Western Trips

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Route 66 Vintage Car Museum / Santa Rosa New Mexico

There's more than one interesting vintage and classic car museum along the old Route 66 and one with a fascinating large collection is the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa New Mexico. Santa Rosa is on Interstate 40 between Amarillo and Albuquerque. Santa Rosa is one of those towns that the Interstate goes directly past yet the main street through town is a part of the original Route 66.

A Fascinating Car Museum

vintage dodge coupe
1938 Dodge Coupe
On your next western road trip through this part of the country, exit Interstate 40 at Santa Rosa, drive through the main town area of restaurants, motels and shops and you'll be treated to a great display of vintage  cars that have marvelously restored.

 I have found some of these vintage car collections so interesting and well displayed that you'll enjoy the tour even if you're not a classic car buff. It's just a lot of fun taking a break from the highway and viewing some of these classic car designs. The automobile was what Route 66 was all about, so what better place for classic and vintage auto museums than on the old "Mother Road".

The 1938 Dodge Coupe shown at left was built by what was then called Dodge Brothers. The Dodge Brothers, Horace and John, started in business in 1900 as a supplier to the Detroit automakers. In 1915, the Dodge brothers built their first complete automobile and put out some great classics.While some may refer to photos like the ones in this article as pictures of old cars, many of these cars are here because people took the time and effort in restoring them and  we're now able to see what they looked like in their glory days.

Santa Rosa New Mexico

Santa Rosa New Mexico itself is quite an interesting stop along the old Route 66. The town was originally settled by the Spanish. Coronado during his famous expedition in the 1500's encamped along the Pecos River just about 10 miles south of the town. It is there where the historic landmark of "Coronado's Bridge" can be found in the small village of Puerta de Luna.

Santa Rosa's prominence over this smaller but older village was really the result of the railroad. Since the railroad wasn't built through Puerto de Luna, the growth occurred in Santa Rosa. While today's modern Interstate 40 whisks one past many of these historic towns, the tourist economy still remains very important just like it did during Route 66's heyday. You'll even see some of the old original diners.

1931 auburn car
1931 Auburn
The Route 66 Auto Museum offers an impressive collection of over thirty cars and trucks. You'll find some of these restored vehicles for sale. Some of the vehicles up for sale as of this writing include a 1957 Chevy, a 1956 Lincoln Mark II and a 1970 Chevelle.

 The museum address is 2866 Will Rogers Avenue (Historic Route 66). This auto museum is owned by a man named James "Bozo" Cordova. Cordova has restored many of these cars and now has made the collection available to the general public. What he has put together is a real gem of a museum. James Cordova has been involved with cars his whole life and started a repair garage in Santa Rosa. His classic car collection got so large that he decided to make it into a museum.

In addition to the classic car display, Cordova has assembled a large collection of Route 66 memorabilia including signs, toys and other items. Some classic automobile engines are also showcased.

Endee New Mexico and Classic Cars

Off Interstate 40 in Endee New Mexico just inside the border with Texas is another unique car museum. The museum is large and it's located inside Russells Truck Stop. You'll be amazed at the classic automobileson display there. When you pass this spot it's well worth your time to pull in, relax for a bit and take a look at these fascinating cars.

Arizona and California Classic Automobile Displays

1968 corvette car
1968 Corvette, 327 engine, 4 speed
Another trip note to make if your western road trip takes you through Arizona is the Hackberry General Store in Hackberry Arizona.

The general store is also a unique Route 66 museum with vintage automobiles, old gas pumps as well as those classic old Route 66 advertising signs.

The Hackberry General Store has Route 66 memorabilia displayed inside and out. It's one of those fun places that you can stop at, pick up a soda and perhaps spend an hour looking through the artifacts. Hackberry is located 23 miles northeast of Kingman Arizona.

You may also be interested in the vintage cars on our website AutoMuseumOnline.

As you probably know there are many museums found along the old Route 66 and today's Interstate 40. Some museums like the ones mentioned here feature the old classic automobiles. Others have a combination of cars and all types of memorabilia such as in Williams Arizona just about 65 miles south of the Grand Canyon and in Victorville California, southwest of Barstow and before you enter the Los Angeles metropolitan area. I've had a lot of fun visiting several of these museums and shops and I believe you will also.

Adding a few of these stops and perhaps traveling the remaining stretches of the original "Mother Road" will help make your western road trip a true adventure.

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)