Mar 1, 2023 - Things to Do

Relocated auto museum celebrating one-year anniversary

Rows of classic cars on display in a large museum showroom.

Classic cars fill the showroom at Martin Auto Museum in Glendale. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

A Glendale auto museum that offers a place for gearheads to check out classic cars will celebrate its one-year anniversary in its current location this Saturday.

State of play: Martin Auto Museum, at 43rd Avenue and Thunderbird Road, houses about 177 cars that run the gamut of automobile history, ranging from old Ford Model Ts to 2020 Corvettes, and even a replica of an 1886 Benz Motorwagen.

  • The original location on the northbound Interstate 17 frontage road between Bell Road and Union Hills Drive opened in 2005. It could house only about 60 vehicles, so they moved last year.

Details: Visitors, including kids, can sit in most of the cars.

  • The museum also features a free carousel and arcade.
  • Four event rooms hold between 60 and 500 people, often hosting conferences, weddings and other celebrations of life.

Zoom in: Museum founder Mel Martin has been in the car business for most of his life, opening a garage in Mayer when he was 17 years old, and later opening businesses in the Valley, including a towing service, body shop, salvage yard and auto auction.

  • Most of the 200 vehicles in the museum's collection belong to Martin, while about 50 are donated, he said.
  • He tells Axios Phoenix he's "an old guy" who loves seeing kids sitting in the cars while parents take pictures. "They'll remember that the rest of their lives," Martin said.

Between the lines: Martin said the most impressive vehicles in the collection are probably a 1930 Duesenberg Boattail Speedster — of which only five were made — a Mustang Cobra signed by famed auto designer Carroll Shelby, a Plymouth Superbird and a stainless steel Cadillac.

  • There are about six cars that visitors can't get into, including the Cobra because its aluminum body is susceptible to bending.

What's next: Saturday's anniversary celebration includes a ribbon-cutting with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

  • It's free from 9am to 1pm, so bring the family.

Jeremy's thought bubble: After driving past a few times and hearing glowing recommendations from some friends, I got my chance to check the venue out a couple of weekends ago.

  • My kids and my nephews had a blast climbing around in the old cars, along with a couple old tractors.
  • I don't know a lot about cars, but I really enjoyed wandering around the display.
  • The kids' favorite part was still probably the free arcade — not that I didn't also enjoy trying my hand at the old Donkey Kong game, which is harder than I remember from childhood.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Phoenix stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more