Monday, May 21, 2012

Duesenberg Dispatch: 2012 NAAM Conference

by Nancy DeWitt

Last week I had the good fortune to attend the annual conference of the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM) in Auburn, Indiana. The event was hosted by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful venue. Situated in the former Auburn Automobile Company's national headquarters building, the museum has over 120 cars including the world's largest public exhibit of Duesenbergs. The first floor resembles an art deco showroom, while the numerous galleries are highly informative and full of more automotive wonders and history.

Of all the Duesenbergs on display, this 1930 Model J Murphy-bodied Convertible Sedan was my favorite. We would love to add a Model J to our collection. So, if you are ready to part with one and would like to see it live in a museum where it will be admired, driven and given lots of TLC, please contact us.

The car that most impressed me was this 1932 Cord E-1 prototype. It sits on a 152" wheelbase (20" longer than the Cord L-29 it was designed to replace) and weighs over 6,000 lbs. It is powered by a 491 cubic-inch V12 that produces 200 horsepower. E.L. Cord wanted to put the E-1 into production in 1932, but plans were scrapped because of the economic depression. This is the only E-1 ever built, and she is a very impressive car to see in person.

Of course, I didn't spend all of my time looking at beautiful cars. The conference sessions covered a range of interesting topics, including best management practices, strategic planning, preservation vs. restoration, educational programs,  conserving vs. driving your cars, and museum stores. It was a valuable opportunity to meet other museum professionals, share ideas and learn about new products. Kudos to the ACD Museum for organizing such a great conference!

I was able to visit a private collection and several other museums last week, and will write about those in a future post.

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