Taking a Spin Around the Texas Museum of Automotive History Parked at Fair Park

stephenpage1.jpg
Danny Fulgencio
Stephen Page surveys his Texas Museum of Automotive History at Fair Park.
More than a year ago we mentioned that Fair Park would be getting a new attraction: the Texas Museum of Automotive History, which would be parked in Grand Place -- the very site where the Ford Motor Co. had its exhibit during the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. But aside from a grand-opening party-slash-fundraiser a few months back, there's been little talk about it since. Turns out, it's been open for a couple of months; as chairman and CEO Stephen Page puts it, the museum remains "one of the city's best-kept secrets." Which is why Danny Fulgencio and I were invited for a tour earlier this week.

Danny slide show is here; I highly recommend his tour of some 80 cars presently parked in the venue. Amazingly, though, the State Fair of Texas is forcing Page to park the classic cars -- on loan from 40 collectors -- elsewhere during the fair. (The cars will move over the Museum of Nature & Science space when it decamps for the new Perot Museum in two years.) Apparently, Errol McKoy needs the space to sell Ginsu knives.

Aside from the cars, Page has built a small cinema inside the theater, where John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix plays on a double bill. There's also a "restoration factory," which Page says will accommodate somewhere between 200 to 400 DISD students interested in restoring older cars while learning how to repair newer ones ("They're all computers," as Page puts it). He's already formed a partnership with the W. H. Adamson High School, whose students helped refurbish the building once used for flea markets during the off-season.

And for those wondering why Fair Park's an appropriate venue for a car museum: As Page and city officials point out, the first car race in Texas was held at Fair Park's old horse-racing track in 1901. And there was that Grand Prix back in '84, held on the hottest day ever.

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11 comments
Leisa Dreps
Leisa Dreps

It is entertainment and education! Seeing a group of classic cars can give you an insight of how car trends were made and changed as they got developed. Of course, it's such a sweet bonus that the cars themselves look very beautiful.

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

Another good reason for the museum to be located there is that the Dallas Ford Plant was a stone's throw away from Fair Park. Marvin Runyon (Woodrow '42) grew up next to the plant, joined the company and worked his way up to Ford vice president of assembly and operations. After 37 years with Ford, Runyon retired in 1980 and became the chief executive of Nissan's North American operations and he later served as U.S. Postmaster General.

Of course, Carroll Shelby (Woodrow '40) also grew up nearby..

G_David
G_David

It is disappointing that they'll be forced to move during the fair, just so they can fill yet another building/tent full of what I always call Crap-O-Rama. Aren't there more than enough places out there that sell Saladmasters, Miracle Mops and hot tubs? What a huge pain in the rear.

Robert
Robert

Maybe a vintage sign from S&W auto parts would liven up the museum with some Dallas history. Maybe not.

TMAH
TMAH

Bring the sign and we will be more then happy to ad it to the museum

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

That, right there, is the best idea ever. You are now, officially, my new favorite "Robert."

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

Not a very interesting collection. Pedestrian even. (sorry. had to)

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

Cars are art. Your idea of what is cool may be totally different than someone else.

Randy
Randy

Stephen Page is a true gentleman. I first met him at various British car events in Dallas and later enjoyed his company when we were both doing a little vintage auto racing. I wish him and the museum all the best. I'll need to stop in and say hello.

Downtowner
Downtowner

Looks like an amazing collection! Sucks that they have to move for the State Fair, but glad they'll have a permanent space in the Nature & Science Museum. Fair Park needs to keep the momentum going, and this should help in a big way.

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