On December 18, 2016, the Walter P. Chrysler Museum closed its doors for good. It had provided visitors with a unique opportunity to explore the automaker’s rich past via its hundreds-strong collection of classic models. But its inability to turn a profit and the fragile finances of its parent company conspired to do it in, to the great consternation of car and history lovers.
Now comes news that a new home has been found for the collection: The FCA Group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) announced this week that the facility where the Dodge Viper was assembled will be converted to house the company’s classic cars. The Detroit assembly plant is stopping production of the Viper after more than 25 years, and it will be converted into a private museum to house and display some remarkable pieces of the company’s rich automotive history.
The Conner Avenue building will be completely transformed to allow it to accommodate the collection, and to host meetings and events. The plan is to convert around 77,000 of the building’s total of 400,000 square feet for the new project.
Some 85 of the nearly 400 vehicles in the possession of FCA will be displayed in the new space. Among the most noteworthy vehicles are a 1915 Dodge Brothers Model 30-35 Touring, a 1934 Chrysler Airflow, the 2002 Dodge Razor concept and the famed Chrysler Turbine experimental car from 1963.
"We are proud of our history and have been working diligently in the daily care and restoration of these important vehicles. This move will allow us to house all of our collection under one roof and have the space to share that history with our employees."
- Brandt Rosenbusch, FCA historical services manager
Though the project will not a museum as such, at least not initially, it will mean a new home, open to visitors, for a remarkable collection of antique, iconic and experimental vehicles.
Excellent news, indeed.