Branson, MO – November 8, 2005 – Seeing classic, pristine 1957 automobiles is exciting enough for car enthusiasts, but pair it with a complete lifestyle display of 1957 Small Town America and you have an exhibit that is unique enough to appeal to the whole family. In Branson, Missouri, that is exactly what Glenn E. Patch is doing with his impressive collection of over sixty 1957 automobiles and memorabilia.
For more than a decade, Patch has hunted down, bought, and in some cases, restored, these vintage American-made vehicles, creating what is now known as The Patch Collection. Formerly called ’57 Heaven, The Patch Collection includes every American make of 1957 automobiles including Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, Chrysler, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Studebaker, DeSoto, Packard, Nash, Rambler and Hudson. Dennis Gage, television host for My Classic Car, has seen the collection and is impressed. ’57 Heaven is incredible, like no other I have seen before,” said Gage.
As of April 2006, ’57 Heaven will be available for the public to enjoy. When visitors enter ’57 Heaven, it will be just like going back in time to the year 1957 – complete with authentic memorabilia and accent items that capture the spirit of that magical year.
Over the last few years, Patch toyed with the idea of opening his remarkable exhibit to the public in Palm Springs, California where he spent much of his winter. Then the opportunity came in Branson, where Patch already owned a considerable amount of real estate. It was finally decided that the vehicles would find a permanent home on Highway 76 in Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater Complex – the perfect location to highlight those fabulous 50s.
Patch wasn’t satisfied with the cars just being on display. He wanted to truly highlight his collection in a way that visitors would remember. “Instead of making it a car museum, it’s going to depict lifestyle in the 1950s,” Patch explains. “We’re going to put the cars in their natural environments, like sitting at a service station or at a drive-in theater. We’ll have a model home that looks just like a house you’d walk into back in 1957, with an authentic kitchen and a Christmas tree with toys under it. You’ll walk down Main Street USA and there will be a toy store and an ice cream parlor. We want it to be attractive to the whole family, not just car enthusiasts.”
As it currently stands, approximately half of the cars will be housed in the Branson attraction, allowing models to rotate in and out of the exhibit to keep it fresh. Visitors will experience more than just one of the world’s finest car collections with a visit to ’57 Heaven– they will get an interactive blast of art and nostalgia that words, and even photographs, can’t possibly capture. “You have to stand next to them to see how beautiful they are,” says Patch of his collection. “I’ve walked through with friends who had tears in their eyes when they saw them. Their hair stands up on their arms when they see those gorgeous cars.”
“I’m used to seeing finely finished racing machinery, but The Patch Collection takes the experience to a new level,” says Don Miller, President of Penske Racing. Ryan Newman has a similar response. The NASCAR driver for Penske Racing, AllTel Dodge has also seen the collection and is thoroughly impressed. “I always thought that 1957 was a wonderful year of automobile design; The Patch Collection proves it,” says Newman.