Perhaps you remember riding in your family’s Woodie station wagon in the 1950s or watched with great anticipation when Richard Petty and his No. 43 raced to national fame. Whatever your motivation, a day trip to Cartersville’s newest world-class museum needs to be in your future.
The 65,000-square-foot Savoy Automobile Museum opened in early December to showcase the history and culture of the automobile. The museum’s collection includes more than 100 restored antique and classic cars showcased in high-tech galleries that also showcase original automobile artwork. Exhibitions will comprise not only cars from the Savoy’s collection but also vehicles on loan from collectors.
“Savoy is not just a collection of automobiles,” said Tom Shinall, director of development for Savoy. “Through our exhibitions, we are connecting people with the stories of these automobiles and bringing back memories that they create.”
Each automobile on display is accompanied by a storyboard that highlights the make and model. Opening exhibitions focus on The Great American Classics, American Racing, Woodies and Orphans.
King Richard’s car
The Great Hall’s American Racing Collection exhibits cars driven by Richard Petty, Dick Landy, Courtney Hizer and Bobby Rahal. Several race cars on loan include the 1969 Dodge Daytona from the Wellborne Musclecar Museum, Petty’s 1970 Plymouth Superbird and Dick Landy’s ’71 Dodge Challenger Drag Car, both on loan from the Todd Werner Collection.
Visitors will learn about the three-wheel Davis Divan, one of only 13 built by the Davis Motorcar Company in 1947 and 48. The Savoy’s light-yellow model is currently on display in the “Orphans” exhibition, as well as the 1948 Tucker on loan from Howard Kroplich’s private collection. These cars pay homage to those automobiles that were short-lived and pushed out by what eventually became the Big Three automakers.
They will also see the museum’s oldest vehicle, a 1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout and a 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow on loan from the Richard H. Driehaus Collection in Chicago. It’s one of only five made.
The name Savoy came from a surprise find on the 37-acre campus. As it was being cleared for construction, workers discovered a rusty abandoned 1954 Plymouth Savoy. The car is currently on display between the museum and the parking lot.
The campus features a landscaped showgrounds that will be the site of car shows, cruise-ins, concerts, swap meets and car rallies. A large Vehicle Storage Building, not open to the public, houses the museum’s maintenance and detailing facility and cars in the collection that are not currently on display.
The Savoy Café offers a chance to have a meal while at the museum.
Savoy Automobile Museum is the fourth in the lineup of museums in Cartersville from Georgia Museums Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates Bartow History Museum, Booth Western Art Museum and Tellus Science Museum.
Savoy Automobile Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit savoymuseum.org or call (770) 416-1500.
Photos: by Pamela A. Keene