Both museums are drawn from private collections, and they are different and complementary.
The Audrain, which opened in 2014, is located in a historic building on Bellevue, next to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. It rotates through four exhibits per year of around 20 cars, drawn from a collection of 225.
It has what de Muzio calls an "encyclopedic" focus, with a wide range of different makers and years, from pre-war cars to the present day. An exhibit on view through June 25, "Drop Dead Drop Tops," focuses on convertibles and features a range of cars, from a 1930 Pierce-Arrow Model A to a one-of-a-kind white and blue 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4L Grand Sport Vitesse "Le Ciel Californien."
The exhibit even includes curiosities such as a 1957 Ferrari Bimbo racer, a 12-volt electric children's car that was based on the open Ferrari Spider of the time.
The Audrain's new exhibit, "Fast, Fun & Fabulous: Best of Show," featuring award-winning automobiles that are a superlative example of design or that have won races, opens July 1.
There's still a new car smell at the Newport Car Museum, which opened June 1 and is actually in neighboring Portsmouth, a short drive from the attractions of Newport. The museum is housed in a 55,000-square-foot space in a building once used by defense contractor Raytheon to manufacture missiles. The displays here are drawn entirely from the private collection of Gunther and Maggie Buerman.
Around 50 cars are displayed in five galleries, with classics including Ford Shelby racing cars, Corvettes, Mopars and a large collection of fin cars, as well as some European, British and Japanese cars. Every model of Corvette, from a C1 to C7, is here. There's a 1965 Ford Shelby 427 SC Cobra, designed by American automotive designer and racecar driver Carroll Shelby, one of just 31 made, and valued by Gunther Buerman at $3 million.
From a 1954 Buick to a 2017 Dodge Viper ACR, Gunther Buerman said he wanted the museum to appeal to all ages.
"The idea is to span that whole generation, so that the grandfather can come, the father and son have something to enjoy, the mother, the grandmother. The whole family can come and see something of interest," he said.
Anna and Doug Lash, of Monroe, Connecticut, said they have been to numerous car museums and shows, but never one quite like the Newport Car Museum.
"The artistic layout is really unique. It makes the cars look like a piece of art. These cars were virtual pieces of art. The production cars today don't even come close to some of this," said Doug Lash, a self-described car enthusiast. "The classics that he's picked are incredible. The design is the thing that makes them stand out from anything that goes fast."
IF YOU GO
AUDRAIN AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM: 222 Bellevue Ave., Newport, Rhode Island, next to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, http://audrainautomuseum.org/. Adults, $14; seniors, military, students, $10; children, ages 6 to 17, $8. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
NEWPORT CAR MUSEUM: 1847 West Main Rd., Portsmouth, Rhode Island (near Newport on the campus of defense contractor Raytheon), https://newportcarmuseum.org/. Adults, $18; seniors, military, students, AAA members, $15; children, ages 5 to 15, $5. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily