It is unfortunate that after TEN beautiful years the Kemp Auto Museum located in Chesterfield, MO will be closing it’s doors for good.
These beauties were some of the FINEST I have seen in my years working in the automotive industry and it does break my heart knowing that Mr. Kemp’s collection will soon be closed off. Although Fred Kemp’s 40 + collection will not be available for viewing, his passion will thrive through the teachings that will continue at his facility.
Check out my visit to this historic Saint Louis spot last week. Even though it is not until June 7th its official closing, I could not wait to walk through it’s doors one last time. Who knows, I still have a good week and a half if I happen to get that Mercedes urge.
Entrance to the Kemp Auto Museum.
—- I don’t know what I find it necessary to jump in EVERY picture but it gets the job done, eh?
**This would absolutely be a personal favorite feature of Kemp’s collection.
Commonly known as the ‘World’s First Automobile’ this beauty was staged and conveniently placed at the entrance of the museum. I love that you’re automatically SMACKED in the face with the best of automotive history.
Fun fact/ Story time – August, 1888 – Bertha, wife of Karl Benz, ‘stole’ or to be less dramatic ‘borrowed’ her husbands invention without his knowledge and embarked on a 121 mile journey to her hometown of Pforzhelm, Germany. Accompanying Mrs. Benz would be her two children, Eugen and Richard, both in their mid- teens of 14 and 15.
(Maybe Germans are just more open to the idea of ‘borrowing’ but I would have been pretty upset if my rolling invention would have just gone missing for an entire four days, give or take. Although I only cruise around in an embarrassing Nissan, it is difficult for me to allow my little sister to borrow her for a ride to the gas station. Moral of my opinion bubble, Bertha had guts and respectfully so. )
This monumental trip made history by being the first long distance automobile trip. When in need of refueling Bertha simply stopped at the local pharmacy, half way point, and did so using ligroin. Therefore making the location the first fueling station in history!
Adding to the history books, Bertha soon realized the wore down breaks of the No. 3 Motorwagen. Leading her to ask the local shoemaker to install leather to the brake block,therefore inventing the much needed brake lining.
(I’m sure, as many would agree, Karl must have been VERY impressed with his wife’s contribution to his event and to the history of the automotive industry.)
Upon arrival, Bertha sent a telegram to her, I would imagine, confused/ worry some husband informing him of her arrival.
TODAY the exact route taken by the historic three is now an official route of industrial heritage. Any and all automotive enthusiast can now follow the route mile by mile!!
( BUCKET LISTED!!)
In other news..
Following the 1888 Motorwagen, just a few steps forward you will enter the showroom portion of Fred Kemp’s museum, housing his iconic collection. At the entrance you immediately light up at the gorgeously staged 1954 Mercedes 300SL.
If I had the choice, this beautiful prince of Mercedes history would be by my side everyday. With its iconic Gullwing doors, the 300SL is easily one of the most recognizable automobiles. If the ropes were not holding me back I could confidently say that the museum directors would’ve not been a fan of me. Unable to get close to this beauty I could not grab interior shots but the few I was able to shoot say enough.
Although I wish I would have taken more shots of these immaculate beauties, I will admit to you all that I was too taken back by the amount of knowledge available for the taking.. Like I said, I am hoping to make it back and will take make it a point!
To state that Kemp has a mighty fine collection would be an EXTREME understatement.
If you’re from the Saint Louis area, or see yourself visiting in the near future, CHECK OUT his story and embrace this collection soon!!
Thank you Kemp Auto Museum for having my colleagues and I. Of course, for also providing Saint Louis with such distinct automotive knowledge.
Although I am to this day unsure as to why exactly Kemp’s doors are closing I must say it is a pleasure to work in the same industry and even share such a hobby with the iconic Fred M. Kemp, Sr.