A new mecca for historic auto buffs in–of all places–Tacoma, Washington

A bit of travel news closer to home (for me, anyway). In Tacoma, Washington, thirty miles south of Seattle in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, is a brand-new museum which has become a pilgrimage site for historic auto enthusiasts. The one-month-old facility, called America’s Car Museum (ACM), showcases what was once the world’s largest private collection of rare cars.

The collection was amassed by wealthy Tacoma businessman Harold LeMay over many decades. By 1997, LeMay’s collection was cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest private auto collection in the world with 2,200 vehicles. Following his death the LeMay family decided to open the hoard to the public, and ten acres of land next to the Tacoma Dome was developed into a campus including a four-story, 165,000-sq.-ft. museum.

On June 2nd of this year the LeMay collection was put on display for the first time in its new home. The ACM will ultimately house up to 350 of the most historic autos from the LeMay collection as well as donations from other private owners. Exhibits include classic and futuristic cars, fire engines, tanks, motorcycles, tractors, horse-drawn wagons, and related “automobilia”, as historic auto enthusiasts call it. State-of-the-art racecar simulators and exhibits on alternate propulsion systems—including electricity, hydrogen, diesel, natural gas and bio-fuel powered vehicles— are also part of the experience.

The museum aims to become a gathering place where enthusiasts from around the globe can enjoy the previously private collection.  The ACM expects about 500,000 visitors a year and plans to develop a 15,000 sq. ft. education center/library to promote automotive history, restoration, and preservation.

For those interested in the ACM, info can be found at http://www.lemaymuseum.org

Posted by | Comments Off on A new mecca for historic auto buffs in–of all places–Tacoma, Washington  | June 14, 2012
Category: North America, Notes from the collective travel mind

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