The quaint and wonderful Museum Of Speed in central Florida’s Mt. Dora community has closed its doors to the public, the building has been sold, and its inventory is being readied for dismantling, sale, and auctions.
The museum, a six-time winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate Of Excellence, has been operating in its location for 19 years, a compact 6,800-square-foot Art Deco building that was once full of automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles and automobilia.
It is a collection of Americana that includes star guitars, a whole squadron of mannequins in period dress and uniforms, antiques of every imaginable kind, hundreds of vintage tin and neon signs, and models. We’ve never seen so much stuff in such a small space.
The museum has always operated as an adjunct to the company’s real business, Classic Dream Cars, a company that has bought and sold thousands of classic cars since the business opened in 1989.\
Kerry Bogard, 75, the founder/owner/operator of the museum, spent 23 years in radio station management before turning his attention to cars. He designed and built the building in Mt. Dora in 2000 after starting his business in the Palm Beaches in 1989 and operating at four previous locations.
“I love what I do, and I wanted to share the antiques,” he said.”It’s kind of a long, gnarly story. I just kept tiddlywinking cars and putting all the car money back into the collection. It started in my garage, and just kept getting bigger and bigger.”
He said Classic Dream Cars was all about buying and selling rare, unique, low-mileage, all original, matching-numbers vehicles and dealing with serious collectors.
During the recession, when, for example, Corvette prices fell through the floor, Bogard discovered that there were funeral directors all over the country looking for vintage, quality hearses and flower cars, so be bought and sold about 30 of those until the usual collector market came back.
Bogard, who has operated the museum pretty much on his own all these years with a few volunteers, said it is time to retire and enjoy his hobby from a different perspective.
He will keep about a dozen of the cars at home in his eight-car garage, along with some of the signage and some of the neon, and everything else will be sold off until the building is empty. He said the new owner will use the Art Deco building as a mountain bike retail and repair shop.
If you’re interested in buying anything you see in the photos, Bogard is interesting in selling, and he said he’s there every day at (352) 385-1945, (352) 385-0049 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. But if you’re serious, you’d better hurry.