Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum

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Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
Ypsilanti auto heritage museum.JPG
Main entrance
Location 100 East Cross Street,
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Coordinates 42°14′45″N 83°36′29″W / 42.24579°N 83.60808°W / 42.24579; -83.60808
Type Automotive museum
Curator Jack Miller
Website www.ypsiautoheritage.org

The Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan is a unique automotive museum that is home to production cars from the Willow Run Plant and Hudson Motors. The collection includes the original Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a set prop from the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream.

The museum is an official site of the MotorCities National Heritage Area,[1] which is "dedicated to preserving, interpreting and promoting the automotive and labor heritage of the State of Michigan."[2]

Museum Curator Jack Miller is known as an authority on restoring Hudson cars and the history of Hudson cars and the Hudson Motor Car Company,[3] and he regularly assists collectors with finding rare parts for their Hudson restoration projects. Jack's father, Carl, opened a Hudson Sales and Service franchise on the site in 1927.[4]

Miller Motors[edit]

In 1916, Joseph H. Thompson opened a Dodge dealership, possibly the first outside Detroit,[5] in the north end of the Thompson Block. Soon after, Thompson moved his dealership across Cross Street, to the site of the museum.[6]

In 1927, Carl Miller opened a Hudson Sales and Service franchise on the site, and in 1955 the dealership was renamed Miller Motors, reflecting expanded product offerings. From 1927 until the Hudson Motor Car Company closed in 1958, the dealership sold 1,969 new cars,[7] and has retained and preserved all dealership records since opening.[8] For about 20 years, Miller Motors continued as a used car and parts dealer specializing in Hudsons and Hudson parts. In 1975, Jack Miller, Carl's son, began restoring Hudson cars. Since then, Miller Motors has become "the place to go when [Hudson owners] need clutch oil or touch-up paint, or want to buy or sell a Hudson."[7] The dealership sold 105 Hudsons from 1959 through early 2003, and still has Hudson parts in original factory packaging.[7]


In the mid-1990s, Jack Miller, Paul "Skip" Ungrodt Jr, and Peter B. Fletcher opened the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in the Miller Motors building.[8] The museum considers the "crown jewel" of their collection to be the 1952 Hudson Hornet, known as the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, driven by Herb Thomas to his second NASCAR Championship in 1953. All together, the museum is home to 30 cars,[9] ranging from a 1933 Hudson Terraplane K Series Coach to a 1991 Chevrolet Caprice police car, manufactured at the nearby Willow Run Assembly Plant.[8] In addition to the cars, the museum collection includes "advertising, service, repair, and promotional items that were essential to the automobile business" of the second quarter of the twentieth century.[8] The museum is open to visitors six days a week (closed Mondays), year-round, and is involved in many automotive events in Depot Town and nearby Riverside Park, including the Depot Town Cruise Nights, the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival, and the Orphan Car Show.[10]


The museum is located on the southeast corner of East Cross Street and River Street, at the east end of Ypsilanti, Michigan's Depot Town district. Parking for the museum is immediately south of the building on River street, separated from the Ypsilanti Food Co-op parking lot by the railroad. To the north of the museum, across Cross Street, stands the fire-damaged remains of the Thompson Block. A local printing company is immediately adjacent to the museum on the east. To the west, across River Street, is Sidetrack Bar & Grill.



  1. ^ Museums and Historic Homes, MotorCities National Heritage Area, retrieved 2011-05-13 
  2. ^ MotorCities National Heritage Area, MotorCities National Heritage Area, retrieved 2011-05-13 
  3. ^ "Hudsons to Swoon Over", The New York Times, 2007-10-24, retrieved 2011-05-13 
  4. ^ Dickson, James, "Ypsilanti Auto Heritage Museum preserves the golden days of the auto industry", AnnArbor.com (Advance Publications, Inc.), retrieved 2010-12-19 
  5. ^ Mann, James (Winter 2009), "The Thompson Block - Then and Now!", Ypsilanti Gleanings (Ypsilanti Historical Society), retrieved 2011-05-13 
  6. ^ Mann, James (2009-09-24), "The Thompson Block's place in Ypsilanti's history", AnnArbor.com (Advance Publications, Inc.), retrieved 2011-05-13, "In 1916, Joseph H. Thompson, grandson of Oliver, opened a Dodge dealership in the north end of the building. He operated here only a short time, before moving across the street to where Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum is today." 
  7. ^ a b c Blumberg, George (2003-04-11), "DRIVING; Hudsons Survive. The Dealer Does, Too.", The New York Times, retrieved 2011-05-13 
  8. ^ a b c d Learn more, Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, retrieved 2011-05-13 
  9. ^ "In Michigan, Homage to the Auto’s Heritage", The New York Times, 2010-07-16, retrieved 2011-05-13 
  10. ^ Events, Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, retrieved 2011-05-13 

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