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Donor gives 17 cars, springs for new rotunda at Early Ford V-8 Museum

AUBURN, Ind. _ A Ford collector recently contacted the Early Ford V-8 Museum with an incredible offer: The donation of a 17-car collection of restored Fords. The donor will also be paying for a 10,000-square-foot addition to house the collection.

The museum's long-awaited "Rotunda" is part of the new complex that will be funded by the unnamed donor. The original Rotunda was built in 1934 for Ford's exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair. It was then moved to Dearborn, Mich., and reopened in 1936. It burned to the ground in 1962 and was never rebuilt.

The original Ford Rotunda (above) will be replicated at the Early Ford V-8 Museum in Auburn, Ind.

The original Ford Rotunda (above) will be replicated at the Early Ford V-8 Museum in Auburn, Ind.

During its time in Dearborn, the Rotunda was used mainly for the introduction of new Ford products by displaying the various models inside. It was also used each year for a Christmas display, where parents would bring their children to see all the sights and sounds of the holiday season.

The original Rotunda was a huge structure, some 214 feet in diameter and 10 stories high. The museum's version will be about 98 feet at the widest point, and through the front windows, visitors will get a glimpse of the donated car collection, with one of the cars rotating on a turntable. Inside, the area will resemble a Ford dealership of the '30s.

Although this 10,000-square-foot addition will be built and paid for by the donor, the Early Ford V-8 Museum will continue raising funds needed for its additional 8700-square-foot expansion. The museum has also started a "Named Opportunities" campaign which recognizes individuals (including those who have passed), families, corporations and organizations. For information, contact John Knecht at: (315) 749-4649 or


Early Ford V-8 Museum
P.O. Box 284
2181 General Doolittle Drive
Auburn, IN 46706

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