Friday, July 1, 2011
The Armacost Auto Museum in Grandview is a little-known Kansas City treasure
It’s easy to look at the beautiful coastal settings of Pebble Beach or Amelia Island and think nothing like that can happen here. But then we have the Art of the Car Concours as held last weekend at the Kansas City Art Institute.
It’s easy to look at Detroit and think we are not a mecca of auto manufacturing. But in fact, both Ford and General Motors build some of their most popular vehicles in the area.
And it’s easy to look at the great automotive museums and collections in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Detroit, and believe the great collectors do not live in the Midwest. But then you look at a place like the Armacost Museum in Grandview, Mo., and you start to understand that Kansas City’s automotive culture is as strong as anywhere in the country.
They barely have a suitable website, not much less a Worlds of Fun-scale advertising budget.
If you are lucky enough to score a tour, you’ll see what is likely one of the greatest collections of rare and vintage Studebakers in the country, as well as several other unusual and valuable cars.
Studebakers aren’t the only cars in the collection, however. There is an ultra-rare ’37 Detroit Electric, a ’31 Lincoln limousine that looks ready to drop off Clark Gable at the Academy Awards, and several Ferraris, including a ridiculously valuable F40.
Don Armacost, who is the president and CEO of Peterson Manufacturing. That company is another little known Kansas City surprise. Many of the lights and lenses you see on big rigs, construction signs, and other emergency applications came from Peterson. These products are manufactured in a 670,000-sq-ft facility right there in Grandview, and they employ more than 670 people.
We’re lucky to have some really sharp readers here at HMC, and one of them had a huge part in bringing us this story. Last weekend before the Art of the Car Concours, the Heartland Miata Club spearheaded a tour of the Armacost Museum. Our friend Dan McConnell was able to go on that tour, and brought back the nice photos that accompany this story. They’re fun to look at, but they definitely whet my appetite to want to go check it out myself when another chance comes along. I really appreciate Dan’s help with the pictures. I’m sure you’ll like them too.