Las Vegas’ famed Auto Collections closing December 30

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Las Vegas’ famed Auto Collections closing December 30 | ClassicCars
1967 Ferrari 330 GTC prototype on display during a 2013 visit to The Auto Collections | Larry Edsall photos

After 36 years, during which it likely was the most-attended car museum in the world, The Auto Collections, a collector car dealership/museum at the Linq (formerly Imperial Palace) in Las Vegas is closing. The facility’s last day open to the public is December 30, said collection manager Rob Williams.

“It will be a sad day, for sure,” Williams said, “but it was time to move on. We’ve been here a long time.

Las Vegas’ famed Auto Collections closing December 30 | ClassicCars
In 2013, you could buy this 1961 Cooper Monaco Type 57 Mark II racer for $350,000

“Most of the cars are gone already,” he added. “We’ve been selling a lot of cars over the last few months. There are only about 60 still here.

Williams said a report earlier this week of a dispute over renewal of the lease with the hotel was incorrect. “This has been planned,” he said.

Originally known as the Imperial Palace Auto Collection, the collector car dealership disguised as a classic car museum was established in 1981 by Imperial Palace owner Ralph Engelstad and collection manager Richie Clyne, and has been housed in 65,000 square feet of an enclosed floor of the hotel’s parking garage on the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas’ famed Auto Collections closing December 30 | ClassicCars
Horn on 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Barker Torpedo Tourer formerly owned by Maharaja of Kotah

The collection became famous for its array of outlandish vehicles, including many owned by world leaders, including infamous dictators.

Rob Williams, son of Don Williams, the long-time car collector who runs the Blackhawk Collection in northern California, said that although the closing was planned, it will be a sad day. The Williams’ have been involved with the collection for the past 18 years.

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“We’ve met a few million people and have built relationships with people from all over the world,” he said.

Williams said the collection “definitely is a really nice dealership where we bought and sold cars, and a museum attraction for the hotel.”

Las Vegas’ famed Auto Collections closing December 30 | ClassicCars
1949 Delahaye 135MS Selborne roadster was priced at $350,000 in 2013

 

 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Does anyone know what happened to the cars that were collected at the Holiday Motel (not the Holiday Inn – Zimmerman lost that law suit) at one of the Hershey exits on the Pennsylvania Turnpike back in the 1970s?

  2. I’m from Wellington, New Zealand. I’m into veteran, vintage and classic cars an I visited this museum in 2000 while on a holiday to the USA. An amazing collection of cars.

    • I bought a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr V-12 sedan from Auto Collections in Las Vegas. It had been owned by James Hetfield the front man for Metallica. We still own it today and it is with us at our home in Meadows of Dan, Virginia

  3. It would really be nice if just one of theses articles had the facts correct and would make the clear distinction between Ralph Engelstad’s Auto Collection and the sales venue that was the auto collections. Ralph had a museum and the auto collections was just another used car lot and could never be compared to the original Imperial Palace Auto Collection! Oh by the by my husband was assistant curator of the original Imperial Palace Auto Collection 1985-2000 and was Director of advertising for the auto collections from opening in 2000 until 2003 at which time he resigned.

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