Jeep Museum May be in the Works With Help From FCA

New gallery might be at Toledo plant.

by on Aug.13, 2018

The success of this year's Jeep Fest in Toledo has organizers thinking there might be enough support for a museum.xx

Auto museums aren’t exactly thriving these days but the fans in Toledo, Ohio, the birthplace of the iconic Jeep, are talking up the possibility of creating a Jeep Museum with help from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Dozens or rare Jeeps turned up this past weekend for the Jeep fest at the Sea Gate Convention Center in Toledo, which only served to bolster support for the idea, according to local news reports.

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Organizers of Jeep Fest, which attracted Jeep fans from 27 states, said they have held talks about establishing a museum with FCA, which has made the Jeep brands its major profit center since the old Chrysler Group’s 2009 bankruptcy.

Jeep Historian Paul Szymanski told Toledo television station, WTOL, at least four locations have been pitched including one near the current plant on Stickney Avenue.

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“They would see the history of Jeep but also plan to have a test track for people when they buy a new Wrangler to drive their vehicle on the test track,” said Szymanski. It would be museum that’s all about Jeep’s past and what’s coming in the future.

Thousands of Jeep lovers descended on the home of the Jeep last weekend: Toledo, Ohio.

The biggest hurdle, however, might be the fact that the interest in automotive history, particularly among younger motorists.

A number of automotive museums have closed in past couple of years, including the Walter P. Chrysler Museum on the FCA headquarters campus in Auburn Hills closed in December 2016. The space that once housed the museum was turned into the North American headquarters from Alfa Romeo and Maserati

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Auto Collection in the Linq Hotel & Casino shut down to the public on New Year’s Eve, the same day another car display, Hostetler’s Hudson Auto Museum in Shipshewana, Indiana, also closed its doors. A few months before that, the Riverside International Automotive Museum — the last remaining piece of a once-celebrated, long-gone California raceway — also closed.

According to the New York Times, the news has been so bleak for so many auto museums that Kurt Ernst, editor of the classic-car news site Hemmings Daily included in his five predictions for 2018: “Expect to see more museums close and more collections head to auction.” He added this warning: “If you have a favorite museum, 2018 will be a good year to pay it a visit, or better yet, make a cash donation.”

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Experts and auto historians suggest that while Americans drive more miles and spend more time in their cars than ever before and younger buyers are now major consumers of automotive hardware, the new generation have not become auto buffs in the same way their parents and grandparents were.

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