The Newport Car Museum, which has wowed tens of thousands of visitors, elicited hundreds of five-star reviews and earned readers’ and editors’ choice awards from USA Today and Yankee Magazine since it opened a year ago June in Portsmouth, is adding new cars, new displays, a new gallery and a new gift shop. The enhancements will be completed by Saturday, June 9, and those planning trips to the museum should note that it will be closed the week prior to this – from Monday, June 4 through Friday, June 8 – for the final phase of construction and move-in.
The new gallery, named AMERICAN MUSCLE “THEN AND NOW”, will showcase astonishing new cars added to the museum’s private collection. They include a 1965 Mustang convertible, 1964 GTO, 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger, 1961 Chevy Impala SS 409 convertible, two 1969 Camaro Z/28s, and a 2019 Camaro ZL/1. The addition will bring the total number of galleries in the museum to six and the total number of cars to 70+ in an exhibit area that covers 70,000 square feet.
Added to the FORD/SHELBY gallery will be the 1965 Ford GT40 recreation that was used in the famous train heist scene from The Fast and the Furious movie (2011). It will be accompanied by a film clip of the scene and an original mural painted by renowned artist David Lloyd Glover. (Glover also was commissioned for the Marilyn Monroe/Joe Dimaggio mural that has become an iconic centerpiece in the museum’s FIN CAR gallery. The GT40 will be displayed in the vicinity of the 1965 Ford Shelby 427 SC that is the rarest car in the museum’s collection.
The CORVETTE gallery, which features Corvettes from every generation (C-1 through C-7), will get a visual boost from two 2019 Corvette ZR1s from the C-7 era: one a yellow coupe and one a white convertible.
The WORLD CARS gallery, which features exquisite Porsches, Jaguars, Mercedes Benz, BMWs and an Acura NSX, will have added to its mix a 2015 Porsche 918, 2014 BMW i8, and 1957 BMW Isetta, while the FIN CARS will expand a walk down memory lane with a newly acquired 1954 Kaiser Darrin and 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible. These join some of the museum’s more popular classics: the 1954 Buick Skylark, the 1959 Cadillac Series 62 and the 1957 Desoto Adventurer Convertible.
A 2019 Dodge Demon will find its new home with the Dodge Vipers, Hellcat, Hemi ’Cuda and Superbird in the MOPAR gallery. It has the highest horsepower (840) of any production car in the world, and its feisty personality will be demonstrated in the museum’s parking lot on occasion throughout the summer.
All six galleries are housed in a 114,000 square foot building that has been painted red (in keeping with the museum’s red and black motif) and was once used for missile manufacturing by the Raytheon Company, a major U.S. defense contractor located next door. The museum’s 17-acre grounds include parking for 500+ cars. This is a rare commodity for a car museum and one embraced with great enthusiasm by car clubs that drive to Portsmouth specifically to enjoy the museum’s signature “Corral and Coffee” events.