By Bill Clevlen
Americans have always been fascinated with the automobile, and it makes perfect sense why one of the most exciting new venues in the state of Kansas revolves around them. Known as the Midwest Dream Car Collection, this Manhattan museum allows guests to meet and mingle around custom, muscle, classic, and exotic car exhibits.
“It’s very unique,” says George Kandt, Business Retention and Expansion Manager for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of visitors that aren’t car people love it. It’s perfect for groups doing receptions, or even team building because it’s interactive.”
An Adaptable Space
There are a few different ways companies can utilize this 700-3,100 square-foot event space. This venue accommodates up to 185 attendees for theater and banquet-style configurations, and it seats up to 64 attendees classroom-style. In addition, companies can partake in a team-building session with the Model T Hands-On driving course. Here, attendees learn the mechanics of the vehicle and can take a test drive.
With the unique setup and variety of cars, the venue can do some great custom functions. “We recently had a local bank come in and do a scavenger hunt with their employees,” says Kimberly Huebner, Events & Operations Manager for the Midwest Dream Car Collection. “This made for a really interactive experience. Plus, they loved our self-serve beer and wine wall.”
Huebner says that most people are shocked when they visit for the first time. “They are surprised at how many vehicles we have and the variety. Even people that do not have a particular interest in cars are surprised at how much fun it can be to wander the exhibits.”
There are usually around 65 vehicles on display at a time, with exhibits rotating in and out to keep the collection fresh. The exhibits include a 2014 Lamborghini, a 2006 Ferrari F430, and a 1969 Lincoln Presidential Limousine.
Most of the vehicles come with an interesting story. Take, for example, the pair of Ford Mustangs that were tweaked by the famed car designer George Barris for Sonny & Cher. The vehicles were altered to match the personalities of the singing duo famous for 60s hit songs such as “I’ve Got You Babe.”
Each Mustang has flared, custom wheel wells, dual simulated hood scoops, repositioned, flush-mounted door handles, and 40 coats of lacquer paint. The 1966 Drag-U-La is another Barris creation that is on display. This vehicle was custom built for the TV series The Munsters and used for promotions and photo shoots.
With all the great cars on display, there’s not a clear favorite for guests. However, Huebner admits the Tesla is one of the crowd favorites. “People are just really curious about the future of automobiles.”
“Race” to Manhattan
The Midwest Dream Car Collection reopened to the public on June 3rd with new guidelines put in place. Reduced contact, reduced gathering, and increased sanitization are figured into their updated policies to ensure the safety and well-being of attendees.
As for The Little Apple, Kandt says that people are drawn to their area for one main reason. “People are kind and welcoming in Manhattan. Sure, it’s a college town, but there’s just a neat energy everywhere you go. And it’s so walkable!”
If your company is looking for a new, interesting place to gather in Manhattan, The Midwest Dream Car Collection might just be the venue for you.
Bill Clevlen is a contributing writer from St. Louis.