Brand Spankin' New

Tacoma Debuts the Largest Automobile Museum in North America

See more than 300 vintage and luxury cars at Tacoma’s newly minted America’s Car Museum.

May 23, 2012


Tacoma glass artist Dale Chihuly’s color-blasted Museum of Glass gets a new neighbor next month with the opening of the LeMay-America’s Car Museum June 2. Located adjacent to the Tacoma Dome, the four-floor museum will house close to 350 cars, making it the largest automobile museum in North America.

To welcome its new crosstown cousin, Tacoma’s Museum of Glass has produced the Classic Heat Collection, a series of custom-made glass hood ornaments inspired by the automobile museum’s collection. Five of the sculptures will be on display at the car museum’s grand opening; the rest are currently being showcased at the glass museum.

The museum is the namesake of Harold LeMay, a Tacoma-based waste management magnate credited by the Guinness Book of World Records with having one of the world’s largest car collections (it once numbered into the thousands). After LeMay’s death in 2000, his widow’s efforts to preserve his beloved inventory grew into a city-supported mission to establish a non-profit museum devoted to America’s love affair with the automobile… anchored, of course, by the finest examples from LeMay’s collection.

See our slide show for a sneak peek at some of these amazing vehicles, among them: a 1919 steam-powered vehicle known as “The Flying Teapot”; the Lotus 35, a European Formula 2 race car; a 1906 open-air Cadillac; the Flintmobile, the prehistoric “automobile” driven by John Goodman in the 1994 film The Flintstones; and even a 1960 Lambretta scooter.

America’s Car Museum will be open seven days a week this summer. Admission is $14.

–Sara Gates

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