Around Town

History Revs Up at the Newport Car Museum

Classic muscle cars and mid-century art bring a golden age of automotive design to Portsmouth

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There’s just something about a classic car. The sound of a revving engine, the sleek lines – they’re what the phrase “they don’t make ’em like they used to” is about. Modern cars can’t hold a candle to a ’59 Cadillac convertible or a ’65 Mustang. These classics turn heads on the road, and you can find them and more at the Newport Car Museum in Portsmouth.

Housed in an old missile manufacturing plant (oddly fitting for a fleet of cars that rolled off the assembly line during the height of the Cold War and the Space Race) are 50 cars spanning six decades. Fin cars (think big, snazzy Cadillacs and Buicks), Corvettes, Ford Shelbys and some international models, all from the personal collection of co-founder Gunther Buerman, are on display to be appreciated as much for their artistic merits as for their horsepower. A selection of newer cars are included as well, allowing guests to track the evolution of automotive design and trends, as are pieces of mid-century art, which perfectly complement all of the mid-century muscle under the hoods. “I cannot really pick any car as a favorite,” says Gunther. “It’s like asking me which of my three children is my favorite. Each car was selected, hunted and purchased for a particular reason and I believe they all are works of kinetic art.”