The city of Las Vegas is not known for being understated. It is the embodiment of glitz and glamor. So when you find an auto museum in town, you would be forgiven for thinking that it would be all about the outrageous end of the spectrum and the cable TV shows. Purple 0strich seats with neon orange piping and sequins. Dollar sign hood ornaments and chrome wheels sized for a Euclid. Psychedelic Ferraris and day glow Bentleys. And in some cases you would be correct. A few places listed under museum have half a dozen novelty vehicles as decoration for one of the Casino bars. The Auto Collections did not promise much more, as it indicated that most of the cars were for sale. It sounded more like the Volo Museum that we visited a few times. Entertaining, but hardly catering to Classic Velocity core interests. To add to the pre-conceived notion, it was on the fifth floor of a casino.
However, we are pleased to say that we were wrong. There was no neon paint or novelty cars anywhere. In fact, the only thing that sparkled was a Bradley GT, which had period correct brown metal flake paint. The rest of the collection was made up of a variety of quality cars, with a surprising number of German vehicles. First, the obvious. You should have guessed that there would be Porsches, but the models were a shock. No modern cars, but a perfect 11k mile 72 911E Targa, which had a commensurate lofty asking price of $250k. There was also a factory 924 GTR race car, one of 17 made. $375k would take that one home ! That sum of money could also buy a beautiful Pebble Beach shown 1939 Horch Phaeton in grey and black with red interior. At the other end of of the spectrum was an unrestored VW Super Beetle. A new VW Rabbit Cabriolet Wolfsburg Edition with 11 (yes, eleven) miles was not for sale.
A few Mercedes SLs were among the collection including a 1971, and a 1987, both in immaculate condition. There were also a couple of SSK Replicas. If those were too mundane, you could step up to the Sauber Mercedes Group C Prototype for a mere $750k. Not to be left out, Audi (although the Horch technically qualifies as well) was represented by a Quattro Trans Am car. Very Nice. BMW was only represented in the collection by a 1936 319 Cabriolet. All told, a healthy contingent of Teutonic machines. That is not to say that other Marques and nationalities were not well represented as well. Ford, Chevy, and Dodge had cars from the 50s to the heart of the muscle car era. MG, Morgan, and British Ford upheld British honor. In particular, there were 4 Ford RS2000 cars including an Evolution model. The curator clearly likes these Group B cars. Although a Ferrari, a Lamborghini Espada, and an Alfa Sprint Speciale were included, Lancia was the prevalent Italian marque. The cars ranged from an Appia, to a Delta Integrale (there goes the Group B theme again), to a Martini prototype. I am leaving out many other cars, but since many are for sale the museum is likely to look different whenever you visit. And that visit should be well worth it.
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One Reply to “Another Hidden Gem”
My timing in pursuing the classics has never been the best. One of the dream cars on my list for several decades has been the 280 SL Pagoda. Many years ago when I almost has enough set aside, the prices started to skyrocket and have been out of reach ever since. Not all that long ago, maybe four or five years, I could have purchased my friends ’82 911 SC for about $14K. I hesitated at the time, most likely pursuing a rare motorbike, then before I knew it, he sold the car before I had a chance to reconsider. Now, I see those models are now selling in the $30K range or more. Once again, beyond my budget, so a classic Porsche will most likely never see the inside of my garage. I better stick to the motorbikes.