Awesome Car Museums In Louisville, KY

December 15th, 2022 by

Kentucky earned a chapter in automotive history in 1908 when Kinzea Stone founded the Lexington Motor Car Company in Lexington. After nearly twenty years in business, the Auburn Automobile Company took over the Lexington Motor Car Company and continued producing cars until 1937. Let’s take a look at some of the best car museums around Louisville, Kentucky, to see historical automobiles from these and other companies.

Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum

Head south on I-65 out of Louisville, and you’ll arrive at Elizabethtown in less than an hour. While the charming town offers many historic attractions and museums, car enthusiasts will make the first stop at Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum.

Swope’s auto museum has an intriguing story. After serving overseas during World War II, Bill Swope moved with his growing family to Winchester, Kentucky, and opened a Dodge/Plymouth dealership. Shortly afterward, Bill’s friend Pat Humphrey tried to sell Bill a 1918 Dodge Touring Car. Pat insisted that the classic vehicle would draw more customers to the dealership.

Bill tried to decline, but Humphrey overcame Bill’s resistance by lowering the car’s selling price to $200 and personally delivering the Dodge on a flatbed truck. Humphrey’s persuasiveness resulted in an impressive legacy because that 1918 Dodge inspired Bill Swope to begin collecting classic and vintage automobiles.

The Swope dealership moved to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and grew into the Swope Family of Dealerships and Swope Motor Company. Bill’s car collection grew along with the business, and in 1999, he launched Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum. The impressive collection depicts decades of automotive history, and visitors can admire antique and classic vehicles dating from the early 1900s through the 1960s.

Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free for this family-friendly attraction as a gesture of appreciation to the community for supporting the Swope family automotive business over the past 60 years. You can find the museum at 1100 N. Dixie Ave. in Elizabethtown.

National Corvette Museum

Head to Bowling Green, just about two hours from Louisville, for an adventurous day. Visit the university, museums, and historic neighborhoods before taking a tour of the Chevy Corvette Assembly plant and stopping by the National Corvette Museum.

The National Corvette Museum opened in 1994 and is a repository for the Corvette. The museum displays over 80 Corvettes spanning decades and features rare car concepts, such as one-of-a-kind prototypes that didn’t make it to production. You’ll discover fascinating Corvette collectibles and memorabilia as you wander through this homage to the sporty vehicle.

The museum houses several ongoing exhibits, including the Nostalgia Gallery, where you can walk down Main Street and see a historic barber shop, a Mobil station, and a 1960s Chevrolet dealership showroom. Other exhibits rotate throughout the year, so you’ll see different vehicles on display with an annual membership.

Stop at the museum’s Stingray Grill for a salad or burger, and visit the Corvette Store, where you can purchase officially licensed Corvette car accessories, apparel, collectibles, and gift items.

After visiting the museum, take I-65 to the Bowling Green Assembly Plant and enjoy a 1-mile walking tour of the assembly plant, where guests can see how a chassis is connected to the body and watch the new Corvette roll off the assembly line. Plant tours are $7 per person.

The National Corvette Museum is located at 350 Corvette Drive, and the plant is at 600 Corvette Drive in Bowling Green. The museum hours are generally 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and closed on several national holidays, but hours may vary, so check the website before your visit.

Museum admission is $18 for adults ages 13-61, $16 for seniors over 62, $13 for youth ages 5-14, and free for children 4 and younger. Active or retired military and veterans receive a $5 discount with a valid ID. Purchase a museum membership for $65 and receive free admission.

Model T Museum

If you’d like to visit more car museums, load up the family vehicle for a day trip and head to Richmond, Indiana, where you can see the Model T Museum and spend a couple of hours enjoying the sleek retro cars. The immersive experience features Ford’s most popular vehicle in various historical exhibits, including a vintage garage and two early 1900s Ford Agency Show Rooms.

The Model T Museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students ages 12-17, and $5 for veterans. The Model T Museum is located at 309 N. Eighth St. in Richmond, Indiana.

Lane Motor Museum

For a great mini getaway in your new SUV, head to Nashville, Tennessee, and visit the Lane Motor Museum. The journey takes about two and a half hours from Louisville, which makes this an ideal weekend trip because there are so many other things to do in Nashville.

The Lane Motor Museum is the most extensive collection of European cars in the U.S. and displays over 150 cars and motorcycles that date back to the early 1900s. With over 550 vehicles in its collection, the museum rotates exhibitions regularly, so repeat visitors can discover new cars and exhibits.

You’ll see the Guinness record-holder for the Smallest Street-Legal Car, a Peel P50 that’s 53 inches long, 39 inches wide, and 53 inches high; it can go up to 40 mph. In addition to cars and motorcycles, the museum displays planes, boats and other amphibious craft, bicycles, and custom-built engines and vehicles.

The Lane Motor Museum is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is $12 for adults ages 18-64, $8 for seniors 65 and older, and $3 for youth ages 6-17. Children 5 and under are free. The museum is located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville.

Bachman Volkswagen is happy to provide this list of car museums around Louisville. Have we shared any suggestions that you plan to visit? Drop us a note or stop in and share your feedback with our friendly team.