Review: Savoy Automobile Museum — The New Home For Amazing Vintage Vehicles
Classic cars and fine legendary machines are on display here.
A city with a population of greater than 23,000 residents which is located approximately 42 miles from Atlanta in northwestern Georgia now literally lives up to its name of CARtersville, as a museum for vintage vehicles and classic cars called Savoy Automobile Museum had opened its doors to the public for the first time on Wednesday, December 8, 2021.
Review: Savoy Automobile Museum — The New Home For Amazing Vintage Vehicles
Savoy Automobile Museum sits on a campus of 37 acres of land which consists of three buildings: the museum itself, which encompasses approximately 65,000 square feet with four exhibition galleries; the Vehicle Storage Building; and the outdoor Pavilion — which is coming soon — and Showgrounds. The lawn offers plenty of space for car shows, concerts, cruise-ins, swap meets, car club gatherings, and many more activities which are friendly for the entire family.
Outside the main entrance to the museum is a 1931 Ford Model A car which appears to be in mint condition. My immediate first thought was to look at it from afar and maybe peek inside through the open windows of the vehicle…
…but a sign next to this classic car encourages visitors to “hop in and take a photo” and “just don’t forget to tag us” with “@SavoyMuseum” and “#SavoyMuseum”; and that the car was a gift of Raymond F. King — so I tried out carefully sitting in both the front seat and the rear seat of this vintage vehicle while imagining what riding in one might have been like back in the 1930s. The experience reminded me of the time when the late Joe Maknauskas — who was the aircraft and facility manager at what was then called the Delta Heritage Museum — invited me to sit inside of a restored 1931 Travel Air S-6000-B at the Delta Flight Museum at the world headquarters of Delta Air Lines.
Inside the Museum
After going though the doors of the main entrance, the galleries are ahead, with the ticket desk and gift shop on the right and the Savoy Café — which is not included in the photograph above — on the left.
The gift shop is located behind the ticket counter and contains shirts, embroidered caps, souvenir cups, and even a limited selection of products to keep your vehicle looking good. Paid admission to the museum is not required to visit the gift shop. Although it is not available at the moment, you will also be able to purchase items from the gift shop here.
Gallery D is the Savoy Collection Gallery, which is the first gallery that visitors see; and it contains vehicles from the permanent collection of the Savoy Automobile Museum. This gallery has two wide and open entrances.
Since its inception, Savoy Automobile Museum has received gifted automobiles and also purchased automobiles to be part of the permanent collection of the museum — such as a 1960 Cadillac 62 Series Convertible, a 1932 Rolls Royce 20/25, and a 1954 Kaiser Darrin, Series 161 Roadster.
The Savoy Collection is a semi-permanent gallery with occasional rotations of vehicles — such as a 1959 Ford Edsel Corsair Convertible, a 1959 AMC Nash Metropolitan, and a 1975 AMC Pacer X.
Enjoy previewing vehicles that the Savoy Automobile Museum finds interesting and iconic — such as a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, and a 1932 Buick Model 67.
Gallery A included vintage vehicles from the Art Deco era. Art Deco was a movement that was focused on the future, modernizing industrial innovations by embracing a style of elegance and sophistication. Impacting nearly every visual medium — including painting, architecture, appliances, and automobiles — the Art Deco period occurred mainly between World War I and World War II. The fluidity and grace of Art Deco complimented the aerodynamic structure of automobiles, typically resulting in two-door coupes and roadsters with long, exaggerated hoods, chrome detailing, round headlights and small, rounded trunks that reflect the glamour and luxury of this iconic movement. One example of a vehicle from the Art Deco era is the the 1937 Chrysler Imperial C-15 LeBaron Town Car, which Walter Percy Chrysler gifted to his wife.
The state-of-the-art Presentation Theatre includes an impressive 18 foot x 31 foot video wall and built-in turntable stage. The theatre is potentially an ideal setting for such events as lectures, conferences, unveilings for vehicles, automobile auctions, photography shoots, and special programs. General museum admission might not include entrance into the theatre, as it is for special museum programs and events only.
The theatre was closed on the day when I visited; so I did not have access to it and therefore could not photograph it.
However, four cars — which are known as “woodies”, thanks to the wood paneling which they sported — were on display in Gallery B outside of the theatre. This included the 1948 Packard Standard Eight Station Sedan on the front left in the photograph above; and the 1946 Mercury Station Wagon on the right in the rear.
