-known facts from each of these and more. The sixteen-week series is open to the public and covers a variety of intriguing topics.

“We have brought together a fine group of historians, scholars, and authors—all experts in their respective fields,” explains Fred Colgren, Education Director at the Museum. “There’s certain to be something of interest for everyone.”

Each of the Sunday afternoon presentations begin at 3 pm and are only $5 per person, or free with regular Museum admission. The lectures are appropriate for all ages and walk-ins are welcome  as no registration is required.

This year’s series began January 7th with “Welcome to 1917”—a multi-media overview of life in the area 100 years ago presented by Ruth Wilson of the Kalamazoo Public Library.

Popular speaker and historian Don LaCombe (pictured right) returns on January 21st to present “Henry Ford’s X Engine – Replacing the Model T.” Mr. LaCombe spent 36 years in Product Development at Ford Motor Company and is now affiliated with Detroit’s Ford Piquette Plant Museum, the birthplace of the Model T.

He will discuss how Henry Ford had experimented with a very unique 8- engine where the cylinders were in an “X” configuration, and his secret five-year race against Charles Kettering, head of GM Research, in the development of a low-cost automobile.

“We are very excited and honored to offer such a distinguished group of speakers and wide-ranging topics for this year’s Speaker Series,” said Chris Shires, Gilmore Car Museum Executive Director.

The remainder of the series consists of several noted historians and authors, with topics as diverse as sand dune rides in Michigan, Le Mans racing, and vintage gas stations to Abe Lincoln and Walt Disney. 

On February 4th guests are even asked to become part of the program as they join photo journalist John Lacko and present 3 to 5 minutes of their “Muscle Car Memories.” If guests have a vintage snap-shot and would like to share them with their recollections, they are asked to save them to a blank USB thumb drive so they can easily be found and projected during the presentation. 

The 2018 Speaker Series continues for several consecutive Sundays, always beginning at 3pm sharp, in the Gilmore Car Museum’s Heritage Center.  This year’s exciting lineup includes:

January 21, 2018
Henry Ford’s X Engine: Replacing the Model T
Don LaCombe, Automotive Historian

January 28, 2018
Can-Am 50th Anniversary: The Best Stories and Photos
George Levy, Author

February 4, 2018
Your Muscle Car Memories
John Lacko, Racing Aficionado and Photo Journalist

February 11, 2018
The Relevance of Abraham Lincoln
Cameron Brown, Former State Senator

February 18, 2018
Automotive Lubrication Testing Lecture and Seminar
David E. Persell, Ph.D

February 25, 2018
Art, Architecture, and the Automobile
David O. Lyon, Author and Historian

March 4, 2018
Sir William and Jaguar: From Swallow Sidecars to Victory at Le Mans
Mike Erspamer, Jaguar Historian

March 11, 2018
Walt’s Pilgrimage: The Walt Disney Story with a Gilmore Connection
Christopher W. Tremblay, Author and Disney Historian

March 18, 2018
Slot Cars and the Kalamazoo Connection
John Lacko, Racing Aficionado and Photo Journalist

March 25, 2018
Running On Empty: Abandoned Gas Stations in America
Susan Johnston, Photographer

April 8, 2018
100th Anniversary: Colonel Joseph Westnedge and World War I
Tom George, Historian

April 15, 2018
Riding Across the Sands of Time: Dune Rides, Dune Scooters, Dune Schooners, Dunesmobiles, and Dune Buggies
Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson, Historians and Authors

April 22, 2018
The History of Speedway Design and Construction
Van Walling, Historian

April 29, 2018
The History and Evolution of the Country’s Most Unique Aviation Museum: The Air Zoo
Bob Ellis, Founding Air Zoo CEO/Director

Whether your interest is in vintage auto racing, roadside attractions, local history or just the unknown, you’re sure to find the 2018 Gilmore Speaker Series engaging, entertaining, and informative for the entire family. The Gilmore Car Museum— North America’s Largest Auto Museum—is located just 20 minutes north of Kalamazoo or 45 minutes south of Grand Rapids.

For learn more about the 2018 Gilmore Speaker Series or other events, please visit www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org or call (269) 671-5089. 

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