Museum Modeled After Detroit Lincoln Dealership to Open Saturday

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A re-creation of the former P.J. Platte Lincoln dealership — built in the early 1920s at 3700 Jefferson Ave. in Detroit — will open Saturday on the campus of the Gilmore Car Museum, located northwest of Battle Creek in Hickory Corners.

To kick things off, the Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum will display 20 vehicles, including a one-off 1939 Lincoln K convertible sedan built by LeBaron-Briggs for a North American tour by the King and Queen of England; an unrestored, original 1955 Continental Mark II; and a 1928 Lincoln Judkins Berline.

“What’s nice about Lincoln is that it’s still building vehicles,” says Jay Follis, spokesman for the Gilmore Car Museum. “They’ve got a future that we don’t even know of yet, so in 10 years, we could be displaying the 2014 models here.”

Also on view will be the “Lincoln Stones,” large engraved limestone panels that were originally located above the main entrance of the Lincoln Administration building at Warren and Livernois avenues on Detroit’s west side. The company, founded by Henry Leland in 1917, at first built Liberty engines for World War I fighter planes. Following the end of the war, the company switched production to luxury vehicles, but sales were slow and the company was sold to Henry and Edsel Ford in 1922.

While the Gilmore Car Museum will provide the day-to-day maintenance of the facility, the Lincoln Motor Car Foundation — established in 1999 by members of various national Lincoln clubs and retired Ford Motor Co. executives — owns and administers the Lincoln museum’s building and collections.

“The Gilmore has instituted a unique program to enhance its own extensive automotive collection by inviting selected organizations to share our campus and infrastructure,” says Michael Spezia, the museum’s executive director. Most recently, the partnership program has resulted in the opening of Model A Ford Museum as well as the opening of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club Museum and Research Center in September.

The Gilmore Museum — which opened in 1966 and displays more than 300 vehicles on its 90-acre campus — hosts more than 80,000 visitors each year, and museum officials expect that number to increase with the addition of the Lincoln facility, Follis says.

The Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum will host its grand opening event on Saturday. Admission is $10 for adults and seniors; children younger than 11 are free. For more information, visit gilmorecarmuseum.org or call 269-671-5089.

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