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See if You Can Fit Inside the Working Miniature Classic Cars at This Unique Museum in Arizona

Suny Errot



Arizona, without a doubt, is home to a lot of fascinating museums, especially in Phoenix. Not too far from the states’ capital is Maricopa, where you can find the Dwarf Car Museum famous for their miniature vintage cars. If you don’t want to miss out on discovering this place, please keep on reading. This is definitely one place you couldn’t miss!

Meet the Man Behind Dwarf Car Museum, Ernie Adams

Ernie Adams Dwarf Cars

Source: Instagram

This man started his interest in cars as a young boy by drawing models and making prototypes out of materials he could find at home. You can say he is pretty resourceful.

His fascination with cars from childhood fueled his passion, and it is still evident to this day. The best way to know more about this talented man is by talking to him. And you don’t need to book a fan meeting with him, because he is there inside the Dwarf Car Museum.

Ernie likes to entertain visitors as if they are his friends. In fact, you can just see for yourself if you can fit into his dwarf cars. Visitors always like to say that this small little stop packs a lot of flavors. If you have some questions about machining, cars, engineering, or just plain oddities, anyone there would be happy to help you.

The First Dwarf Car Is Made With 9 Old Refrigerators

Dwarf Car Museum az

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Once you step inside the small space, you will already see the different and amazing dwarf cars ready to be admired.

In Ernie Adams’ early 20s, he started to collect materials for his first dwarf car, a 28 Chevy two-door sedan, in 1962. After 3 years or in 1965, he finally finished his first dwarf car made of 9 old refrigerators. If you will say that he’s so creative, just think about how innovative that was way back in the 60s.

Dwarf Cars display

Source: Instagram

Who would have thought that his passion project would soon lead to him building his own museum?

Well, back to the dwarf car story, with the spare refrigerator pars, 18hp Wisconsin motor, hammer, chisel, hacksaw, he built his first creation. The first dwarf car is now called “Grandpa Dwarf” and is still kept in running order today.
 If you think about it – back then, he had no idea what this creation would be the beginning of. Over the years, he found himself wanting to create more dwarf cars.

The Cars at Dwarf Car Museum Are Fully-Functional and Can Be Legally Used to Drive on the Road

Dwarf Car az miniature

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After his first dwarf car, Ernie created more types like Dwarf Race Cars and Cruisers. Each one takes years to complete and you can see them all at the Dwarf Museum. He painstakingly made each one and was very careful with the details.

There are also two Dwarf Race Cars that were built in 1979 and 1980. The idea was brought to life when Ernie Adams and Daren Schmaltz had attended motorcycle side hack races in Phoenix, Arizona. On the way home, the topic of three-wheeled racers being too slow in the corners was brought up. They said that they could improve it by adding a fourth wheel to help through the corners, and adding a car body wouldn’t be too bad because it would boost spectator appeal.

The first Dwarf Race Car was held at the Yavapai County Fair in Prescott, Arizona in September 1983 with a total of 12 cars registered.

What’s Next After the Dwarf Race Cars?

Dwarf Car Museum interesting arizona

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Ernie seemed to love taking it up a notch every time. That’s because he’s already enjoyed and learned a lot about bending and shaping metal. The appreciation and admiration for every finished work is just the motivation he needs. He had an idea to put his metal shaping skills to the test by fully dressing a Dwarf Car with fenders, chrome, and finished interior. From there, the Dwarf Car Cruiser was born!

museum in arizona

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Just a heads up, they don’t sell these cars. They are a collection of Ernie and his family’s passion and creativity. Still, at least you get to enjoy and appreciate it while you are there.

Fun Facts

Dwarf Car Museum in arizona

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  • Ernie Adams was actually awarded champion in the Late Model Stockcar Division for 1971 at Whitehead Speedway in Nebraska City, Iowa. His impressive feat is that he won every heat race, every trophy dash, and every main event he drove in that year.
  • The very first Dwarf Racers were kick-start and chain driven. In addition to that, the first Dwarf Race Car used a 350 Honda motorcycle engine.
  • Did you know that a 350 Honda motorcycle engine powered the first Dwarf Race Car? Back then, the first Dwarf Racers were also kick-start and chain driven.
  • The 42 Ford Dwarf Car constructed by Ernie Adams was used as the official pace car for the last Dwarf Car race event ever held at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. The speedway first opened its doors in 1951 and closed after 58 years of racing in 2009.
  • Ernie also has a full-sized 1939 Chevy twin to his 1939 Chevy Dwarf. Guests and visitors are in awe whenever they see the two side by side since they can compare its authenticity.
  • If you are curious, the cars’ wheels follow 12-inch wheels. Approximately, a dwarf car is 5/8 the size of a full car. These cars are not only for display but also for real driving too.

What You Should Know

Dwarf Car Museum sign

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  • You can visit the Dwarf Car Museum for free since they do not charge admission, but they gladly accept donations to keep the museum running. If you are coming here, just know that every little bit helps
  • If you want to try and ride the cars, you may do so. However, please be careful as these are vintage. These are also painstakingly made by the team.
  • Do you want to buy some memorabilia from the Dwarf Car Museum? Just go one block from the museum and you will find the Flat Tire Springs. This is where you can get t-shirts, mugs, license plates, DVDs, keychains, magnets, and a lot more. You can also get the colorfully illustrated Book “Break Time at Ernie’s,” which is considered a must-have for custom car enthusiasts. The book is about the history of the Dwarf Car Museum and Ernie Adam’s life. It is available at the gift store and online.
  • Once you are done shopping, you may also get a haircut from Ginger’s Barber Shop at Flat Tire Springs.

Dwarf Car Museum Details

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Location: 52954 West Halfmoon Rd. Maricopa, Arizona
Contact Number: (520) 424-3158
Website: https://www.dwarfcarmuseum.com
Operating Hours: Opens daily from 9 AM to 4 PM

How to Get Here

From Phoenix

  • Take I-10 Freeway south and continue the drive to Queen Creek Rd
  • Go west on Queen Creek Rd and wait until it turns into SR 347 – John Wayne Pkwy.
  • Drive through Maricopa, passing by Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino.
  • Turn west on Papago Rd before turning south on Warren Rd
  • Finally, turn west on Half Moon Road

From Tucson

  • Take I-10 Freeway north and continue the drive to I-8 Freeway
  • Go north on Stanfield Rd
  • Turn west on SR – 84 and turn north on SR – 347
  • Go west on Clayton Rd. Then, turn north on Amarillo Valley Rd
  • Continue west on Century Rd before turning south on Warren Rd
  • Finally, turn west on Half Moon Road

Do you think you can fit inside the miniature cars? If you like this article, you may also check out this museum with antique and contemporary miniatures in Tucson! Not to mention, there is a Queen Anne Victorian House Museum in Phoenix and It Looks Amazing.