MotorCities National Heritage Area
girl-american-car-cropped.jpg

2021

by Robert Tate, Automotive Historian & Researcher
Images courtesy of the Reggie Jackson Collection
Published 5.12.2021

Reggie Jackson poses with his 1969 Chevy Camaro CROPPED and RESIZEDReggie Jackson poses with his 1969 Chevy Camaro 

One of baseball’s all-time greats, Reggie Jackson is also one of America’s greatest classic and muscle car collectors. He is the owner of the popular Reggie Jackson Collection, which has attracted automotive enthusiasts from around the world.  The five-time World Series winner and Hall of Famer knows his automotive history and has a very impressive collection of vehicles on display, including Corvettes, Mustangs, and many Camaro models.

Reggie Jackson pictured with four of his prized vehicles RESIZEDReggie Jackson pictured with four of his prized vehicles

After his retirement in 1987 with a total of 2,548 hits, Jackson has become more focused on his passion of preserving automotive history. The collection spans from the 1930s to the 1980s and even includes many exotic models like Ferrari.

Jackson’s love of automobiles started when he was a child identifying the make and year of vehicles people were driving down the street. Today, many of those vehicles are now considered classics and are prized by collectors.

Reggie Jackson with a 1970s Dodge ChargerReggie Jackson with a 1970s Dodge Charger

I remember wondering when I was in high school during the 1970s whether muscle cars like the Plymouth Barracuda, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang Cobra would remain popular enough to become collector cars in the future. In the 1960s, the most powerful muscle cars ever made hit the streets, raceways and superhighways of America, and today, many of them are now part of our auto heritage chronicled in museum displays across the country.

Reggie Jackson stands between two Chevy Chevelles RESIZEDReggie Jackson stands between two Chevy Chevelles

Jackson’s collection consists of around 100 vehicles. In 1988, he had around 97 automobiles, but 35 were unfortunately destroyed in a fire. Many of those vehicles were later replaced. Jackson once said this about the history of automobile collecting: ”I think it has to do with cars being the American way of showing our success.”

Reggie Jackson stands with his automotive collection RESIZEDReggie Jackson stands with his automotive collection

It was Jackson’s father, Martinez Jackson, who instilled in him at an early age the importance of automobile heritage and how to repair vehicles. As a teenager, Jackson’s first automobile that he owned was a used 1951 Chevrolet, which he purchased from his brother for $5. Later he bought a 1951 Ford and then a 1955 Chevrolet.

Reggie Jackson Collection logoReggie Jackson Collection logo

Jackson started his career in professional baseball in 1967 and now owns an impressive automotive collection worth around $8 million. Many fans of “Mr. October,” as he became known, have clamored for him to create a museum to house his great collection of automobiles.

Reggie Jackson seated inside his car museum RESIZEDReggie Jackson seated inside his car museum

Over the years, Jackson has sold some of his cars to other collectors. In May 2018, a Mecum auction presented 18 great looking vehicles from his private collection. It was a great and unique opportunity for automotive enthusiasts from around the world to purchase one of Jackson’s treasures.

Reggie Jackson stands with one of his muscle cars RESIZEDReggie Jackson stands with one of his muscle cars.

In conclusion, Jackson has retired from baseball, however, his passion for classic and muscle car collecting is still extraordinarily strong. Jackson once said his early love of cars was strengthened as he helped his father keep the truck needed to operate the family’s dry cleaning and tailoring business going. Jackson will be remembered for his baseball career, along with his amazing collection of cars. 

Bibliography

Mack, Justin L. “‘Reggie Jackson is Auctioning Off Part of His Car Collection.” USA Today, May 12,2018.

Mecum Auctions. “The Reggie Jackson Collection.” Indy 2018/May 15-20.

Miler, Johnny. “Fire Guts Reggie Jackson’s Car Collection.” SF Gate, August 1, 2013.

by Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Photos Courtesy of Bob Sadler/MotorCities
Published 5.5.2021

Tom Sneva 1984 March Cosworth Indy Car RESIZEDTom Sneva's 1984 March Cosworth Indy Car

Auto racing is a big part of our country’s car culture, and the new Driven to Win: Racing in America presented by General Motors permanent exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation provides a comprehensive look at the sport and its many forms.

