When most people think of art, colorful paintings and elaborately carved sculptures come to mind. The Newport Car Museum in Portsmouth, R.I., spotlights a different kind of art: the automobile.
The 114,000-square-foot building houses more than 70 automobiles, ranging from the classic cars of the 1950s to sleek, modern styles of the present day. Vehicles are displayed without ropes or barriers in the way, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the machines.
Husband-and-wife duo Gunther and Maggie Buerman opened the museum in June 2017 to showcase the creativity and innovation that go into making cars.
“I had always been a car collector, but I was racing sailboats at the time and didn’t have time to drive the cars,” Gunther said. “I asked Maggie if I should sell them. Instead, we decided to open a museum.”
The automobiles are sorted into six different galleries: World Cars, Corvettes, Ford/Shelby Cars, Fin Cars, an “American Muscle: Then and Now” exhibit, and Mopars. The rarest car in the collection – and the museum’s crown jewel – is a 1965 Ford Shelby 427 SC Cobra, only 31 of which were sold to the public.
Other vehicles include a 20-foot long, 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible, with majestic tail fins and jet-influenced design, and the re-created 1965 Ford GT40 used in “Fast Five,” the fifth installment in “The Fast and the Furious” movie franchise.
Vintage and contemporary artwork and furniture give each gallery a unique flair, while attention-grabbing videos projected on the walls feature the cars on exhibition. A large gift shop sells a variety of merchandise.
The museum also features Playseat driving simulators with over 250 cars to choose from and 60 racetracks from around the world.
Whether you’re a car lover, art aficionado or something in between, the Newport Car Museum is a must-see if you’re in the area.
The Newport Car Museum will host AAA Day on Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Discounted tickets for AAA members and their adult guests cost $12; $8 for children ages 5-15. Visit AAA.com/Discounts for details.