Worldwide Auctioneers at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

Destination Auburn - The Classic Car Capital of the World

Destination Auburn 2022

Worldwide Auctioneers recently visited the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum and interviewed museum Executive Director & CEO Brandon Anderson. Watch the video below for a fantastic overview of the museum and a preview of the Luster Exhibit, currently on display through January 2023.

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Starring in the video (left to right); Kayla Blakeslee, Host of Worldwide TV; Brandon Anderson, ACDA Museum Director; John Kruse, Owner of Worldwide Auctions.

Watch for LUSTER exhibit artworks at 2:36 (two minutes and thirty-six seconds) and at 4:59 (four minutes and fifty-nine seconds).

Destination Auburn is the classic car capital of the world and the longest-running collector car auction destination.

VIDEO TRANSCRIBE

KAYLA —
Hey, worldwide TV, thanks for hanging out with us. We are in Auburn, Indiana, as our Destination Auburn series continues. I am your host Kayla Blakeslee, alongside my co-host. We’ve got an auctioneer, the owner of Worldwide Auctioneers, John Kruse, and my new friend Brandon Anderson. He is actually the executive director of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. So, say that five times fast. And that’s where exactly we are standing right now. And this might so far be my favorite part of our Destination Auburn series. Just seeing this space is mind-blowing.

BRANDON —
Well, I’m glad you say that. You know, we have the privilege of being here every day, walking in and out of this historic building. But the place where you are right now, this is automotive history at its finest. This is an automotive Mecca. This is our automotive church. This is the original 1930 home of the Auburn Automobile Company. And it’s our honor and pleasure that since 1974, we’ve opened our doors to the public to celebrate the heritage behind some of the finest cars ever made in this country.

KAYLA —
1974. Can you kind of walk us through a little bit of the history of this museum?

BRANDON —
Sure, so the museum was incorporated into an organization, Auburn Automotive Heritage Inc. in 1973. July 6, 1974, we opened the building to the public. At that time, it was just the Grand Art Deco Showroom and 12,000 square feet of art deco splendor. We had 24 cars on loan to us. We didn’t even own any at that point. It wasn’t until the next year that the Bissell family donated a vehicle to us. So we could actually say we were owners of a classic vehicle.

KAYLA —
One. One classic vehicle.

BRANDON —
You have to start somewhere. Now we’re up to 117 vehicles under our ownership, two Stinson airplanes, unlimited amount of archives as well. We are a great resource facility for those Auburn Cord Duesenberg enthusiasts and also for old classics, as defined by the Classic Car Club of America. So we love being open to the public. We’re open 362 days a year. And it’s again all in the original home where the only Automobile Museum in the world and its original international headquarters are open to the public. So we take that very seriously.

JOHN —
Well, Brandon, a lot of folks that are watching have been here; maybe it’s been ten or twenty years even; talk to them a little bit about why it’s time for them to come back.

Luster Exhibit with A.D. Cook artworks at Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile MuseumBRANDON —

Sure. If you haven’t been here every single year, almost every single month, I can walk around and say that car got moved, that car got moved, we put in this new exhibit. Right now, we have two very large traveling exhibits, one with over 150 hood ornaments and radiator mascots, and another one with over 55 fine artistic paintings that are painted to look like real photos.

So we change things around very often here and tell larger stories so that you can come back as a new visitor or come back as a repeat visitor or a new visitor and then come back again and see something different every single time that you visit. So E.L. Cord actually came here to the Auburn automobile company in 1924. By 1927, he was president of the company. He is the one who had this building commissioned. And it was under his leadership of the Auburn Automobile Company that it grew into the company that we know today when creating Cord Automobile and then acquiring Duesenberg and charging them with creating the mightiest vehicle in American history. And that’s the Duesenberg Model J.

JOHN —
Yes!

BRANDON —
E.L. Cord was the infinite entrepreneur. Our new gallery is going to focus on his entrepreneurship and all the great things he did with the core Corporation here in Auburn, even to the end of his life when he was a state senator for the state of Nevada, Nevada, and his radio stations and television companies. We have a Stetson airplane in the gallery. John, I’m going to learn how to fly an airplane someday.

JOHN —
I’m an entrepreneur, and I love that this exhibit is coming here and there’s a special grand opening. Can you tell everybody when that is because that’s part of this year’s series of events?

