Where there is a sport, there are fans, collectors and museums. Tomorrow the world’s greatest racecar drivers will compete hoping to win the Indianapolis 500.
In San Diego (two thousand miles from Indianapolis) a passion for everything about automobiles permeates the San Diego Automotive Museum.
“Welcome to the San Diego Automotive Museum. Come and see the beauty and history of the automobile. Feast your eyes on some of the rarest and most beautiful cars ever created.”
Bob Swanson, Executive Director for the San Diego Automotive Museum, is proud of the many Indy 500 collectibles from the nearly hundred years of the race’s history that are in the museum’s collection.
The earliest piece is an eight-page program for the Indy 500 printed on bright yellow paper and containing two black and white photos. The program cost attendees five cents. Another collectible is the equivalent of a press release from 1925. There are programs and yearbooks from throughout the years, getting thicker as time goes on and costing more as well. In the 80’s programs were up to $5.00. Bob recalls paying around $20 for a several hundred-page program in his personal collection from 2006.
There have been historical milestones, as documented in the Indy 500 programs from the 70’s, as the race announcer for the first time began the event with, “In the company of the first lady to ever qualify at Indianapolis, gentlemen start your engines.” You’ll find Janet Guthrie, Indy’s first woman driver, listed in the 1977, ’78 and ’79 Indy 500 programs. This year Danica Patrick has a legitimate shot at taking the checkered flag, and if she does the program will have additional historical and collectible significance.
From the pages in the San Diego Automobile Museum’s collection jump the names and faces of the sport’s greatest drivers: Louis Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Rodger Ward, A. J. Foyt, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears and many more. The sponsor’s names leap from the pages too. Plus each yearbook and program reflects the cream of the crop racecars of the era, with the pictures, originally in black and white and then in full color, showing the progression through the years, up to the sleek, powerful modern machines we know today.
For $10, you can buy this year’s program (with a gorgeous cover) at the
Official Trackside Gift Shop. You’ll also find posters, glasses, t-shirts and die-cast cars. You can preorder the Danica Patrick Twin Ring Motegi “1st Win” Commemorative Car, which is available in 1/18 and 1/64 scales.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Trackside Gift Shop
4575 West 16th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222
Call: 317-492-6400 or 1-800-955-INDY (4639)
E-mail Us: firstname.lastname@example.org
San Diego Automotive Museum
2080 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101
San Diego Automotive Museum – 2080 Pan American Plaza (Balboa Park)
San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 231-2886