Cars which were adorned with wood were typically station wagons which were available from the 1930s well into the 1980s. They generally transitioned from real wood — which was heavy and likely impacted fuel economy, which was a significant issue in the 1970s — to lighter materials that were used to evoke real wood.
Just look at the detail of the incredible smooth rounded wood finish and glimmering chrome of this 1948 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan, which was was furnished by Pekin Wood Products, Incorporated of Helena in Arkansas.
With its polished white ash wood paneling and mahogany inserts, the stylish 1948 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan is remembered as the pinnacle of postwar glamour.
In Gallery C, visitors can take a journey across three centuries through the things that distinguish the brand of tires known as Pirelli the most: international scale, the factories, presence in sport and motorsport, constant search for innovation, and cutting-edge technology.
The FrontRunners exhibit in the Great Hall of the museum showcases victory-claiming, record-breaking, front-engine Indy 500 roadsters which were driven — including a 2022 Trans Am Camaro which was part of the American Racing Collection but is no longer on display.
To be considered for participation in the iconic Indianapolis 500-Mile Race held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Roadsters had to maintain certain engineering specifications and design elements — including a single-seat, open-cockpit.
Although most racers used Offenhauser engines, some cars on display were powered by Cummins Diesel, Novi V8, and Chrysler Hemi V8s. The FrontRunners vehicles featured in this exhibit include cars designed by Frank Kurtis, A.J. Watson, and Lujie Lesovsky.
These cars were developed during the 1950s and 1960s — which was considered the Golden Age of the Indy 500 — and were driven by such race car drivers as A.J. Foyt and Bobby Unser.
Toy Vehicles On Display, Piece of Finish Line, and Savoy Café
In addition to the real vehicles in the museum, toy vehicles — ranging from small collectible cars to wagons which children could drive — are on display behind glass in the Great Hall outside of the entrance to Gallery C.
The detail of some of the toy cars is amazing — with doors and hoods that can open; and interiors which replicate those in the real versions of these vehicles. At that moment, I actually wanted to channel my inner child and play with them.
By the windows near the main entrance to the museum in a glass case was once a part of the start and finish line at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This piece of the asphalt — which is 18 inches by 24 inches — was donated by Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Hungry and thirsty visitors can eat and drink in the Savoy Café, which offers a limited number of food and beverage items to tide over an appetite until the next meal. You do not need to pay admission into the museum to visit the Savoy Café.
Namesake of Savoy Automobile Museum
The name of the museum itself has a serendipitous story, as once the decision to build an automobile museum became official, a unique and meaningful name for the museum was needed — but initial suggestions did not produce a clear winner.
As the process of clearing the land began, the answer automatically became clear when the rusty remains of a 1954 Plymouth Savoy car were uncovered in the middle of the wooded site.
Taking this as an omen, Savoy Automobile Museum was born. The namesake Savoy has been preserved and returned to tell its story as part of the museum landscape.
This experience simply proves that every car has a story to tell.
Final Boarding Call
If you find yourself in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area and are an enthusiast of enthusiast or connoisseur of classic cars and vintage vehicles, consider taking the drive to Savoy Automobile Museum, where you can easily spend the entire day.
I found my visit to the Savoy Automobile Museum to exceed my expectations, as being around these classic cars in person was an amazing experience which I truly enjoyed — even though I do not consider myself an enthusiast or connoisseur of classic cars and vintage vehicles…
…but my late father — may he rest in peace — would have absolutely spent hours in this museum, as he truly appreciated automobiles.
This one is for you, Dad.
Savoy Automobile Museum is located at the intersection of North Tennessee Street and Canton Highway, which is where United States Highway 411, Georgia State Highway 20, and Georgia State Highway 61 meet — approximately one half of one mile north of United States Highway 41 and Georgia State Highway 3; and almost three miles west of exit 290 off of Interstate 75.
Expect to spend at least one hour driving almost 57 miles to the museum from the international airport which serves the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.
Savoy Automobile Museum
3 Savoy Lane
Cartersville, Georgia 30120
E-mail address: email@example.com
Operating hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 in the morning through 5:00 in the afternoon.
General Admission is $15.00 for people 13 years of age and older.
Admission for children between three years of age and 12 years of age is $5.00.
Complimentary admission is available for:
Children two years of age and younger
Active members of the military with official identification