Posted on November 3rd, 2017

Ultra-Rare Mercedes-Benz Featured at Gilmore Car Museum thru April 2018

Two ultra-rare Mercedes-Benz automobiles, considered by many to be among the most valuable in existence, will be showcased through April 2018 at the Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Both vehicles are German-built Mercedes-Benz 540 K models. The 540 K was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1936 and featured a supercharged 8 cylinder that could easily propel it down the German Autobahn at speeds exceeding 100 mph. The car instantly became a favorite of the ultra-wealthy elite.

Included in the list of the prestigious 540 K models’ owners was the Baroness Gisela von Krieger of Prussia, movie mogul Jack Warner of Warner Brother’s Studios, and Actor Clark Gable, best known for his role in Gone With The Wind.

The Mercedes-Benz 540 K models displayed at the Gilmore Car Museum include an original 1936 Special Roadster with remarkably low 10,000 miles driven and a 1938 Sport Tourer that had been hidden away in a basement-bunker in East Germany during the cold war and only discovered decades later.

The 1936 Mercedes 540 K Special Roadster sold new to U.S. resident Reginald Sinclaire, heir to the Corning Glass fortune, a WWI Flying Ace and noted car collector. This 10,000-mile factory issued left-hand-drive … Read More

Posted on September 5th, 2017

Gilmore Car Museum “Gears Up” for Back to School

While many tourist destinations dread the end of summer and associate “back to school” with a season that’s wrapping up, the Gilmore Car Museum, near Kalamazoo, MI, embraces it by continuing to impact both students and communities throughout the state—and beyond.

Student admission is free for all pre-arranged K – 12 school field trips to the Museum and educators are encouraged to schedule their outings as early as possible.  A group of highly motivated and creative Museum instructors combine automotive history and “STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) benchmarks as the automobile has impacted all phases of culture.

These Museum visits become fun and memorable experiences where students become very engaged. “During these immersive learning field trips students forget they’re still in class and learning,” explains Robin Nott, renowned storyteller, retired drama teacher, and Gilmore volunteer.

For the high school student looking for more hands-on instruction in automotive preservation the Museum offers its innovative Gilmore Garage Works program, which will soon begin its 9th year.

Meeting Tuesday and Thursday afternoons within the Museum’s unique environment the Garage Works after-school program is 100% free and teaches the basics in automotive repair, tool usage and shop safety. Adult mentors, made up … Read More

Posted on August 1st, 2017


THE RED BARNS SPECTACULAR—the area’s oldest and largest antique, classic, and special interest car show and swap meet featuring vehicles of all eras from 1992 and earlier, takes place at the Gilmore Car Museum on Saturday, August 5th.

Celebrating its 37th year, the RED BARNS SPECTACULAR has been sponsored by the Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restorers Club (KAARC) and the Gilmore Car Museum since 1980.  

“This is the event that folks wait all summer for,” said KAARC show chairperson Jim Holland, “The name says it all, it really is spectacular!”  At last year’s event, over 1,500 collector cars and more than 300 swap meet vendors, descended on the Gilmore Car Museum for what has been dubbed the “Granddaddy” of all area car shows. 

Multiple generations now take part in the RED BARNS SPECTACULAR, either as participants vying for one of the nearly 100 trophies to be awarded in either the Judged Show or in the Driver’s Choice Show or as spectators reliving and making memories.

“There’s truly something for everyone at this show,” states Museum spokesman Jay Follis. “From the vast automotive parts swap meet; the variety of collector cars for sale; the huge assortment of antique … Read More

Posted on August 1st, 2017

Mopar Event Showcases All Chrysler Powered Vehicles

The resounding answer will be “YEAH, its got a Hemi!,” during the very popular MOPARS at the RED BARNS car show and swap meet that takes place at the Gilmore Car Museum on Saturday, July 29 from 9am to 3pm. 

Presented by the West Michigan Mopar Club for its 29th year, this family-friendly car show and swap meet is the region’s largest event of its type. More than 350 Mopars— all-Chrysler products—will take over the Gilmore Car Museum historic campus. The show is open to all Chrysler powered vehicles of all eras, including muscle cars, antiques, street rods, and trucks.

2017 actually marks the 80th anniversary of the Mopar parts brand, created in 1937 from Chrysler Motor Parts Company, to exclusively handle factory parts for each of it individual car brands that included Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, DeSoto and Imperial.

“Mopar” derived its name from the letters MOtor PARts of its full corporate name and has since become the affectionate slang for any Chrysler-powered muscle cars of the 1960s.

The iconic Dodge Charger was introduced in 1966 as a two-door fastback hardtop, dominated NASCAR in 1969 and ten years later the orange “General Lee” sped onto TV screens in the … Read More

Posted on July 1st, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Seven & Eight, Through the Mitten

We’re in the final days of the 2017 Great Race and it feels so good to be in Michigan! We left off approximately 48 hours ago, so there is lots to catch up on, the first being our take-off from Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor. We picked up our instructions and Madison got right to working the charts.

A lot of you have asked what our navigators are working with when it comes to instructions and I can honestly tell you…not much! Here are just 2 / 27 pages from our Stage Seven run on Friday.

Yikes, right! Our student navigators are working hard every day working through their instructions, perform timing calculations, and mark important emergency instructions or notes. And as if that wasn’t hard enough, instruction packets are only given 30 minutes before each vehicle’s official start time every day. They deserve a big round of applause!

As the clock ran down and it was time to get on the road, we piloted the Packard out onto US-23 and were met with heavy traffic in the heart of rush hour. We peeled off the highway and went through some difficult check point runs – some taking us in loops and to the … Read More

Posted on June 29th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Six, A Gilmore Homecoming and onto Ypsilanti

Tonight, Team #GilmoreGreatRace would like to thank you, thank you, thank you for such a wonderful homecoming this afternoon. We were all so humbled by your support, your warm welcome, and for sharing our passion in the heritage of the automobile. We are proud to be representatives of the Gilmore Car Museum and we could not have been more proud to welcome the competitors of the 2017 Great Race to our home. 

The mid-day ceremonies kicked off with announcers Great Race Mike Goodman and Corkie Coker getting everyone fired up for the racers. Barb Follis sung a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, our very own Delton-Kellogg Marching Band entertained the crowd, our Museum Chairman, Bill Parfet, welcomed everyone to North America’s Largest Auto Museum, and Mrs. Dinger, the donor of the 1935 Packard that carried the team home, visited with the team and local news crews.

The Great Race cars started arriving shortly after 12:30pm and among the first to arrive was Team #GilmoreGreatRace with Delton native Gavin O’Dell navigating and Brad Wire of Shelbyville driving. What an amazing experience to see the car enter the campus to the cheers of the crowd! It was a very emotional moment … Read More

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