Henry Ford 1901 Sweepstakes racer RESIZEDHenry Ford's 1901 Sweepstakes racer

From the very beginning, the people who designed and engineered their own vehicles sought to push them to their limits – and compete against other like-minded developers of early cars. Among the first vehicles you see at the entrance of the 24,000 square-foot exhibit is Henry Ford’s 1901 Sweepstakes racer, which Ford drove to victory against Alexander Winton, providing a vital shot in the arm for his second automotive venture.

Louis Chevrolet race car 1910s RESIZEDLouis Chevrolet race car, 1910s

This exhibit is more than just cars – it also tells many compelling stories about the people who built and (to a greater extent) drove them. If you’re a fan of racing legends like Dan Gurney, A.J. Foyt, Wendell Scott, Lyn St. James, Bobby Unser, Barney Oldfield and many more, then you’ll enjoy Driven to Win and want to spend an hour or two perusing all the displays.

A look at the scope of the racing addressed in the Driven To Win exhibit RESIZEDA look at the scope of the racing addressed in the Driven To Win exhibit

I didn’t realize all the different forms of auto racing out there, and this exhibit covers all of them from the familiar to the lesser known. For those who are fans of stock car, sports car, Indy car and drag racing, you might be less aware of hill climbing and land speed racing, but each of these are given the full treatment, with examples of the vehicles involved and their drivers.

1965 Goldenrod which held the land speed record for wheeled vehicle until 1991 RESIZEDThe 1965 Goldenrod, which held the land speed record for wheeled vehicles until 1991

In addition to the cars and the stories on display, Driven to Win also features a great variety of experiential and interactive elements. Near the exhibit entrance is “Fueled by Passion,” which is billed by the museum folks as a “15-minute cinematic experience that gives an all-access look into the hopes and dreams, successes and failures of those who live and breathe racing every day.” The film delivers a loud, panoramic visual and sensory feast with interviews with drivers and crew members from the forms of racing chronicled in the exhibit.

Wendell Scott NASCAR 1966 Ford Galaxy RESIZEDWendell Scott's 1966 Ford Galaxy. Scott was the first full-time African American driver on the NASCAR circuit.

Of course, any modern exhibit on auto racing would not be complete without the chance to get behind the wheel and compete yourself, right? Visitors have that opportunity with the In the Driver’s Seat Simulators, where for an additional fee, you can take a 15-minute virtual ride that immerses you in qualifying and wheel-to-wheel racing.

Trevor Bayne 2011 Ford Fusion youngest Daytona 500 winner RESIZEDTrevor Bayne's 2011 Ford Fusion. He was youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 that year.

The Sports Car Performance Center provides background on the exciting world of races like the 24 Hours of LeMans, recently immortalized in the film “Ford Vs. Ferrari.” You can see the design process of these high-performance machines from clay model to the actual 2016 Ford GT that won its class in the 24-hour race in France five years ago.

2016 Ford GT that won its class at the 24 Hours of LeMans RESIZEDThe 2016 Ford GT that won its class at the 24 Hours of LeMans.

Race fans will certainly not be disappointed in the Driven to Win exhibit, and I think general auto enthusiasts will also find many items of interest.

More information on the exhibit is available at www.thehenryford.org.

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Chrysler Archives
Published 4.28.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Ford Motor Company Archives, Shelby.com, Barrett Jackson and the Robert Tate Collection
Published 4.21.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Detroit News, Classic Car News and Classic Autos
Published 4.14.2021

by Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Published 4.7.2021

by Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Images Courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection, the Automotive Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress
Published 3.24.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Lyn St. James, RacingNation.com, and the Women’s Sports Foundation
Published 3.17.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the GM Media Archives and the REO Truck Archives
Published 3.10.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Robert Tate Collection
Published: 3.3.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of GM Media Archives, Travis Lipinski, Tom Sturm
Published 2.24.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection
Posted: 02.17.2021

EDITOR’S NOTE: As part of MotorCities’ observance of Black History Month, we are revisiting this Story of the Week from August 10, 2016.

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of RoadTrack.com, Mrs. Mildred Overton, Todd Gould, Lafayette (Indiana) Journal and Courier
Published 2.10.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Published 2.3.2021

EDITOR’S NOTE: As part of MotorCities’ observance of Black History Month, we are revisiting this Story of the Week from February 13, 2017. 

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Studebaker National Museum/Studebaker Archives
Published 1.27.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of General Motors Media Archives/Jill Reger - 1950 Oldsmobile emblem
Published 1.20.2021

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 1.13.2021

By Bob Sadler, MotorCities Communications Manager
Photos Courtesy of the Ypsilanti Auto Heritage Museum
Published 1.6.2021