Taking a Spin Around the Texas Museum of Automotive History Parked 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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