Posted on April 5th, 2018

First Four Time INDY 500 Winner and His West Michigan Connections Featured in New Special Exhibit

In celebration of the 102nd running of the famed Indy 500 the Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo, Michigan has announced a special exhibit honoring auto racing icon A.J. Foyt, opening on April 14, 2018. 

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition,” which originally debuted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum last year, will arrive at the Gilmore Car Museum with a twist­­­—it will feature West Michigan’s connections to the race and the iconic driver.

“We are proud to honor this incredible racing legend with ties to our local community,” stated Christopher Shires, Executive Director of the Gilmore Car Museum, “with an exhibit celebrating one of the most diverse and successful careers in auto racing history.” 

Kalamazoo-based Jim Gilmore Enterprises sponsored the team in 1977 when Foyt became the first driver to ever win the Indianapolis 500 four times.

Jim Gilmore, Jr., the nephew of Museum founders Donald and Genevieve Gilmore, was once Mayor of Kalamazoo and owner of several TV / radio stations and automotive dealerships throughout the country. Local residents will surely recall seeing the signature orange #14 Indy race car hanging from the ceiling of Gilmore’s downtown Cadillac dealership.

Gilmore sponsored his first Indy race team in 1967 … Read More

Posted on February 14th, 2018

Gilmore Car Museum Holds First Job Fair February 24th

Gilmore Car Museum Holding First Job Fair

Hickory Corners, MI –

Are you looking for a seasonal* part-time job? The Gilmore Car Museum is hiring!

The Gilmore Car Museum, North America’s Largest Auto Museum, is just north of Gull Lake and will be holding its first open house-style Job Fair on Saturday, February 24, 2018 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Those attending will learn more about the Museum, its various open positions, and interview with hiring managers from different departments.

The Museum is currently looking for enthusiastic and motivated candidates to join their team in positions including:
– Food Service Staff (for their authentic 1941 diner, café, and special events)
– Gallery Attendants
– Grounds Operations
– Admissions
– Bartending (must be 18 or older)

All attendees are asked to bring a copy of their resume (if available) and be prepared for a short on-site interview for the positions of their choice. Attendees may interview for multiple positions.

Interested in volunteering? Volunteer opportunities and applications will also be available.

The historic 90-acres Gilmore Car Museum campus is located between Richland and Delton at 6865 W. Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, MI 49060. It displays nearly 400 vehicles year-round, presents several … Read More

Posted on January 22nd, 2018

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 … Read More

Posted on January 15th, 2018

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 … Read More

Posted on January 11th, 2018

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 … Read More

Posted on November 30th, 2017


Looks are often very deceiving. During the mid-1960s a “Plain Jane” Pontiac may have looked more like something your parents would drive or perhaps you assumed a low-optioned Dodge was nothing more than someone’s daily driver.

“That was until they left you in their dust at the stoplight,” explained Gilmore Car Museum spokesperson Jay Follis, “or until you got a glimpse under the hood!”

That is exactly what the Gilmore Car Museum’s special yearlong exhibit, “Born to Perform – The Era of the Muscle Car” offers along with its exclusive OPEN HOODS week running exclusively December 4 – 10, 2017.

The Museum has assembled 16 of the rarest and most sought-after muscle cars for this exhibit and displaying them with their hoods up gives guests the opportunity to see the power behind the name.

Muscle cars were typical mid-sized dealer stock vehicles of the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.  They often came with very few options but had factory-installed high-performance engines in them—thus the very deceptive look of just another “Ma and Pa” type car.

Because manufacturers placed large V-8 engines into these affordable cars, it gave them incredible performance on the street— and in drag-racing competition.

Many consider John DeLorean, … Read More

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