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.
“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.
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.
“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.”