HomeCar CultureNational Automobile Museum torched by arsonist, suspect held

National Automobile Museum torched by arsonist, suspect held


The Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth trike High Flyer was scorched in the arson fire | National Automotive Museum
The Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth trike High Flyer was scorched in the arson fire | National Automotive Museum

Police have arrested a suspect in the arson fire at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada, where there was damage to the lobby as well as to an Ed “Big Daddy” Roth custom trike that was on display.

Timothy Gray, 47, is being held by Reno police on suspicion of setting the museum fire as well as several other blazes in the area. The arson attacks were described as random and police say the suspect has not revealed a motive.

According to police, the fire started around 2:45 a.m. last Friday morning when the arsonist smashed the glass front door at the museum and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. An automatic sprinkler system doused the fire before the flames could spread.

The custom trike, a VW-powered Roth creation named High Flyer, was parked near the entrance and sustained serious but repairable damage.

The museum is  closed while cleanup and repairs are being done. It is expected to reopen June 30.

The National Automotive Museum houses more than 200 vehicles, most of them from the once-massive collection of the late Reno casino magnate Bill Harrah.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. What could possess a person to try to destroy something like this, in my opinion he would have to be mentally disturbed.

  2. There are people that get their kicks from damaging valuable things. The museum is full of valuable items. It is definitely a mental issue.

  3. It doesn’t have to be a mental issue. some people are just pure evil. This guy is an excellent example of pure evil.

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