The Henry Ford Museum

(Dearborn, MI) – CoolFords was invited by Ford Motor Company to attend the 2012 North American International Auto Show. On the first night we landed in Detroit, we had a fantastic dinner at the Henry Ford Museum with nearly 160 other bloggers. Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas was one of the guest speakers who talked a bit on the new Ford design studios in the Silicon Valley.

The Henry Ford Museum reflects American culture not only with vehicles produced by Ford Motor Company, but from other manufacturers too like the GM EV1. It is not only an automotive museum but a transportation museum with exhibits of aviation and locomotive transport. Fast food also played an integral part of America’s driving culture and there were classic neon McDonald’s and Holiday Inn signs reflecting its time.

As soon you as you walked down the long hallway, to the center of the museum, you find yourself in the rotunda. On the left, I can see a Model T and an eye-catching Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. In front of me is the 1939 Douglas DC-3 part of the Heroes of the Sky: Adventures in Early Flight exhibit. The dinner was set up on the right side of the museum, but while looking for the restroom, there were several presidential limousines lined up including JFK’s Lincoln Continental. The same 1961 Continental he was riding in when he was shot in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Other vehicles on display were the first Fordson tractor, Goldenrod which broke the land-speed record at Bonneville in 1965, and a 1941 Allegheny locomotive. My favorite was the bright red 1967 Le Mans winning Ford GT40 Mark IV powered by the 7.0L V8. The Rosa Park’s bus which she famously refused to sit in the rear of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, during the civil rights days of the 1960’s is also part of the collection.

My other favorite exhibit was the dark-green #82 1965 Lotus-Ford 38/1 driven by Jimmy Clark with its airplane inspired design. It’s not everyday when you see a pair of yellow-painted exhaust pipes coming out on top of the rear end instead of below it. I finally got a chance to see the 1962 Mustang I prototype which was covered up with clear plastic, but nonetheless, it was still on display. It is one of the strangest Mustangs ever.

Sadly, I only had enough time to browse through a small part of the museum with approximately 75% left to be discovered. Hopefully, I can return to Dearborn again with more time available. A museum map would help too.