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Lone Star Cars: Hitting the Road for Classic Auto Museums

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Lone Star Cars: Hitting the Road for Classic Auto Museums

Allison Kendrick

If you have ever cruised one of Texas’ quaint downtowns on any given major holiday weekend, chances are you’ve a seen a classic car or car show of some type.

It’s also likely that on your adventures you’ve come across a car museum, maybe in a town or place you never expected. The Lone Star State is proud of many things, among them its classic, collectible cars. (Nocona, which you might have heard of for its leather industry, is also known as the Classic Car Capital of Texas.)

You may not be a classic car aficionado, or even know much about the one parked in your garage—but there is still something special about stepping into a car museum.

The aroma of motor oil and the shine of chrome may bring back memories of cruising down the drag in your hometown or the click of the key in the ignition of  your first car. Or, if you are a lover of history, it might just be an enjoyable experience learning about the automobile industry or how the collection you are viewing came to be. Whatever your takeaway, we hope you get out and explore Texas’ open roads and the car museums that are hidden gems of their regions.

Hours for these museums have changed so drastically during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, it’s better to call ahead and confirm for any trip.

BRAZOS TRAIL REGION

Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum
406 W. 5th St.
Clifton, TX 76634
(214) 906-0245
cliftonclassicchassis.org

A 22,000-square-foot facility housing 35 cars dating from the 1940s to the 1980s—as well as various bicycles, motorcycles, and local historical memorabilia— Dr. Terry Watson’s Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum features a 1960 Corvette convertible, a 1940 Buick Eight sedan, a 1963 Corvette roadster convertible, a 1955 Thunderbird convertible, and several classic Cadillacs, Pontiacs, and Lincolns from the ’50’s and ’60’s.


FOREST TRAIL REGION

Old Iron Works
15030 Liberty St.
Montgomery, TX 77356
(936) 597-4978
facebook.com/OldIronWorks

“Our Montgomery location opened in August 2, 2012,” write the owners on Facebook. “We not only participate in the Concours d’Elegance shows all throughout the United States but restore vehicles to this quality and standard. We allow the general public to tour our location —free of charge.”

Four States Auto Museum
217 Laurel St.
Texarkana, AR 71854
(870) 772-2886
facebook.com/fourstatesautomuseum

While this quaint museum is situated on the other side of the Texas-Arkansas border, it frequently hosts shows and meets, and it’s worth a jaunt across the Red River to visit!

FORTS TRAIL REGION

Flying A Car Museum
133 South Main St.
Albany, TX 76430
albanycarmuseum.com

A collection of fine cars, trucks, motorcycles and auto memorabilia from local residents and enthusiasts.

Woody’s Classic Cars & Baseball Museum
500 SW 5th St. (TX Hwy 36)
Cross Plains, TX 76443
(254) 725-4042
woodysmuseum.com

As Danny Lee “Woody” Wood and his wife, Patti, grew up in the ’50’s, ’60’s, & ’70s they developed a love for baseball as well as the unique cars of that era—so it seemed only natural to develop and collection, which they eventually housed in a sparkling new facility located between Abilene and Brownwood.

Terrill Antique Car Museum
500 N. Texas St.
De Leon, TX 76444
(254) 893-3773

This small museum features a collection of pre–WWII vehicles, including a Coffin Steam Carriage, a Crow-Elkhart Cloverleaf, and a 1915 REO Speedwagon.

HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION

Austin Rock & Roll Car Museum
4117 Commercial Center Dr.
Austin, TX 78744
(512) 383-1660
austincarmuseum.com

The Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum specializes in historic race cars, movie production vehicles, and music memorabilia.


Texas Transportation Museum
11731 Wetmore Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78247
(210) 490-3554
txtransportationmuseum.org

While the Texas Transportation Museum, begun in 1964, devotes a great deal of attention to trains, and to aviation, it’s a great place to learn about and see road vehicles from 1899 to the present, including Texas-manufactured autos.

INDEPENDENCE TRAIL REGION

Art Car Museum
140 Heights Blvd.
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 861-5526

The “Garage Mahal” is the perfect mixture of automotive history and unique art. Vehicles on display range from ornately decorated classic cars to bicycles and concept vehicles.

LAKES TRAIL REGION

Roadside America Museum
212 E. Elm St.
Hillsboro, TX 76645
(972) 291-2958
roadsideamericatx.com

Owner Carroll Estes, a member of Dallas Area Street Rod Association since 1972, started his advertising memorabilia collection about 1975, then in  2005 purchased an old Ford dealership building in Downtown Hillsboro, which now houses his memorabilia and car collection.


Horton Classic Car Museum
115 W. Walnut St.
Nocona, TX 67255
(940) 825-1022
hortonclassiccarmuseum.com

Featuring 137 vehicles in its massive 37,400-square-foot space, the collection includes such classics as a 1953 Buick Skylark Golden Anniversary convertible, a 1958 Pontiac Bonneville Series 25 convertible, and a unique Corvette Nomad station wagon housed in what once was the town’s Ford dealership.


Vintage Car Museum and Event Center
100 Fort Worth Hwy.
Weatherford, TX 76086
(817) 550-6550
vintageweatherford.com

Tom Moncrief has been enamored with cars and classic automobiles since he was a young boy. The museum houses many of Moncrief’s own cars and also a rotating collection of one-of-a-kind classic automobiles.

P’s Crazy Car Museum
1602 Midwestern Pkwy.
Wichita Falls, TX 76302
(940) 205-4937
pcrazycars.com

The Patterson Auto Group’s museum features over 40 classic cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles and more, and hosts the Bridge to Bridge Cruise each spring.

PECOS TRAIL REGION

Petroleum Museum Chaparral Gallery
1500 Interstate 20 West
Midland, TX 79701
(432) 683-4403
petroleummuseum.org

A tribute to the Can-Am–era racecar makers and drivers who once built and tested their innovative designs in the Permian Basin.

Memory Lane Car Museum
301 S. Oak St.
Pecos, TX 79772
(432) 447-6588

Memory Lane features a glimpse back in to the past with a collection of classic vehicles worth over $2.5 million, capturing a piece of American history.

PLAINS TRAIL REGION

Bill’s Backyard Classics
5309 S. Washington St.
Amarillo, TX 79110
(806) 373-8194
bbcamatx.com

This private collection–gone–public, just south of Route 66, was founded on the two things the owners love most—cars and families.


Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum
4341 Canyon Dr.
Amarillo, TX 79110
(806) 358-4891

Step back in time with early Airstreams and other vintage campers, complete with accessories of the era.

Cadillac Ranch
13651 I-40 Frontage Rd.
Amarillo, TX 79124
Open 24 Hours

Grab your camera and a can of spray paint for a delightfully quirky experience amid an outdoor art installation nearly half a century old.

TROPICAL TRAIL REGION

King Ranch Museum
405 N. 6th St.
Kingsville, TX 78363
(361) 595-1881
king-ranch.com/Museum/

While the King Ranch might bring horses first to mind as a mode of transportation, the famous cattle ranch’s museum also showcases vintage cars among the saddles, guns and rifles, and other artifacts depicting life on the ranch in the 1940s.

Knapp Chevrolet Antique Auto Museum
16408 U.S. 83
Harlingen, TX 78552
(956) 365-6150

The Harlingen branch of the longtime Houston dealership founded by Parker Knapp features a museum opened in 2000 with antique and classic autos, including a 1929 Chevrolet, 1957 Bel Air convertible, and several collectible Corvettes. Butch Cooley’s collection of classic Chevys, including a ’61 Impala.

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