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McDorman Museum closes less than three years after it opens

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Photo courtesy McDorman Museum.

Less than three years after it opened – and a year and a half since its founder died – the Bob McDorman Automotive Museum near Columbus, Ohio, announced that it will close and liquidate its collection of Chevrolets and neon signs.

McDorman, a Corvette Hall of Fame inductee and Chevrolet dealer known for accumulating and selling off at least three major collections of significant mid-century Chevrolets, opened the museum in July 2014 as a means of keeping busy following his retirement from the dealership. As he pointed out at the time, McDorman intended to remain with the dealership as at least a partial owner until the dealership’s 50th anniversary, a goal he missed by just a few months when he died in May 2015 at the age of 82.

At the time of his death, no announcement was made as to the fate of the museum, its collection of cars, or its assemblage of mostly Chevrolet neon signs and memorabilia. However, according to a post from earlier this month on the museum’s Facebook page, the museum will close at the end of 2016.

“We are thankful Bob was able to fulfill his dream of becoming a 50 year Chevrolet Dealer and build a museum,” Alice McDorman wrote. “He truly enjoyed sharing his 62 year Corvette ‘love affair’ with the public.”

The entirety of the collection, according to the post, will go to auction at Mecum’s Indianapolis event in May 2017.

McDorman previously sold portions of his collection at auction in 2005 and 2007 before a headline-making all-no-reserve 2010 sale of cars, parts, and automobilia that netted $7 million, which he said was necessary to keep the dealership running.

While the museum opened with an estimated 50 cars, its website currently displays about three dozen, all but two of them Chevrolets, and more than half of them Corvettes.