BRANDON —
Well, when else should you open the gallery at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum? During Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival.

JOHN—
Of Course.

BRANDON —
So we will be opening that on Thursday evening, during the festival. We have a grand celebration opening and also a benefit in celebration to the museum. That will be happening on Thursday evening from 6 to 10 PM.

We’re looking forward to having over 150 guests. We’re going to have live music, passed hors d’oeuvres, and an open bar to celebrate the opening of the gallery. Then we’ll be going into our event hall, in our inner hall, having an awesome dinner, drinks, entertainment, some nice music playing during dinner conversation, and then the entertainment that evening there’s going to be dueling pianos.

KAYLA —
Oh, that’s awesome.

BRANDON —
So, we hope you come out here and see the dueling pianos and what we want you to do. If you don’t want to hear the song play, you give your donation to the piano players, and that goes to the museum.

KAYLA —
Okay, so for that new exhibit and everything going on that night, people who are attending the museum, let’s say this is the first time they’re hearing about it. Can they still go? Can they still attend?

BRANDON —
Oh, please, we would love you too. For everything, you can check our website at www.AutomobileMuseum.org. Look at our events there on our events page. You can sign up; the event is called Art Of The Automobile. We’re celebrating the art behind that, which is included with our special exhibits I told you about, and some special things that we have planned to debut, so you’ll definitely want to come and be a part of that.

KAYLA —
That’s fantastic! Okay, I want to ask this, so I mean you to obviously kind of touched on folks who’ve maybe been here to the museum before and how you change displays come back because it changes, you know, year after year, weeks after weeks. But what about someone like me because I gotta be honest, this is my first time stepping foot here, and I only live like 30 minutes away. Like I said, it’s been mind-blowing gives me goosebumps walking around checking it all out. But what would you say to someone who never has stepped foot in this museum before, who maybe lives in California or Washington? Well, what would you say to get over here, to come see it?

BRANDON —
Well, first of all, it’s really unique, and we do get travelers from all over the world because the Auburn Automobile Company was a worldwide brand with Cord and Duesenberg. There were actually dealerships in 89 different countries. So just yesterday, I was talking to someone from Finland who came here, who came here 30 years ago, and was like, “Wow, how things have changed.” For those who have never been here, again, you are walking into a very unique experience of American history, the full classics, and automotive history. And I share with people, if you’re not a car guy or car gal, we have something for you here. We have the automobiles and the technology and the engineering and the art behind them. We have historic preservation being a National Historic Landmark building.

KAYLA —
You’re walking into a time capsule here. That’s exactly what I felt like when I walked in here.

BRANDON —
We absolutely say I mean you are walking the staircase, E.L. Cord, Alan Leamy, Gordon Buehrig, all of these individuals have all played a part, and what’s also amazing is that you think about small Auburn, right now we have a town of under 15,000. But, back when we’re talking 1930, when this building opened, the town was maybe about 5,000 people.

The global impact of Auburn on the automotive world is just incredible. For example, the car behind us, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Cord, L-29. This was the second chord that he owned. This was the first car introduced to the American public with front-wheel drive. Now think about that. That’s pretty amazing, and having that low-slung body on there because of the front-wheel drive. You look at a Cord A10 and see hidden headlights, and you see backlit gauges. The Duesenberg Model 8, the first car in the world with four-wheel hydraulic brakes, was all invented and patented by Fred Duesenberg. That’s just a couple of minutes of being in here. We have 120,000 square feet of history to share with you.

KAYLA —
You mentioned global impact, and obviously, you are right about that. But talk to me, both of you actually, because you both travel around the country doing what you guys do, obviously with Worldwide Auctioneers, and you here with the museum, but when you do go out, and you talk to people, and you say you’re from Auburn and you say you’re from the museum, what’s the response you get? Do people say, “Oh, yeah, I’ve been there? Do I need to go there? I want to go there?” What’s that response like?

JOHN —
Well, generally, somebody in the room has been here, and always somebody has heard of it. And I think that that special magic flair that we’ve got is a combination of the people, the historical significance. This is clearly the most historically significant Automobile Museum in the world. And you don’t have to be here for more than about ten minutes to understand that, but it’s also, and Brandon, you’re doing a great job as Executive Director. It’s a living, interactive organization. And you know, we’re out driving cars when I go to car events, and many of you have probably seen Brandon behind the wheel of some of these great cars, and I think their relevance today is spectacular, and maybe you can take it from there.

