"The Automobile is the Art"
News & Views for the Car Enthusiast!

~August 2023~

From the Desk of Darrel Burnett

Executive Director

Celebrating THE First Woman of Racing - MARIA TERESA de FILIPPIS

One of the true joys of sharing this space with you every month is being able to shine a light on incredible people whose lives and stories have otherwise disappeared into darkness. One such person was a trailblazing 5’ 2” package of courage and charisma named Maria Teresa de Filippis. It was exactly 64 years ago today, August 1st, 1959, that Maria Teresa made a decision that would change the trajectory of her life and dramatically affect the lives of women around the world. In an instant, Maria Teresa walked away from a soaring career in Formula One racing never to return. It happened on a rain drenched day in Berlin at the German Grand Prix. Maria Teresa’s close friend Jean Behra lost his life in a Porsche RSK that she was supposed to be driving.

Just a year before, August 24th, 1958, Maria Teresa had pierced the impenetrable wall of the male dominated world of Formula One racing where women weren’t allowed much less welcome. As a 22-year-old 8 years before, Maria Teresa won the first race she entered and never stopped. Armed with a resume full of wins at every level, Maria Teresa ignored insurmountable obstacles and had such immense talent that she turned down an offer to drive for Enzo Ferrari choosing to drive for rival Maserati instead. She was so petite that special padding had to be added to her seat just to reach the pedals. Behind the wheel, Maria Teresa went from being 5’ 2” to being larger than life! She qualified 16th at the Belgian Grand Prix in her Maserati 250F and finished 10th in her first Grand Prix race. Only Taylor Swift could appreciate the level of fame that was waiting around the corner for Maria Teresa. 

In sharp contrast to Maria Teresa’s engaging personality, Frenchman Jean Behra, her dear friend, was a complex combination of talent and temper. Driving for the revered Ferrari team, an argument at a restaurant between Behra and Ferrari team manager Romolo Tavoni escalated to the point that Behra punched out Tavoni. He was fired instantly. Having lost his ride with Ferrari, Behra took his own Porsche RSK to the German Grand Prix with Maria Teresa as his driver. Later, she remembered telling Behra, ‘It’s ridiculous that I should race in your car when you stay on the floor. You go and race it. It’s your car.’ I didn’t even go to the race. Then, on the radio, I heard that he was dead. I decided, on the spot, to stop racing. Too many friends had gone.”


A full 15 years passed before another woman qualified for a Formula One race when Italian Lella Lombardi finally broke through at the 1974 British Grand Prix. Lombardi last raced in 1976 and a woman has never started a Formula One race in the 47 years since. Had Maria Teresa continued her meteoric climb would it have been different for Janet Guthrie who patiently waited until May 29th, 1977, to become the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500? Had Maria Teresa continued to shatter stereotypes in the racing world, we can only speculate at how much smoother the professional path for Lynn St. James, Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher and other women racers might have been.

Maria Teresa de Filippis passed away in relative obscurity January 8th, 2016 at the age of 89 in Scanzorosciate, Italy. On this Tuesday, August 1st, 2023, we are left to imagine what could have been…. and was never destined to be.

Don’t miss Darrel Burnett’s Steering Column coming to an inbox near you on the 15th

The Mystical Mustang Arrives at the Gallery!

If you aren't signed up for it, click HERE (then scroll to the bottom of the page)

Fun Fact

Since the U.S. is in the grips of a record setting heat wave this summer, we thought you deserved a “cool” piece of history. The very first use of the word “convertible” dates all the way back to 1904 when the Thomas Flyer introduced a removable convertible top. Only 353 Thomas Flyers were built in 1904 but, despite going out of business in 1919, Thomas was responsible for a phenomenon that survives to this day.

Sales of convertibles in the U.S. peaked at 350,000 in 2006, but recently have seen steadily declining sales given the popularity of SUVs and Electric cars on the road. This year, fewer than 90,000 new convertibles will be sold.  We’re happy to report that convertibles still account for 28% of exotic and high-end car sales. It’s hard to top that!

Master Craftsman

Visitors to The Automobile Gallery & Event Center are accustomed to seeing extremely rare automobiles in our collection, but recently we were surprised to receive a one-of-a-kind like we have never seen before. Master craftsman Hank Kollross of Green Bay presented our Executive Director Darrel Burnett with a highly-detailed wooden replica of our 1929 Ford Model A Huckster. This beautifully crafted model is completely carved out of wood including the tires and many of the pieces are operable just like the original! This masterpiece took Mr. Kollross more than 40 hours to complete!

