Gateway Auto Museum: Upon entering the Gateway Auto Museum, visitors are greeted by a 1934 Ford Custom Coupe and a 1955 Nash Metropolitan. The backdrop for the display is auto and oil company advertisements from years past. The museum has over 50 autos on display. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Olds F-88: The most prize possession of the museum is a 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 Concept Car. This is the one and only car ever produced and was purchased by John Hendricks in 2005 for 3.24 million dollars. This car is displayed on a circular stage in a room by itself and surrounded by photos and text of the auto’s history. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
By GARY WARREN
Formerly of Los Alamos
About an hour southwest of Grand Junction, Colo. in the middle of the desert at the mouth of Gateway Canyon there exists a very exclusive resort. Visitors can be pampered in the spa, dine in luxury, and experience unlimited outdoor activities at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa. However, the centerpiece of this 8,700-acre oasis is the Gateway Auto Museum.
John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel, has owned thousands of acres of ranch land in western Colorado since the 1990s. Hendrick’s fortunes built the Gateway Resort and Spa on some of Hendrick’s property. John Hendricks also collected autos for years and he decided this was a perfect place for an auto museum. Gateway Auto Museum opened its doors in 2006.
At any given time, more than 50 autos from the collection are on display for guests and the public. These vehicles include everything from the 1906 Cadillac Model H Coupe to the 2006 Shelby GT 500 Mustang. The prize possession of the museum is a 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 Concept Car. This is the one and only model of the auto ever manufactured. Hendricks bought the car a year before the museum opened at the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction in Phoenix for $3.24 million.
Every auto in the museum is in pristine condition. The autos are displayed in the 30,000 square foot museum along with other auto related items. The emphasis of the museum is to show the history of the American Automobile and its impact on our lives, our travel, our culture, and almost every facet of American life. When referring to the American Auto history and story he said, “It’s a story about creativity, business, energy, science and engineering, history, and culture.” There is great emphasis on the auto as “rolling works of art and design”.
We spent an afternoon at the Gateway Auto Museum this week and we were both amazed at the quality and quantity of autos on display. The museum itself is a work of art and we will certainly revisit the Gateway Auto Museum again when given the opportunity.
Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country, and he shares his photographs, which appear in the “Posts from the Road” series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Concept Car: This gold 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 Concept Car is on display in the Gateway Auto Museum. This is the only model of this car ever produced. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Duesenberg: This 1930 Model J Duesenberg LWB was manufactured to be the epitome of luxury in an automobile. This beautiful car sits on a presentation stage with a draped background to emulate the type of individual who might buy a car of this caliber. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Woodies: Two beautiful ‘Woody’ autos sit next to each other at the Gateway Auto Museum. Both are pristine and show of the quality of workmanship built into these autos. Shown are the 1947 Chrysler Town & Country Two-Door Convertible and a 1941 Packard 120 Woody Wagon. Both ‘woody’ designs but very different vehicles.
‘57 Fins: The big tail fins were very popular in 1957. The 1957 Chevrolet with its fins is still a very popular classic. Chevy and the Cadillac also had fins. Shown here is a 1957 Desoto with some flare of its own with the big tail fins. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Vettes: Three vintage Chevrolet Corvettes sit next to each other at the Gateway Auto Museum. Shown from left, a 1963 Corvette ‘Sting Ray’, 1958 Corvette Convertible and 1954 Corvette Convertible. In the background is a 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Paper Dreams: Not only autos are displayed at the auto museum. Shown is a display of oil company road maps, which were very popular in the mid-1900s when the American public was discovering the road and the great American road trip. The museum also displayed other items of interest having to do with the American Auto Story. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com