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1:14 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Chrysler shutters car museum

Chrysler announced last week that it would be closing The Walter P. Chrysler Museum located at its Auburn Hills headquarters.

The museum, which opened in 1999, will merge with the Chrysler Foundation by the end of the year.

Chrysler Group LLC will purchase the 67 historic vehicles housed in the museum, the oldest being a 1902 Rambler Runabout Roadster.

The collection of classic cars will be be closed off to the public except for special events and exhibitions.

From the press release:

"We are very thankful for the generosity of our many members, friends, volunteers and employees and very proud of the Museum’s legacy as an educational and cultural institution," said Brian Glowiak, President – Walter P. Chrysler Museum Foundation.

"Chrysler will continue to share its automobile heritage housed at the Museum with the public during special exhibitions. The existing Museum facilities will also be used to meet Chrysler Group needs," added Glowiak.

The Detroit News reports the museum had run out of money and could no longer support itself:

Approximately 35,000 people visited the museum last year, though that figure includes special events and facility rentals.

"Over time, the revenue just has not been there to sustain its operations," said Chrysler spokesman Kevin Frazier, who added that the automaker is keen to preserve this important part of its history.

Proceeds from the sale of the vehicles will be used by the Chrysler Foundation to support charitable community activities and organizations.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom