America’s Car Museum (ACM) is preparing three vintage cars for extreme winter weather expected on a 13-day road rally beginning in late December called “The Drive Home.” According to ACM, the cross-country trek will highlight America's love affair with the car, promote pride in the American automotive heritage and celebrate Detroit as the spiritual home of the American auto industry.
Three of the museum’s cars – a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, 1961 Chrysler 300G and 1966 Ford Mustang – are being recommissioned by the ACM Collections Department, which was tasked with ensuring that the cars could safely complete the 2,400-mile trip from Tacoma, Wash. to Detroit from Dec. 27 to Jan. 8.
“These cars previously received some form of restoration from their prior owners, but then spent many years off the road,” said ACM Collections Manager Renee Crist. “So we took the planned route, terrain and the time of year into consideration when developing a comprehensive work plan for each vehicle, going as far as rebuilding the brakes, steering and suspension of the Nomad to ensure that we could safely make it to Detroit for the opening of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).”
The museum employed two recent apprentices from the Hagerty Education Program at America’s Car Museum (HEP) – an education initiative to provide young adults with hands-on experience in automotive restoration – to assist Crist in rebuilding or replacing all brake system components, wheel and axle bearings and steering parts, as well as checking electrical system components, suspension bushings and shocks.
“It’s easy to forget just how far automotive technology and safety have come – for example our youngest car, the ’66 Mustang, was sold in the first year of federally mandated safety standards. So despite minimal external changes from earlier Mustangs, it featured standard safety equipment including front and rear seat belts, emergency flashers and windshield washers,” added Crist.
ACM is planning stops in major cities every day of The Drive Home and inviting car clubs and enthusiasts to join along the way. Destinations include: Portland and Bend, Ore.; Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; Lakewood, Colo.; Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Bloomington and Chicago, Ill.; and a final celebration in Detroit in conjunction with the NAIAS.
For more information on The Drive Home, visit americascarmuseum.org/TheDriveHome.