A VerySpatial Road Trip: Kemp Mercedes Museum

Transportation is a huge part of the history and geography of the US.  Trips like our own Road Trip have a long tradition in the US for both recreation and for commerce.  None of that would be possible without the growth of the automobile.


Among St. Louis many charms is a little place a tad West of the city called the Kemp Mercedes Museum.  It’s a small collection of around 40 or so automobiles that rotate around the year.  The collection starts way back to the 1886 Motorcade and continues all the way into the 50’s and 60’s era.  There are a few pieces on loan from even newer cars through the 80’s.  The collection started from Mr. Fred Kemp’s private collection of Mercedes throughout history.  Several of the items in his collection were among the only available in the US.


The Kemp museum’s collection of Mercedes is the largest and longest spanning collection in North America.  The Mercedes marquee is a stunning brand and you get a great sense of that just looking at their collection.  The cars are in beautiful condition restored to their pristine, ‘off the lot’ state.  You can see roadsters, sedans, touring cars, and sports cars.  The 1931 370S is an award winning car that has traveled the country to compete in classic car competitions.  The 1954 gull wing 300SL sports car is incredibly evocative of a bygone era in automobile history.  Personally, I was taken by the 170S Cabriolet.  It was a beautiful car.


1931 Mercedes 370S


1954 Mercedes 300SL Gull Wing



1951 Mercedes 170s Cabriolet

The museum has a great program for kids to learn about historic cars.  You can even have events like weddings in there!  I told Barb if we weren’t already married, we’d get married there.

Classic car museums might seem to be an odd choice for a trip across the country, but I think they’re part and parcel of the experience.  We’ve been ‘going west’ since before the US was a country, and we used the car for the last 100+ years of doing it.  There are a number of great classic car museums and events across this nation and it’s well worth some time getting acquainted with our automotive history.


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