Tucked away in some beautiful red canyons of the western desert of Colorado, lies an amazing automotive museum. Part of the Gateway Canyon Resort, the Gateway Auto Museum can be found an hour southwest of Grand Junction, Colorado. It is situated along the Unaweep/Tabeguache scenic and historic byway. Just the drive alone on this winding two lane blacktop is worth the visit. The museum is nearly 30,000 square feet displaying over forty automobiles including a prototype designed by the famed Harley Earl. The following pictures and descriptions are just a tiny glimpse into the amazing collection. More then simply a collection though, all of the cars here get driven at some point during the year to keep them in proper shape. Nice to hear that these beautiful vehicles are not just 100% static displays, instead they are motoring art!
John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery channel, established the museum to share his passion of the American automotive heritage. The biggest prize of the collection in my mind is the 1954 F-88 Oldsmobile prototype. Most say this car set the stage of integrating art within an automobile in Americas post-war times. Famous automotive designer Harley Earl, head designer of the first corvette, built the F-88 as a pet project to display at the Motorama shows in the United States. Hendricks won the F-88 at the Barrett-Jackson auction in 2005 for $3.24 Million, setting a record for an automotive auction. Today the car sits in its own room at the Gateway Museum on top of a rotating display, like any great piece of art should!
Currently, the entrance foyer of the museum greets guests with an 1954 Kaiser-Darrein Roadster, 1962 Dodge Polara convertible and rare 1933 vintage Plymouth race car. Motoring memorabilia and the great writing of John Hendricks is what you will experience at the museum. One of the museum’s displays is know as the Mass Mobility Gallery and includes early cars from a 1906 Cadillac, Model T, and 1936 Pierce Arrow just to name a few. Another display is called the Hollywood High Style gallery with many cars that the early day Hollywood stars would own, such as the timeless Duesenberg.
The muscle car display peaked my interest the most. Included here are several examples of the “Big 3’s” versions of American muscle. One rare car is a 1970 Plymouth ‘Hemi’ Cuda that was used as a photo shoot car for Chrysler. The car even has the correct fender tag and VIN ending in 00010 to boot!
There are several other galleries I haven’t mentioned to save some for your imagination and exploration. There is so much to see and do that I could drag this post out for pages! I encourage you to take a look at their website and plan a visit to this off the beaten path museum and resort surrounded by epic natural beauty.
I would also like to thank Greg the adventure services manager, Tom the “oh so very lucky” museum mechanic and the folks at the restaurant for gracious hospitality we felt during our visit! The museum holds driving events every summer and the public is welcome to bring their vehicles and join.