How the National Automobile Museum keeps visitors coming back

The National Automobile Museum is bringing in cars from television and movies to keep exhibits fresh.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 4:37 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - People of a certain age will recognize the character, the car, and the song. It’s the cartoon ‘Speed Racer’ and the animated car a Mach 5.

All have come to life at the National Automobile Museum.

“There’s a tie-in here,” says Phil MacDougall, President of the National Automobile Museum. “This takes me down a memory. Growing up with Speed Racer.”

MacDougall says if this car is not in the memory house, there’s an iconic car parked about 50 feet away.

One couple was all smiles when they came face to face with Magnum PI car a Ferrari 308 GTS. Then there’s the 1974 Dodge Monaco from the Blues Brothers. The iconic cars will be on display until the end of the year.

It’s a way MacDougall says the museum hopes to keep it fresh. Surveys show residents and other visitors who have come here before may not return as they believe there is nothing new.

But every month he says they’ll be surprised.

“We want to appeal to a much wider audience. But be really, really flexible and change things as often as possible,” says MacDougall. “No one comes to the same place with the same cars time and time again. I wouldn’t want to do it. So, we are committed to making it a very new experience.”

A $3,000,000 dollar investment means an outdoor patio and fire pit, along with a seating area for group activities or community events. The indoor movie theatre can be rented out for you and more than 100 friends.

The gift shop features a “Barbie” car. It’s been a big hit this summer.

And let’s not forget Halloween night where up to 3,000 kids will show up here for a safe Trick or Treat. MacDougall says in November, A tribute to Veterans with Pershing’s Jeep, General Patton, and MacArthur’s cars along with other historical items.

It’s a place where one can step into history, keep current, and go “Back to the Future” all at the same time. Yes, that DeLorean is also on display at the National Automobile Museum.

For a schedule and other information: