At a time when we’ve become used to reporting car museum closures and the subsequent auctions of their collections, it’s refreshing to announce that a car museum is opening this week. The Newport Car Museum will open its doors June 1 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, inside a completely renovated 114,000 square-foot building that was once a Raytheon missile factory.
Gunther and Maggie Buerman founded the new museum, with its eclectic collection focusing on the second half of the 20th century. The museum will feature separate exhibits for Mopars, Shelby Fords, world cars, fin-tail cars and Corvettes in a setting filled with midcentury modern furniture by Denmark’s Arne Jacobsen and America’s Charles and Ray Eames.
“We believe that the wonderfully talented industrial designers that flourished after World War II were not unlike the sculptors and artists of the Renaissance period,” said Gunther Buerman. “Their creative passion is reflected especially in automobile design of the 1950s through the ’70s and from 1990 to the present, which is the focus of our collection.”
The Newport Car Museum will feature several themes as part of its permanent collection, including fintail cars.
The museum has been designed to appeal to all age groups and will offer no fewer than six driving simulators, in addition to hosting regular cars and coffee and other classic events. Much (50,000 square feet), of the museum will be devoted to the permanent collection while the rest will feature a library, offices and indoor storage space for as many as 70 additional cars.
The Newport/Portsmouth area has traditionally been very friendly to classic cars: Until recently, the popular summer vacation island hosted the Newport Concours d’Elegance, with Fort Adams in the Fall welcoming hundreds of classic cars to Newport harbor. With the opening…