There’s nothing within a 1,000 miles of Evansville quite like the Dream Car Museum. That’s according to Jason Ailstock, a finance director with Bennett Motors and the curator of the Dream Car Museum, located at 2400 N. Heidelbach Ave.
“There’s not an open museum to the public, for free, that has such a wide variety,” he says. “Nobody has put it on a scale like this before. The only place that rivals it is the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.”
Opened in October 2015, Ailstock says the idea for the museum started as a bit of joke between Larry Bennett, owner of Bennett Motors and Audubon Chrysler in Henderson, Kentucky, and his employees. After Bennett, who never owned a super car, purchased an orange Lamborghini Gallardo, a Rolls-Royce Ghost, and a red McLaren MP4-12C Ailstock says he and others persuaded the car dealer to open his own museum.
“And we were really just joking, but Larry was like ‘You really think we could start a museum, buddy?’” says Ailstock.
The response promoted Ailstock to start some research about car museums in the country. What began as a joke would flourish into the gallery that is open today, featuring some of the 70 cars in the collection ranging from American muscle cars, Corvettes, European super cars, and older models such as the Model A and T. The museum also displays neon signs and various car memorabilia from restored gas pumps to the hoods of early racing Ferraris.
“It’s been extremely popular. It’s kind of taken us aback a bit,” says Ailstock. “The collection sets itself apart. There’s so much stuff throughout.”
While the museum is free, a charity box made from a supercharger sits at the exit for patrons to donate to the charity of the month.
“We match all donations … each month we have a different charity that we give the money to,” says Ailstock. “We match all the money that is collected that month.”
Another aspect of the museum that sets it apart is the rotation of cars on display, says Ailstock. “Every three or four months, we’ll pretty much rotate our museum,” he says. “So if you’ve been here once, you come back three or four months later, it’ll be nothing like the same.”