Automotive history doesn't have to live in private collections. These 12 US museums are some of the best places to check out all sorts of beautiful, rare, and interesting cars.
The Collier Collection at is one of the finest assemblies of classic race cars in the US. Its Porsche collection is especially great, if you're a fan of the automaker's 1960s and 1970s sports cars.
houses a collection of around 250 mostly US cars in a beautiful building in Tacoma, Washington. Definitely stop here if you're into NASCAR history, since it's got a huge collection of memorabilia.
The recently reopened Petersen Museum might just be the premiere automotive museum in the U.S. It's probably the only place in the world where you can see both a Toyota 2000GT and the Ferrari 308 from Magnum P.I. under the same roof. If you're in Los Angeles, there's no reason not to visit the .
claims to have the most extensive Tucker collection in the world. It has three of the 51 Tucker 48s built, a number of engines and rolling chassis on display. That alone makes this museum worth a visit, but its extensive collection of Pre-War cars sweetens the deal.
The might be most well-known for a giant sinkhole that opened up in the museum floor in February 2014, taking eight 'Vettes with it. That's unfortunate because it has the best collection of Corvettes in the world. Some of the cars destroyed, like the millionth Corvette made, have since been restored.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – home of the Indy 500 – is hallowed ground for motorsports enthusiasts. The , which is at the track, is well worth a trip, thanks to its incredible collection of historic race cars. You'll see some of the 1960s Lotuses Jim Clark drove in the race, along with all four cars AJ Foyt raced to Indy 500 victory.
Despite the name, this museum celebrates all of the automotive world, not just Ford. Its charts the relationship between cars and the American people, and how it has evolved over time. Race cars are celebrated too, with some of Henry Ford's earliest racers on display.
If you like strange cars, the is for you. Its collection features the Helicron, a car with a giant wood propeller, the 1951 Hoffman, arguably the worst car ever made, along with Tatras, Borgwards and a host of automotive weirdness. Jeff Lane, the founder of the museum, once drove his replica of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car 650 miles to Amelia Island, in case you doubted his car guy credentials
The claims to be the oldest car collection in the U.S. It hosts a rotating exhibit of cars in motorcycles on the ground floor of a gorgeous carriage house, with the basement filled with rare turn-of-the-century cars.
While many of the museums on this list feature sprawling collections, the focuses on just one type of car: French, specifically of the Art Deco period. If Bugattis, Delahayes, Talbot-Lagos and Voisins tickle your fancy, this is the place for you.
Some of the greatest race cars in the world live at , everything from a 1911 Stutz Bearcat to a 1970 Porsche 917 LH. The piece de resistance is arguably one of the six original Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes, or the Ferrari 250 GTO, or the Jaguar D-Type, or the 1936 Bugatti Type 57G. In fact, is fantastic.
The has the only genuine Dymaxion car in existence. That's worth the trip in and of itself, but its collection features countless other priceless cars, including the winner of the 1908 New York to Paris auto race and the 1949 Mercury driven by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.