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The Oregon Trail

Though it’s a bit out of the way (20 miles or so south of US-20 via the I-69 freeway), lovers of vintage American cars will want to make the effort to visit the elegant Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Automobile Museum (1600 S. Wayne St., 260/925-1444, daily, $12.50), in a lovely art deco showroom in the town of Auburn. Considered by most aficionados the finest, most innovative, and most all-around gorgeous automobiles ever produced in America, these instant classics were the brainchild of Auburn industrialist Errett Cord. During the 1920s and 1930s, Cord’s company designed and produced the covetable cruisers right here in Indiana—Auburns and the front-wheel-drive Cords were produced in Auburn, while the “Dusies” were made in Indianapolis—and they’re now on display inside the original showroom, built in 1930 and immaculately preserved.

The collection here, valued at some $600 million, includes beautifully restored examples of all these classic makes, plus representatives of other classic roadsters—Packards, Cadillacs, even a Rolls-Royce or two—numbering more than 120 altogether, and making this one of the top auto museums in the world. It also hosts one of the country’s most popular classic car festivals, every Labor Day weekend.

Another lost American industry is remembered near Auburn in Kendallville, along US-6: the Mid-America Windmill Museum (260/347-2334, Tues.-Sun. Apr.-Nov., $5), where 40 acres of grounds display over 52 whirring Aermotors, Flint & Wallings, Elgins, and more—the largest collection in the country.

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