Just before the new Route 66 Car Museum was finally opened to the public on June 15, Guy Mace, the owner of the Route 66 Car Museum, was seen picking up some trash in the parking lot.
“That’s how you know I’m an owner,” Mace said and then went into the 20,000 square foot facility at 634 W. College Street which was formerly a Turblex aeration-blower factory also owned by Mace. He choose to make into a classic car museum to store his private collection that includes around 70 classic cars and Route 66 Americana.
The museum opened at 10 a.m. Mace ask his daughter Dacy Mulcahy and the front-desk crew to take a picture of the first guest that enters the museum to document the moment. Elaine Graham Estes who is a Springfield local was the very first guest of the museum.
Estes and Mace both attend Rotary club meetings, and both are big fans of Route 66. Estes have always wanted to see Mace’s new Route 66 car museum after she heard it was going to be open to the public.
“I like collecting period things and vintage things,” Estes said, “and I always love seeing what Guy Mace is driving. I want to see his Rolls-Royce.”
Mace has some people maintaining the batteries of all cars so whenever he feels like it, he can drive them anytime. His brother, Jim Mace, acted as a tour guide on the opening day. He told some stories of some cars such as the one that has been used in a several weddings, the classy 1933 Auburn 12 Convertible, and his favourite 1967 Austin Healer that has a rare metallic golden beige finish. The museum has been gaining some popularity after word got out through different social media platforms.
The staff of local hotels are proud to be Route 66 fans and has constantly invited tourist to visit the museum ever before it was opened. A number of the previous guest have stayed at the Best Western Rail Haven which it is also a Route 66 historic place that has been around since 1938 and is at St. Louis Street and Glenstone Avenue.
“We’ve had people from Switzerland, Australia, France, England,” Mace said. “And we don’t even have any brochures out yet.” It does not even have a front sign yet, the only sign for the museum is a billboard located in Kansas Expressway and College Street that directs Route 66 travellers to the museum.
Ron Rogers and his sister, Linda Andrews who are both Springfield locals were also one of the first guest. “I had been waiting for this to open,” Rogers said. “I’m excited to see it.” He spent about 3 hours in the opening day. “I will be here more than once,” he said. “I came to scout it out for when I bring friends.”
Rogers check every car in the museum and conversed with other guest about each car such as how the 1951 Crosley was made, and looked back to the trips together with his family along the Mother Road in the 1960s.
Andrews, dress in a Route 66 shirt, said that she likes looking at vintage cars and Americana. She was the one who invited Rogers after she learned that it will be opening to the public.
“I’m pretty sure my dad took my mom out on their first date in a Model A,” she said. “Either that or a Model T. I’ll have to ask my brother.”
“If I had money, I’d have cars like this,” Andrews said.
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