Automobiles are woven into our culture, and we’re kicking off a semi-occasional road trip series which visits some of the lesser known car museums.
Our first stop was out of convenience, as the Gateway Auto Museum is located at the Gateway Canyons resort which is where we stayed during our road test for the 2020 Kia Telluride.
Once you pass previous generations of the Ford GT and Corvette ZR1, you can watch a short historical video about cars or make your way through to the winding exhibition space. The latter features approximately 50-60 vehicles from the privately owned Hendricks Collection.
1954 Oldsmobile F-88 Concept
The real star of the museum is the Oldsmobile F-88 concept. Originally unveiled at Motorama, the concept is essentially a different take on the original Chevrolet Corvette. As a result, it features a stylish fiberglass body and a 5.3-liter V8 that produces 250 hp (186 kW / 253 PS).
The car was supposed to be destroyed, but it reportedly survived thanks to help of legendary designer Harley Earl. Regardless of what happened, it eventually ended up in the hands of E.L. Cord who owned Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg.
After trading hands several more times, the car was auctioned at the 2005 Barrett Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Given its rarity and beauty, the model was sold for $3.24 (£2.5 / €2.9) million.
1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton
Cord, like Oldsmobile, is no longer with us, but the company made a lasting impression thanks to models like the 812 Phaeton. Featuring hidden headlights and an iconic grille, the car has a supercharged 4.7-liter V8 that produces 170 hp (131 kW / 177 PS).
The 812 wasn’t just revolutionary for its design, but its use of front-wheel drive as well. While it wasn’t the first front-wheel drive car ever, it would take other American automakers decades before they introduced their own front-wheel drive models.
Chrysler Town & Country Convertible
The Town & Country moniker is nearly synonymous with minivans, but that wasn’t always the case. The model was launched in the 1940s and, after a short pause for World War II, offered as a convertible.
Known for its wood paneling and extensive use of chrome, the Town & Country was a luxury convertible that featured a power soft top and a 5.3-liter V8 with 135 hp (101 kW / 137 PS).
Those are just some of the cars on display; other interesting examples include a V16 Cadillac, a Cunningham C3 Continental Coupe and a 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook Coupe with just 719 original miles (1,157 km). There are also newer vehicles, including a collection of muscle cars from the 1960s.
The Gateway Auto Museum is located in Gateway, Colorado and adult admissions is $15.