Speed Thrills at the World of Speed Motorsports Museum

by Karla Allen on 2018-05-11 8:23am

You love speed? You love cars?

Seriously, have you been to the World of Speed Motorsports Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon? WHY NOT?

(And you say you love speed…)

From the WOS Museum. Image credit:

How about Porsches? Do you love Porsches? Because if you do, the World of Speed's latest exhibit "Porsche 911: 55 Years of Driving Excellence" ought to scratch that itch like #10 sandpaper on a poison oak rash. If the current Porsche exhibit is anything like last month's Corvette exhibit, which left me and my car-adoring pre-teen boy absolutely agog (and might explain the speeds at which I’ve seen the riding lawn mower shooting across the yard lately), it'll be Worth.Your.Time.

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But don't take my word for it. I haven't seen the Porsches.


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According to the Museum's website, here's a sample of what they now have onsite:

  • 1967 911 “S”
  • 1979 MOMO 935
  • 1988 911 Turbo Targa Top
  • 1988 930 S Cabriolet
  • 2008 997 GT3 RSR Flying Lizard

Truth to horsepower. You do NOT have to love cars as much as my boy to want to see a Porsche called the "Flying Lizard".

Sadly, the 1969 Corvette is no longer there. (Wish I could say it was in OUR garage, crowding the mower…)

What we did see last month was incredible, and included so much more than cars. If we'd had longer, we would've taken a spin in the Simulators. The World of Speed offers three different race car simulators:

  • a 1962 Lotus Formula Racing Simulator,
  • Adrian Fernandez’s 1995 Lola Indy Car, and
  • Johnny Benson’s 1998 NASCAR Ford Taurus.

How to decide?? (Next time, son, I promise.)

The exhibit "Discover the Rise and Triumphs of Women in Racing" is a permanent exhibit that changes yearly to, in their words, "honor the women who have been leaving their mark on history." If those marks are from tire treads, bring 'em on.

From the WOS Museum. Image credit:

Along another wall is the history of speed and racing. Tap the brakes to here - there are plenty of names and pictures and exciting FAST vehicles. There are also specific exhibits for both the Portland International Raceway and the Woodburn Dragstrip, both well within visiting distance of the Museum.

From the WOS Museum. Image credit:

Taking up one end of the cavernous space is the Daytona Banking Wall, where visitors will see four perfectly pitched real NASCAR race cars on a stretch of Daytona track angled at the exact same 31 degrees as the Daytona track itself. Aforementioned boy silently stared. Adults drooled.

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One of my favorite exhibits that covered car culture was the "Wall of Sound". It’s a beautiful collection of unique transistors and stereos that look like they were straight from the moon landing. If I were any older, I'm sure I would've started a sentence with, "Gather ‘round boys and girls. This is just what we heard that Neil Armstrong talking on when he landed on the moon...." From the moon landing era transistors to the moon walking era boom boxes - they were all there. The exhibit includes actual music, and of course, plenty of 'hot rod' themed vintage album covers and movie posters. Literally something for everyone.

But even the nooks and crannies of the museum caused squeals of delight. I wandered around the Speed Shop and Garage for quite a while just reliving moments with car tools and with my dad from days of yore. (Just so you know, I can hold a trouble light over an open hood WAY longer than my older brother - boom!) And ahhh, that Pepsi machine!

Other exhibits include the Road Race Motorcycles, Zero to 1000, and the NW Motorsports Hall of Fame. If you don’t see something interesting at this Museum, look at the reflection on the nearest shiny hood for the problem.

The World of Speed also offers various adult and kiddo education courses, and advertises car care workshops as well as lectures with racing legends. Both options sound like a most pleasant way to spend an afternoon (and if it leads to more folks knowing how to jump their own car, add “Major Contribution to Society” to the list of World of Speed accomplishments).

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If I enjoyed it this much, and my boy 10,000x more than me, imagine what you, who say you love speed and cars, would get out of the World of Speed Museum.

Karla Allen is a researcher and writer for a variety of trades for At Your Pace Online, an online education provider, including Thank you Chuck Rehdorf for the photos of cool cars from your private photography collection!