Roadsters & Batmobiles at Tucson Auto Museum

December 7, 2022

Have you ever had to leave everything you have behind to start a new life in a new city? You may feel exhilarated or filled with bittersweet joy, but in the blink of an eye, everything you once knew had to be left hundreds of miles away. Alongside moving to Tucson, I was petrified of living alone, and moving to a big town such as Tucson wasn’t an easy transition for me. Alongside moving here, I discovered the Tucson Auto Museum. What’s particularly special about this antique auto museum is its ability to make you feel at home. The excitement I feel from walking into the Tucson Auto Museum is similar to walking into my backyard at home. As I open the double doors to my backyard entering the scorching hot sun, I can feel my time slip out of the grasp of my hands as I start inspecting and remodeling every vehicle in close proximity to me.

For as long as I could remember, I have always had a passion for cars. That is why I never hesitate to go to local events or museums and admire each vehicle. For as long as I could remember, my grandfather would award me with doing good in school by helping me work on a vehicle he gave. Whilst, fueling my love for these gorgeous hunks of metal, he allowed me to create an escape from reality for myself. From a young age, I was exposed to car meets and I got to build them from scratch. Many People see cars as just transportation, a way to get from point A to point B. Cars can be more than just a box with some wheels and a method to generate motion: they can be dream machines. Vehicles could be used to transport their drivers to a state of mind where they merge with the metal and become something larger than life itself.

What is the Tucson Auto Museum?

I first experienced the Tucson Auto Museum in 2022. Since they opened again in October of 2022, I am happy to say that time was on my side with this particular assignment. Open from Thursday to Saturday, the museum intends to close at the End of April. It is open from 10 am-2 pm, but that is unquestionably enough time for you to create a great memory in this amazing establishment. Within this museum, I had the opportunity to witness 65-75 beautiful vintage vehicles. All “alive” and well, these vehicles are used to win shows and display to the general public.

I had the opportunity to speak with the owner of one of the social media accounts. With all respect, I asked why they wanted to create an automobile museum for the general public. They responded with, “As kids on long road trips with our family, we would start out with a checklist of carmakers, and the first one to see at least one of each type of car would win… Back then, American cars were the undisputed Kings of the Road.” With that being said, this museum was created as a living relic to commemorate the past. I deeply appreciate their ongoing will to share the desired interest in vintage vehicles by showcasing obsolete, iconic, and sporty vehicles. Each individual vehicle is a sight to see. I recommend you see which vehicle you feel a connection to!

So much to see and appreciate

There’s a car bumper embedded in the wall on the perimeter of the building by the double glassed doors.  Once opening the doors, you are greeted by friendly employees. Once coming into the building, you could also see the number of awards won by this business. Not knowing what vehicles awaited me, these awards aroused my suspicion. Once purchasing my ticket to enter the facility, I noticed a wide array of clothing directly behind the employee’s desk. With plenty of clothing racks to look at we decided to come back and look at the clothes later, so we could get straight to the unique and antique vehicles awaiting us behind a single door.

Once opening the door my friends and I stood frozen at the sight of so many vehicles. As a car enthusiast, what was in front of us was beyond comprehension. It was as if time stopped for just a split second before we rushed toward the many rows of vehicles. What awaited us looked as if it came out of a Grand Theft Auto 10-car garage.  As we gazed upon these vehicles, we witnessed a wide array of vehicles such as the 1913 ford model T roadster, the 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1, and a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. All of these are some of my favorite vehicles created by mankind. I stood at the end of a row, soaking in the new car smell and visualizing me and my grandfather building cars just like these. It brought me a sense of ease and contentment and the sight of the vehicle’s designs evoked just that.

As I continued to stride down the long walkway between the vehicles, trying to identify some of the vehicles I’d never seen before, I witnessed a vintage Shell pump. Ultimately, this gas can allowed my imagination to come to play. Instantly, I felt as if I was in a black-and-white vintage movie or living in the early 60s. They were, in fact, well preserved and beautiful sight to see.

If you like DC comics and movies…

While walking through the roles of shiny and well-preserved vehicles, I found myself sad as there seemed to be no cars left to admire. Eager to take a quick look at each vehicle again, me and my friends decided to take a quick look at some of the vehicle’s beautiful leather interiors. While taking pictures and arguing over which car was the best, we realized we overlooked something big: A back room. The most astonishing vehicles of the Tucson Auto Museum are held at the back of the museum. Some of which I’ve never seen in 18 long years on this earth.

These vehicles range from the shiniest of yellows to the darkest of blacks, but they weren’t the main attraction of the immense back room.

Just to the right, there were 3 vehicles that were held in the worldwide-known film, Batman. First, The Batmobile from the 1966–1968 live-action television show had shiny black paint with red accents. The roof of This vehicle seemed to be made of complete glass. Next was a modern-day-like Batmobile and another automobile used by Batman that seemed to be a boatmobile. Both vehicles were coated in shiny black paint, which allowed you to almost see your reflection from afar. Alongside these vehicles stood a life-sized model of Michael Keaton (Batman), Jack Napier (Joker), and Catwoman. It was a sight for sore eyes!

My takes on Tucson Auto Museum

Tucson Auto Museum is an amazing museum. It’s the only museum I’ve been to that has been able to enhance my knowledge of vehicles, while creating a video game-like auto shop environment. Any car aficionado would love the museum due to its ability to encapsulate such a beautiful time when vehicles were truly admired and diverse. As I got to walk around with a long-time friend, our legs raced like two racecars as there was so much to see within the museum. While leaving, it was as if the car smiled at you, beckoning you to take it home. I highly recommend going to this museum when you have more than an hour to commemorate these beautiful hunks of eye candy. If you love attractive automobiles, friendly staff, and a good time, this is the place for you.

If you’re the sort of aficionado that fits into the vehicle category, you’ll likely pay a visit to Tucson Auto Museum, located in Tucson at 990 S Cherry Ave for the small price of 10$.


Darick Gipson Jr. is a freshman at the University of Arizona planning to major in mechanical engineering.