From the very beginning, America’s Car Museum was envisioned as being a center of car culture, a gathering place for enthusiasts and a community resource… a place that would enrich the educational and social life of the region. To that end, ACM is purpose built to be sociable.
A perfect example of the social side of ACM is our “Wine & Wheels Annual Gala.” The themes may change from year to year, what doesn’t change is the excitement level. Guests at ACM galas can expect cocktails, a gourmet dinner, dancing and an auction loaded with enticing items and unique experiences. Thus far ACM’s gala evenings have raised a total of $1.2 million to support our menu of ever expanding programs and exhibits.
We hosted our first gala back in September, 2011. “Hard Hat & High Heels” provided an evening of elegant whimsy as guests were encouraged to come decked out in a blend of formal attire and construction crew gear. Not fully completed, the ‘work in progress’ Museum provided a preview of things to come… the Grand Opening in spring 2012.
The first gala to apply the “Wheels & Heels” label took place on June 1, 2013. Subtitled “Jazz!,” the event celebrated post-war style in cars, fashion and music. Once again, period dress was encouraged. June 7, 2014 saw the Showcase Gallery morph into a “CARnivale” Rio-style as Samba rhythms drifted through the interior of the Museum while outside the night sky exploded with a stunning fireworks display.
On June 26, 2015, we’ll be hosting “Kentucky Derby, A Celebration of Horsepower.” Enjoy live Bluegrass music and mint juleps while placing bets on the best Derby hat. In addition to gourmet cuisine and an extraordinary silent and live auction, you can purchase a raffle rose and experience another fabulous fireworks display. Get your tickets now, it’s almost post-time.
When and where were they born and what do they mean?
In answer to the first question, I can say without the slightest hesitation or equivocation, I have absolutely no idea and neither does anyone else.
As for their meaning, the answer is both obvious—they look cool—and a bit more complex, involving how we, as human beings, are visually and emotionally hard-wired. After due research, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to approxi- mate the first ‘pyrographic’ occurrence is to look at old photographs. Cars have always been a fit subject for the photo-op and rods are no exception. The earliest pictorial evidence of a “flame job” I’ve been able to find is a shot dated 1938. It shows a rather rough and ready little dry lakes racer named “Skip it.” Cobbled together in 1934, the car was redone in 1938 and painted cream with some-what crude and amorphous red flames licking back from the cowl. Are these the first flames… subject zero? I seriously doubt it. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover one from the 1920s. For all I know, old Karl Benz had a flame or two tucked away on that three wheeler.
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You know how sometimes when you pay a return visit to a museum it’s like, “been there, seen that?” Well that’s never the case at America’s Car Museum. From its opening on June 3, 2012, the Museum has taken innovative steps to avoid being a ‘one and done’ destination by continually refreshing the visitor experience… all year round.
A program of rotating exhibits is first and foremost in ACM’s strategy of keeping things fresh. If you were one of the several hundred thousand people to visit the Museum during the grand opening year, you would have enjoyed reliving the golden age of British sports cars as part of the “British Invasion” exhibit. Drop in again and you’ll see a whole new batch of cars under that same, yet ‘refreshed’ Union Jack. Say you saw “Route 66: Dream of the Mother Road”—see it again for the addition of some great vintage era station wagons. Even the cars Harold LeMay collected are routinely rotated to demonstrate just how rich and varied his collection truly is.
In the three short years America’s Car Museum has been welcoming visitors the Museum’s many exhibit galleries have showcased everything from Ferraris, Corvettes, Mustangs and VW Beetles to custom coachwork classics and alternative propulsion vehicles. ACM has celebrated the prized cars of Master Collectors, the heroes and bad boys of NASCAR and the “Truck that Grew up with America”… the Ford F-Series. July 10 will see the Museum bulk up big time as “American Muscle Rivals to the End” rumbles on to the main stage… ACM’s Showcase Gallery. These are the cars that, more than any other, defined the U.S. automotive scene in the 60s and early 70s.
If all this isn’t sufficient cause to keep you coming back, we haven’t even mentioned the Museum’s calendar of events that feature vintage motorcycles, concours class automobiles, drive-in movies and cruise-ins. Even the stock in the ACM Store constantly contains new and exciting gifts, books and items of clothing. Oh yes, and then there are all those educational programs for youngsters, adults and families. The point is, no matter how many times you visit America’s Car Museum, you’re in for a “fresh” adventure.