University gifted with $10 million car collection

Cal State Fullerton gets 15 cars to help fund scientific research

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Nicholas Begovich and some of the cars he and his wife donated to Cal State Fullerton | University photo

Nicholas and Lee Begovich have donated their car collection — 15 vehicles valued at $10 million — to California State University Fullerton. Funds from the sale of the vehicles will be used to support gravitational-wave, engineering and computer-science research, the school announced.

The Begovichs are long-time supporters of the school. A decade ago, they donated $1 million to the university’s art department. Nicholas is a retired engineer who was a vice president at Hughes Aircraft. Lee Begovich was a school teacher and is an art historian.

The donation was announced as part of the launch of the school’s “It Takes a Titan” fund-raising campaign.

Nicholas Begovich, 98, began tinkering with sports cars in the 1950s and bought many of his cars when they were brand new, the university said. Nameplates involved include Pegaso, Lamborghini, Talbot-Lago, Ferrari and DeTomaso.

“This incredible gift enables the renovation and expansion of the campus center and its capabilities, and also bolsters CSUF’s role in advancing humanity’s exploration of the universe,” physics professor Joshua Smith is quoted in the university’s news release.

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.

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