Nebraska at 150: Kearney Classic Car Collection

Editor’s Note: Nebraska is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2017. As the state observes its sesquicentennial, we are revisiting some of the state’s attractions. Today, we take a look at the Classic Car Collection in Kearney…

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The Classic Car Collection in Kearney should be on everyone’s to-do list when traveling in central Nebraska.

We stopped in on a whim during our trip to western Nebraska. Lisa needed to get a stamp from the museum for the Nebraska Passport travel promotion program. The plan was to get the stamp and then head back on the road.

However…

We saw the first few cars in the lobby, including a 1965 Corvette Stingray, and decided to check it out. Man, was that a good idea!

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We spent a little more than an hour perusing the classic cars on display – from the early days of the automobile to the 1990s.

Any car enthusiast would be in high heaven at this place. I don’t claim to be a car expert or even close to an enthusiast. But, I do know if that a car interests me, I will check it out. It got to the point during our visit that I had to just admire a car and move on. I found myself wanting to read about every car. I fear we’d still be there in that case.

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How did Kearney become the home to a collection of more than 150 cars? Apparently, the owner of the collection was growing older and wanted to find a good home for the cars. His children were not interested in keeping the entire collection.

Bernie and Janice Taulborg were against selling off the collection piece by piece. So, they decided to donate the cars to a museum. Eventually, the Kearney Area Community Foundation became involved, according to an article in the Kearney Hub newspaper (www.kearneyhub.com).

The museum has 131 cars currently on display.

The cars are organized so the tour flows smoothly and makes sense. You don’t see the 1932 Austin American Coupe next to the 1992 Gazelle Roadster.

A blue Ford Thunderbird is located in the lobby. Nice car!

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The collection seems to be arranged chronologically, as well as by theme.

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As you enter the museum gallery, you can view the truly antique cars. It’s impressive that these cars have been so well-maintained over the years.

The museum has a vehicle that once belonged to Evel Kneivel, the daredevil motorcyclist.

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The museum uses great artwork as background for the vehicle displays.

Two vehicles of the same model sit next to each in a “before and after” display.

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Large-sized photographs of building fronts highlight vehicles of the era.

A gas station features a mechanic working on a car, while others are parked nearby.

Anyone remember going to the drive-in? “Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman” was on screen as we visited the museum’s drive-in.

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The ticket booth was removed from a local drive-in after being damaged in a storm.

I had to look around for Doc Brown and Marty McFly as we approached a DeLorean.

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The Classic Car Collection is located along next the Cabela’s store on Highway 30, AKA Lincoln Highway.

For more information on the collection, please visit the museum’s website at http://www.ccckearney.com/index.html.