Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevin Orr recently announced that all of the city’s assets, including things like parks and museums, could potentially be on the auction block to pay off the financially insolvent municipality’s creditors. What got everyone’s attention in Orr’s remarks at first was the potential of selling off all or part of the the billion dollar plus collection of art at the city owned Detroit Institute of Arts. Yesterday’s Detroit News ran a front page story on how smaller museums and institutions that the city owns could also risk losing their collections. Illustrating the story on the front page was a large photo of the Mustang II concept from 1963, arguably the first real Mustang, that’s part of the Detroit Historical Museum’s collection of about six dozen historically significant and potentially valuable automobiles. A number of them would undoubtedly sell for over a million dollars each.
Following Orr’s comments about the DIA, the DetNews wasn’t the only publication that covered the possibility that the Historical Museum’s cars could be sold. The collection include vehicles like that first Mustang, the Dodge brothers’ personal Dodge cars donated to the museum by their widows, one of eight existing Chrysler Turbine cars, Packard show cars, and Helen Newberry Joy’s Detroit Electric car (her husband Henry ran Packard, making it America’s most prestigious car brand). A day before the DetNews story ran, Justin Hyde at Yahoo! Autos’ Motoramic covered it on Thursday, also using a photo of the Mustang II concept.
The potential sale of the Detroit Historical Museum’s collection of cars is all old news at Cars In Depth. When the possibility of the DIA collection being sold by a possible Emergency Manager was first raised early last year, we posted on the potential sale of the Historical Museum’s car collection here at Cars In Depth on February 20, 2012, and, yes, we did have photos of the Mustang II concept, which coincidentally was on display at the Detroit Autorama just a week later. Hemmings also explored the potential sale of the Detroit Historical Museum’s car collection more than a year ago, citing our post.