The nation's newest automobile museum is slated for Jacksonville, Florida - and we here at E3 Spark Plugs couldn't be more excited. That's because it's just a stone's throw from our Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters.
Slated for opening in January, the Jacksonville Automotive Museum will be housed at the Regency Mall in an expansive space that formerly was a Montgomery Ward. It will feature more than 100 classic and modern cars and motorcycles, a 200-seat auditorium, an art gallery and four iRacing simulators lining a side wall in a simulated pit lane, Executive Director Bruce Marble told reporters recently. Planned events and programs include car shows, after-hours concerts and automotive restoration education courses.
Locals recently spotted workers maneuvering a gorgeous Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Lotus Esprit around a 43,000-square-foot display area, though it's unclear whether those particular rides are part of the exhibit or simply were lent to check spacing.
One thing is for sure - Jacksonville, also called the River City - is ripe for a museum of this kind.
"There is a mecca of [automotive] things around here," said a major donor who asked to remain anonymous. "But there is a huge amount of car collectors in the area who just store their cars and nobody gets to see them. We want to make sure that they get to see them. This is also a location where auto dealers can show off some of their new cars."
Officials and local tourists experts predict the museum will attract upward of 10,000 visitors each year, eyeing displays on loan from collectors from throughout Northeast Florida and nationwide.
From all of us here at E3 Spark Plugs, welcome to the River City, Jacksonville Automotive Museum!