BRANDON —
Well, I know that they’re, well, John’s absolutely right when you start talking about the museum, or you have vehicles that are ACD or even full classics because we do collect more than just Auburn, Cord, and Duesenbergs, so you’re seeing that full line when you’re here, too. But they see that the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is there, and I get that, “Oh,” either. “We were just there. Or we’re on our way to go see it where it’s been a few years since we’ve been there.” But everybody really knows us and kind of what our legacy is. And it’s amazing to tell them to come and back see us whether we’re in California, Texas, Florida, or New York. We have that connection with people, and they are ready to come back, and they’re ready to appreciate the vehicles. And I can say, referring to John, I know there’s been a fear for a long time that the old classics could possibly die out; the younger collectors wouldn’t be interested; they’re looking at more in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I think they’re just they’re absolutely going gangbusters for the classic cars. This is where it’s at. This is where the fun is out.

JOHN —
Well, speaking as someone in their 40s, I can tell you that I love pre-war American classics better than anything else. And I’m not the only one; there are so many young people, and the art, functionality, and innovation they represent are unparalleled in any other genre. And you know this, this building, this organization is the cornerstone of Auburn, and all the other events that we’re talking about, you know, we’re talking about Destination Auburn, auctions, the car crawls, and swap meets, at festivals and clubs, and the parades are phenomenal, but it all starts here. So you got to be here. And this is like when you go to some of these other super important places; if you’re Washington DC, at the Capitol, or Philadelphia, some of our great historical places. You can’t go back too many times. And every time you go back, you’re like, oh my goodness, this is epic. And this is epic, and it changes. It’s alive. And that feeling that we all love as car people it’s as strong right here in this building, standing on this terrazzo floor, Indiana, as anywhere else in the world.

BRANDON —
So once again, when you come to the museum, you’re stepping into history. You are going into the 1930s. When you’re here, we actually play 1930s music, so you really get into the time period, and you’re just really exploring all these great pieces of automotive history. All the galleries that you’ll see here, too; we have a gallery on engineering, a gallery on technology, and a gallery of art. You can actually go and step into E.L. Cord’s office. You can sit in the boardroom, where the original board sat.

KAYLA —
I did that!

BRANDON —
Did you do that?

KAYLA —
I stepped foot in both those rooms.

BRANDON —
It’s a magical feeling.

So there’s more yet to experience here as we reinterpret galleries, as we change over exhibits, and open up new exhibits. There’s always something new and a way to experience history. And one thing I love about history, too, is it really connects with everything. It had to start somewhere, kind of like how we started with one automobile; you got to start somewhere. So now, 48 years after incorporation, we’re seeing over 45,000 to 50,000 people a year. Of course, we want to increase that number exponentially.

KAYLA —
That’s where you come in.

BRANDON —
That’s right. So we invite you to come and visit us and see all that we have to offer here in Auburn.

KAYLA —
I love that you both when you’re talking about just the festival in general and the museum, you use the word magic. And that is so true. I just felt a sense of magic when I walked into the building and learning everything that I’ve learned today.

Brandon, we appreciate you being here and opening your doors to us. As always, the doors are open to you as well. As Brandon said, we hope you join us. The festival is about to kick off over Labor Day weekend. Really quick, one more time, your exhibit, what were the dates for that exhibit?

BRANDON —
So it is going to open up on Thursday, September 1sy at 6 PM, and then that is a permanent asset for us. So that’s going to be a brand new permanent gallery for the museum. And, of course, we thank our sponsors for being able to make that happen.

KAYLA —
And you can get all of the information for all the highlights and features at DestinationAuburn.com.

We hope to see you there.

A.D. Cook Featured Artworks

Original paintings on canvas currently on display with the LUSTER Exhibit

America motorcycle art by A.D. Cook (detail shot)
AMERICA

48″ x 60″

INDIAN SUMMER motorcycle painting by A.D. Cook
INDIAN SUMMER

48″ x 36″

DREAM 103 by A.D. Cook, motorcycle artist
DREAM 103

24″ x 36″

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC 362 DAYS A YEAR
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

1600 South Wayne Street, Auburn IN 46706

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