Hackett Auto Museum will catalog Michigan’s automotive history by Summer of 2019!

Standard Electric Automobile Company, which will become Hackett Auto Museum, made the first electric car over a century ago in 1911! And they say there’s no alternative to oil… The building located at the 14,000-square-foot building at 615 Hupp Avenue in Jackson has switched hands quite a few times over the last century, but Ted O’dell, leader of this project, plans on transforming it into a fully renovated auto museum by the summer of 2019.

The Building That Watched Detroit Grow Up

Rewind to a century ago and the world was clearly a different place. However, Standard Electric Automobile Company in Jackson was in the next millennia. Their Standard Electic model M operated entirely on electricity and could go 110 miles in between charges! It cost $1,885. However, it just couldn’t produce as much power as gas-powered vehicles and came in a bit slow with a whopping 20 mph top speed. Perhaps that’s why the electric model holds this stigma even today.

auto museum

This building has seen some things… Photo courtesy of J. Scott Park/MLive.

Through the ages, the building was owned by the Lewis Spring and Axle Company, Argo Motor Company, Briscoe Motor Company, and Hackett Motor Company. Buick patriarch David Buick even owned it. More automobiles have passed through these doors than I can even imagine, and its total impact is inestimable. But fast forward to 2017 and the building looks a little different (see above).

While some may even describe this noble building as an “eyesore” Ted O’Dell sees it only for its potential.

Hackett Auto Museum

“The sign on the door says, ‘This place is worth saving,'” O’Dell said. “And I honestly believe that. There’s so much incredible automotive history in this building.”

He already has some collections just waiting to be displayed. According to MLive, “The current selection includes a Model A, Model T, a 1913 Cartercar, a 1948 Frazer Manhattan and a 1966 Mustang.” There is also an airplane that runs with a Model T engine. They come from Detroit, Highland Park, Ypsilanti, and Pontiac, yet none yet from Jackson, where the museum will be opened. A slight that has not gone unnoticed.

“I’m trying to put together a small collection of cars significant to Jackson,” O’Dell said. “I want this to be the permanent home.”

This  $1.4 million restoration includes more than just a smattering of rare and old automobiles. The Hackett Auto museum includes an original Detroit light pole, which allegedly once stood in front of Henry Ford’s original factory.

auto museum

The original electric car! The Model M! Photo courtesy of Old Cars Weekly.

The museum will also feature vintage neon signs, gas pumps, advertisements, and pretty much anything else that shares and shows Michigan’s automotive history from its industrial heydey. A history that is worth preserving.

“I think it’s important to save history so we pass it on to the next generation,” O’Dell said. “It’s the old saying, ‘If you don’t know your history, you’ll be doomed to repeat it.'”

Come summer of 2019, the museum will be open from Tuesday to Sunday. For now, admission will cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for kids. It’ll be that much easier to get the kids involved with Michigan’s rich industrial history then!

Welcome, Packett Auto Museum!

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