Vintage Car Museum Zooms into Chesterfield

Stahl's Automotive Foundation Museum is slated to open next week at its new location near 26 Mile and Gratiot.

Stahl's Automotive Foundation moved its classic car collection from St. Clair Shores to a new facility in Chesterfield Township.

Museum director Bill Sherwood said he plans to open doors June 7 at 56156 North Bay Dr. in the 26 Mile and Gratiot area. The museum hours are 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays and will be open for tours by appointment and to host events by groups like the Model-A Club, Model-T Club and the Buick Club.

The new facility will be home to nearly 70 of the foundation’s 86 vintage cruisers. The remaining cars will stay in one of the foundation’s three buildings in St. Clair Shores. The other two buildings will be vacated.

The vehicles that are safe to drive will be driven to the new building; the ones that can’t will be towed to the Chesterfield facility.

Sherwood said the Chesterfield Township building provides more space to display the foundation’s cars and vintage car-related memorabilia.

“We’re going to carry on with what we did (at the 9 Mile and I-94 area location in St. Clair Shores)," he said. “It’s a place that’s open to the public and we’re very happy to have people come in.”

A new Route 66 theme will be represented in the museum for the next two years, during which the foundation will be looking for additional items that pertain to the well-known highway, Sherwood said. The foundation has collected original Route 66 signs from various states that the road ran though.

Plenty of vintage rides, gas pumps and antique signs will soon fill the museum.

Owner Ted Stahl has been collecting the items for nearly 20 years, according to Sherwood, who has been working with Stahl since 1997. Stahl is a local businessman from Grosse Pointe. He is founder and executive chairman of GroupeSTAHL, an international organization specializing in heat-print and digital technologies.

The collection includes many Depression-era cars, each with an interesting history.

The museum is home to a 1940 Packard once owned by S.S. Kresge, founder of Kmart.

“His wife kept it until 1986 or '87; she then sold it to Fox Hill in Pennsylvania, and they actually used it as a working car up until the time when we got it in 2000,” Sherwood said about the Packard.

The museum will also have a variety of trucks on display.

“We have the REO Speed Wagon. We have its brother, which is a Mack Junior, and we have a Mercury Truck, which was only made in Canada,” Sherwood noted. “When you look at it you see a lot of differences in it, how the Canadians made it different.”

With the move, museum patrons will no longer be able to sit inside the vehicles or get too close to them, in an effort to avoid damage. There is currently no fee to visit the museum, but Sherwood said a fee might be imposed in the future to help cover operational fees for the museum.

“It’s amazing when people see these cars, they’re just totally excited about them,” Sherwood added. “They’re a part of our history.”

View New Baltimore-Chesterfield Patch's photo gallery of the museum displays here.

Find out more about Stahl’s Automotive Museum or set up a tour: stahlsauto.com or 586-749-1078.

Matthew Garcia June 05, 2011 at 07:32 PM
This is great! Now people won't have to travel so far to see great automobiles. Good story and I'm glad this is coming to Chesterfield Township.


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