by Julie Engelhardt
click images to enlarge
Las Vegas auto museums honor America's love affair with cars showcasing some very hot and/or classic automobiles at the Auto Collections at the Imperial Palace Hotel and the Carroll Shelby Museum.
America's love affair with the automobile certainly hasn't escaped Las Vegas. Like Los Angeles, Las Vegas is a town extremely dependent upon four-wheel transportation—from our own cars and SUVs, to taxicab service, to stretch limousines.
Las Vegas has two museums that honor that love affair, showcasing some very hot (appropriate for Las Vegas!) automobiles.
The Auto Collections
Car enthusiasts will have a field day at the Auto Collections at what was the Imperial Palace Hotel, renamed in 2012 The Quad Resort & Casino.
The Quad is on the east side of the strip, between the Flamingo Hotel and Harrah's.
The Auto Collections is on the fifth floor of the hotel's parking garage in a 125,000 square foot showroom where an ever changing display of over 250 vehicles can be found on the floor at any time.
Even if you aren't a car fanatic, your motor will definitely be purring after seeing what is available. The graceful lines, the craftsmanship, the overall beauty of these carsnot to mention the price tagsgrab your attention immediately.
The Auto Collections at Imperial Palace is much more than a car museum. This is an actual showroomthe cars are available for purchase or trade. Imagine coming to Las Vegas for a weekend of sun and fun, and driving home in a Porsche 924 Carrera GTR Race Car!
The great thing about this museum is that the exhibit constantly changes. So, one day you might find a Duesenberg J Holbrook Sedan rubbing shoulders with a Ford Thunderbird Convertible, and the next time see a Jaguar E-type Roadster lined up by a Pontiac GTO. You are also likely to see Rolls-Royce Phantoms, Shelby Mustangs, Packards, Masteratis—the list goes on and on and on. You really need to visit the showroom in order to get the full impact.
Commercial vehicles of bygone days make up the collection from time to time. They include antique buses, military transports, taxisincluding the 1908 French model that appeared in the movie version of My Fair Lady, fire engines, gasoline trucks, delivery trucks and vans, dump trucks, and pickup trucks.
A little star struck? Then check out the 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Special 60 driven by Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits; Al Capone's 1930 V-16 Cadillac; a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet currently owned by Wayne Newton; the 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback driven by Nicolas Cage in Gone in 60 Seconds; Howard Hughes' 1954 Chrysler New Yorker (because of his phobia about germs, Hughes installed a special air-purification system that cost more than the car itself and took up most of the trunk!); and a 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow, one of only three still in existence today.
Carroll Shelby Museum
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
Carroll Shelby is recognized as one of the automotive industry's greatest legends. Early in Shelby's career, his accomplishments as a race car driver included breaking land speed records at Bonneville in 1954 for Austin Healey and winning the 24-hour Le Mans in 1959 alongside teammate Roy Salvadori.
His performance cars, the Shelby Cobra and Shelby Mustangs made Carroll Shelby a household name. The Carroll Shelby Museum consists of a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility where the Cobras and the new Series 1 are being constructed. You will also find a showroom filled with 35 years' worth of Shelby performance cars.
The museum is open Monday thru Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm. Free tours of the production facility daily at 10:30am.
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