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Largest Auto Collection (Ever) Unlocks This Fall

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On: Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 10:16AM | By: Chris Salamone

Largest Auto Collection (Ever) Unlocks This Fall

What do you do after amassing a tremendous fortune from the ‘refuse’ business (pronounced: bi-ze-néss)? Simple, you turn all those liquid assets into something a bit more solid—aka automobilia. After decades of prosperity, Harold LeMay did just that and in 1997 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized his automobile collection as the largest in the world. At its zenith, the Lemay Collection included over 3,000 vehicles and continues to be recognized as the most robust, all-inclusive car collection on the planet. This fall (drum roll, please), the LeMay Collection will be housed and displayed to the general public at the newly minted LeMay Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

After Harold LeMay passed away in 2000, his wife Nancy decided to build the museum they had dreamt of for years. It was Harold’s fervent wish that their collection would be shared and enjoyed by the public at large. And that quest continues today. The LeMay Museum Vision seeks to be “[a] gleaming beacon above the city… a technologically advanced, interactive automotive museum and educational center that will showcase the cultural impact of cars, motorcycles and trucks on our uniquely American way of life.”

If that sounds like a lofty goal, consider this. The LeMay will house up to 500 rotating vehicles from the personal family collection. The total project cost will be somewhere around $60 million and will bring an estimated 425,000 visitors and $34 million to the local economy… each year. The Museum’s location is also primed for success. It sits right next to the Tacoma Dome and Interstate 5—thus reaching the tear ducts of seven million drivers each year.

In addition to sparkly, yet historically relevant automobiles, the LeMay will have a collector car center, 3.5-acre show field, galleries, a banquet hall, meeting space, auto storage, food, and administrative offices.

For those of us who simply cannot wait until the grand opening, the LeMay will be hosting a HARD HAT & High Heels Gala as a preview party for the museum. The Gala will be held September 24th—dress code is ‘Construction Chic’. Tickets start at $175 and quickly escalate to $25,000 for sponsorship.

All things considered, the LeMay Collection is enough to make Jay Leno envious. From a 1916 Pierce-Arrow Brougham, all the way to an AMC AMX, this colorful assortment of cars is enough to impress anyone. Now, all we have to do is figure out what the heck ‘Construction Chic’ means.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



dwalter | 11:56AM (Fri, Jul 22, 2011)

I had to look this up. According to Wikipedia, Jay Leno owns about 200 vehicles, and LeMay once had over 3,000! Wow.


AutoHistory | 12:28PM (Fri, Jul 22, 2011)

I can't even imagine how much it would cost to store that many cars, let alone maintain them. From vampires to autos, it seems like everything is so much more glamorous in the pacific northwest.

  • AutoHistory

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