At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Are Classic Car Museums?

Maggie Worth
Maggie Worth

Classic car museums are facilities that showcase vintage cars. They are usually open to the public, but may charge a fee for admission. Such museums may contain a wide variety of automobiles or may specialize in one or two types or models. These museums can be found in a number of locations around the world and are often very popular with tourists and classic car enthusiasts.

Examples of specialty classic car museums include those that feature cars from a specific era or geographic region, those that specialize in cars made by a specific manufacturer, or those containing cars of a certain model. Other specialty museums focus on classic trucks or alternate forms of transportation, such as motorcycles. Many museums, however, simply display a wide array of cars, based simply on the cars they've managed to acquire or the tastes of the owner or founder of the museum.

A rusted classic car.
A rusted classic car.

In many cases, classic car museums are privately held. They are frequently started by a single private collector or with a collection that has been handed down through several generations. Such museums might feature only a handful of cars or may contain many vehicles. Vehicles can be in running or non-running condition and may be fully restored or in their original states.

Private car collectors may open their own classic car museum.
Private car collectors may open their own classic car museum.

Museums that contain more than a few cars often group the vehicles into areas or exhibits. This is particularly true of classic car museums that feature several types of cars. American-made cars might be separate from European-made cars, for example, or the cars might be grouped by type, manufacturer, or manufacturing decade. When a museum contains only one model of car, the cars are often placed in order of year of manufacture.

The amount of information available on the cars varies from museum to museum. Some classic car museums simply place the cars for viewing. Others mount plaques containing information such as the year, make, and model information as well as general information about that type of car. Still others provide detailed information about the specific car, such as where and when it was purchased, how many owners it has had, and any classic car show awards it has won.

In most cases, visitors are prevented from sitting in the cars in classic car museums. Some museums also prevent visitors from touching the vehicles. A few smaller museums may allow people to sit in or take pictures with the cars, usually with an employee's supervision.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


There is a guy who has a huge house not far from where I live. The guy is a big car nut and he has a huge garage where he keeps his collection of classic cars. He is rich but he is not a jerk and once a year he lines all the cars up and invites anyone who wants to check them out to come to his property.

It draws a big crowd but he is really gracious about it. You can see how much he loves those cars and loves showing them off. He even gives out free soda and water.

Its an amazing collection, lots of old sports cars and luxury cars. Of course he doesn't let anyone drive them but it sure is tempting.


Anyone who is even kind of a fan of cars owes it to themselves to check out a classic car museum sometime. If you have only seen classic cars in pictures or movies you cannot fully appreciate them.

The are so much bigger and sleeker when you see them in person. You almost can't believe how big and detailed they are. Lots of cars these days seem to care only about efficiency and anonymity. One car looks just like another. But when they used to design cars they treated it as a craft. A car was a statement. You can see that when you look at them in person.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • A rusted classic car.
      By: Michele Ursino
      A rusted classic car.
    • Private car collectors may open their own classic car museum.
      By: SNEHIT
      Private car collectors may open their own classic car museum.