Coralville, Iowa – Iowa is a great place to search for old cars behind barns and other buildings, and now it’s a greater place to find cars inside buildings.
On Aug. 25, the Antique Car Museum in Iowa opened in Coralville, Iowa, to display a century’s worth of original and restored cars. The oldest car in the 25,000-square foot facility is a two-cylinder 1899 Haynes-Apperson, while the most modern car is a 1990 Cadillac Allanté. The new museum displays about 65 cars.
The bulk of the antique automobiles on exhibit are from the private collection of Dean Oakes of Iowa City. Oakes has been collecting cars for at least 50 years. “I have always wanted to be able to show people what I saw in early autos,” Oakes said of his creating the museum. “Just to hear an early one- two- or even four-cylinder motor run is an experience, a sound that is truly unique to the motor.
“I want this to be a kind of hands-on Montessori type of environment,” Oakes said. “Of course some cars will be off limits, but others will be useful for educational purposes.” Future educational plans include allowing University of Iowa Students from a civil engineering class to obtain experience with the antique motors to learn how they developed.
Early motor cars are represented by a 1903 Cadillac, 1904 Model F Ford, 1908 Reo, 1908 Buick, and an original 1910 Model T touring and a 1907 Economy. Nickel-era cars are also represented, and Model A fans will find a display of these cars in restored and unrestored condition in front of a restored Skelly gas station.
The Antique Car Museum of Iowa is open Tuesdays, noon to 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 1-5 p.m. For more information, call 319-354-3310.
Article published in the Sept. 21, 2006, edition of Old Cars Weekly,