THE AUTO COLLECTIONS IS THE BEST DEAL IN LAS VEGAS
The Auto Collections is a 125,000 square foot classic car museum in Las Vegas NV chocked full of gorgeous classic cars of every ilk. But it’s also a classic car showroom, and you can buy these cars, they’re almost all for sale! And it’s free, did I mention that? Most things in Vegas cost the bucks, but there are a few stellar entertainment values out there, and The Auto Collections is one of them. Located on the 5th floor of the parking garage at the Linq Hotel & Casino (which is across from Caesar’s Palace) the cars are well presented, not over-crowded, arranged in an artful fashion (not just lined up warehouse-style), with lots of room to move around them and get a good look, or in my case, take some great pictures.
HISTORY OF THE AUTO COLLECTIONS
Reno gaming legend Bill Harrah had one of the world’s largest and finest car collections, housed in Sparks NV (next to Reno) which was open to the public for decades. I saw it in 1967 when I was just 12. Today, what is left of it is now housed at the National Automobile Museum in Reno. When Harrah died in 1978, most of the collection was sold off, and Ralph Engelstad, another gaming industry giant, bought a large portion of it. He had also just purchased the run-down Flamingo Capri hotel & casino on the Vegas Strip, which he refurbished and built into the Imperial Palace. Included in his construction plans was this enormous 125,000 square-foot space for his newly-acquired 250-car collection. He opened it to the public and it was a staple of Las Vegas car culture until he died in 2002. The Palace changed hands, is now part of Caesar’s empire, and was completely remodeled and renamed LINQ Hotel & Casino. The Auto Collection, as it was called, had dwindled over the years, parts being sold off. Several investors stepped in, bought a large portion of the collection, both for preservation and investment. They reopened under the name “The Auto Collections” (with an “S” on the end) to differentiate themselves with that prior entity. And the cars today are much more mainstream classics than the ultra-rare collector cars Engelstad owned (Hitler’s staff car, etc.). And talk about cars, over 140 are on display today, with a nice mix of classics, antiques, prewar, postwar, hot rods, special-ineterst cars, muscle cars and a wide range of other stuff. Of course, we’re all about American Muscle Cars here, and The Auto Collections does not disappoint.
NEARLY EVERYTHING IS FOR SALE AT THE AUTO COLLECTIONS
Today, The Auto Collections is a classic car dealership and consignment store. According to General Manager Rob Williams, about 90% of the 140-or-so cars are for sale. About 40% of those have been consigned for sale by their owners. The other 60% is owned by the Collection, but either way, they’re for sale and you can buy them. They seem to be very selective about the cars they take on, because nearly all of them were flawless. Lots of Big Blocks, Hemis and other high-value models, but also plenty of super-clean small block cars as well, along with just about everything else you can think of.
ABOVE: This SubLime ’71 Dodge Challenger convertible has an H-code 340/auto with factory air and the Rally Dash, and is going for $85,000.
BELOW: This impeccable 1967 Corvette roadster with 435-horse 427 and close-ratio 4-speed is $175,000.
ABOVE: Here’s another 1968 GT350 convertible, also stunning, asking $149,500.
BELOW: This clean 1969 Olds 442 with numbers-matching 455 and factory air is selling for $95,000.
ABOVE: Concourse-grade 1968 Shelby GT350 convertible carries an asking price of $125,000.
BELOW: And of course, there’s “Eleanor”.
ABOVE: This drop-dead-gorgeous big block ’67 Vette has the 427 Tri-Power, close-ratio 4-speed, factory side pipes, both tops and more, for $145,000. VISIT THE AUTO COLLECTIONS WHEN IN VEGAS
If you’re a car nut like I am, and if and when you ever go to Las Vegas, make a point of visiting The Auto Collections at the LINQ on the Strip in Vegas, right across from Caesar’s. Whether you’re looking to buy a classic car, or sell one (remember, they take consignments), or like me, you just want to ogle all these gorgeous machines for an hour or two, there is no better value around, because…it’s FREE! And, even if you’re just there to gawk, they won’t bug you or make you feel funny about it. They welcome visitors just to come and look at the cars, and their friendly staff will answer questions, and if it’s not too busy, may even take their time to walk you around and show you the cars. It’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. And you might just end up driving away in a new…old car. They are open Monday through Saturday 10am to 5pm, closed on Sundays. Their actual physical address is 3535 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, and their phone number is (702) 794-3174. Or visit their website at www.autocollections.com.
OTHER FREE CAR GUY STUFF TO DO WHILE IN VEGAS
You’re not going to believe this, but The Auto Collections is just the tip of the iceberg for free stuff to do if you’re a car guy or gal. Absolutely FREE. Here are just 2 more that I checked out:
COUNT’S KUSTOMS CAR MUSEUM – This is where they film the History Channel TV show “Counting Cars” and has 40-or-so cars & bikes they’ve built on the show + some of Danny’s personal cars.
CARROLL SHELBY HERITAGE CENTER This is sacred ground. Step into the actual factory where they build Continuation Cobras and wicked Mustang Super Snakes. Go on your own or on one of the free tours they offer daily.