International Visitors

Our new friends from Mexico City, Ian, Paola, and Roberto Gonzalez are on vacation in the U.S. and drove from Chicago to Green Bay for their first visit to The Automobile Gallery & Event Center. The Gonzalez’ homeland of Mexico now ranks as the 7th largest global passenger vehicle manufacturer with three million vehicles produced annually.

Newest Team Member

Please meet CJ, our newest team member from Beyond Possibilities, an employee placement program for young adults with mental health challenges. This organization exists to teach their program participants to learn the necessary work skills so that one day they can earn a living and feel a sense of independency.

CJ loves vehicles as much as we do - and knows just about as much, too! His favorite Gallery job is to polish vehicles, especially his favorite Corvette in the collection. Make sure to say hi when you see him! Welcome onboard, CJ!

Start your engines and drive down to the Gallery for Cruisin' to the Classics, an incredible car-themed Daddy D's concert! You'll hear all your favorite car cruising songs paired with fun humor, all set within a space filled with beautiful classic cars!

To get tickets, click HERE.

Tickets are only $33 per person with $3 discounts for seniors, veterans, and children under 18.

When: September 14 @ 5p

Our second annual AUTOberfest is back September 30 at 2 p.m.! Experience more than 100 German cars up close and hear their stories while enjoying the flavor of all of your German favorites from brats and beer to bundt cakes! If you would like to show off your German car at AUTOberfest contact Executive Director Darrel Burnett at darrelb@theautomobilegallery.org as a few spaces remain!


General Admission is only $15 which gets you access to the one-day only German collection, the Gallery collection, AND a pretzel necklace to celebrate!

September 30

2 - 6 p.m.

Register HERE to attend!

Gallery Event Schedule

(per event details to come soon if not psoted)

September 14: Cruisin' the Classics, Daddy D's Production

September 30: AUTOberfest (German car show)

November 9: Patriotic Salute, Daddy D's Production

December 2: Old Fashion Chrismas, Daddy D's Production

If you have specific questions on an event, please reach out to Inquire@theautomobilegallery.org


Opportunities at the Gallery

If you or anyone you know would like to be involved with the Gallery, we have opportunities available:

**NEW** Event Coordinator to work casually part-time operating and overseeing private events.

Volunteers to staff events, maintain the vehicles and Gallery, and educate guests

If interested in any mentioned role, please email Megan Lehmann at MeganL@theautomobilegallery.org

Unlimited Gallery Access!

Read below to find out how

Be a part of the Gallery community and support your favorite Downtown Green Bay entertainment site with a personal membership!

All memberships include:

  • Unlimited Gallery visits for an entire year
  • Discounts on all gift shop purchases
  • Discounts on special events
  • Early ticket sales for special openings and special events

We have memberships to suit every interest too!

Personal, dual, family, grandparent, or friend of the Gallery.

Google Reviews - We'd love yours!

The Automobile Gallery & Event Center is already on most Top 10 Lists for great things to do in Northeastern Wisconsin, now you can help even more visitors find us by giving us a great Google review.

CLICK HERE to leave your review.

It's that easy! Thank you for your time and review - it means a lot to us!

CARes for the Community comes to The Automobile Gallery & Event Center!

Our area leaders have generously allowed us to display their extraordinary vehicles all in the name of raising money for our area's youth services.

If you're interested in participating, contact us at inquire@theautomobilegallery.org!

The Automobile Gallery is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to the enjoyment and enrichment of our visitors and community. Becoming a member of The Automobile Gallery helps support its mission, which in part is to educate, inspire and sharing the passion of the automobile with others. Through the generosity of memberships, donations, admissions, and event income, the Automobile Gallery will continue for generations to come as one of the finest galleries of its kind in the country.

You may support The Automobile Gallery by making a gift to our endowment fund. This endowment will provide funding in perpetuity for the Gallery to serve the community through various educational programs, exhibits, and interactive learning environments to teach the history of the American Automobile.

Founding Members
Sustaining Partners
Benefactor Members
Corporate Members
Sports Car Members

Friends of the Gallery

Grant De Broux

Joe Griffiths & Family

Michael Sullivan &M2Logistics

Keith Obermiller & Family

Tom & Dawn Olejniczak

Jeff Tyndall

Ashok Rai & Family

Bob & Jolyce Rupp

Joyce-Lyn & Steve Altieri

Brent Baker

James Bednarowski

Christopher Boland

Ann & Steve Bradford

Kaleb Cieslewicz

Joel Hensley & Bridget Kelley-Hensley

David Loppnow

Contemporary Automobile Gallery and Event Venue Where
"The Automobile is the Art"
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