National Auto & Truck Museum

We had this museum, in Auburn, Indiana all to ourselves on a rainy Monday morning. In fact, the guy who took our $8 admissions was genuinely surprised that we were there. We saw him and two other volunteers during the two hours it took us to see what there was to see. The buildings were once the production plant of the Auburn Automobile Company.

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The tour began with a large room filled with cases that were, in turn, filled with model and toy cars and other vehicles. There were additional cases of model cars all around the museum. There was very little signage to inform us about these, but the sheer volume was impressive.

Another room was filled with classic cars much like the ones in the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Museum next door — I suspect it might even be overflow from that museum. There was also a restored gas station and diner.

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My primary interest was the antique trucks, and we finally came upon some of these in a second room.

A 1925 Mack. Trucks like this were used by the British Army in World War I, and it was the British troops that gave Mack the nickname “Bulldog.”

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On the left is a 1926 Hendrickson. On the right, a 1918 Oneida.

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A 1933 Indiana Model 85A, built in Marion, Indiana. The plant where it was built was later used to manufacture Corvette body parts.

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A 1927 Klauer Snogo, built in Dubuque, Iowa.

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Toy pedal cars. Some of these were amazingly detailed — I couldn’t help wondering if they were built by an enthusiast and never intended as toys. Note the boat and trailer in the second photo.

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The highlight of the museum for me was the restored Futurliner No. 10. General Motors built 12 of these and toured the country during the 1940’s and 50’s. They would pull into a town, lift the sides and give the townsfolk a demonstration of modern advances in science and technology, such as jet engines, stereophonic sound, microwave ovens, television, etc. This one was set up with a display that encouraged kids to create their own model cars. The tour was cancelled during World War II but resumed from 1952 to 1956 when television replaced the novelty of the idea.

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On the left, a 1910 Buick Model 2, the company’s first commercial truck. On the right is a 1931 Twin Coach, manufactured in Kent, Ohio and frequently used as a mobile bakery.

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1911 McIntyre Bus built in Auburn, Indiana. Along the side of the seats, it says “Slap the Japs.” I’m guessing it was used in a War Bonds parade during World War II.

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1909 McIntyre. Note the phone number.

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I thought this was interesting — a horse-drawn gasoline truck.

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1917 IHC Model F, built in Akron, Ohio.

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1939 Kenworth used as an Emergency Rescue Car by the Portland, Oregon Fire Department.

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Sally liked this one the best. She said it looked like a ghost truck. I thought it looked rather cartoony. There was no information about it, although we could make out the word “storage” on the side.

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1946 Dodge Airflow Tanker

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Probably my favorite, although I’d like to see it restored. A 1932 Studebaker Bookmobile used by the Los Angeles Public Library.

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On the left, a 1909 IHC Auto Wagon Model A. The second and third ones are 1922 models.

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The colorful truck on the left is a 1947 KB produced by International Harvester.

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That’s only a small percentage of the vehicles in the museum, but I’m guessing you’ve had enough.

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