The Legacy of Lucky LeMay

Driving around Tacoma you may notice more than the usual number of classic cars. The love of the automobile runs deep here. Tacoma is home to two museums devoted to the automobile and multiple car shows throughout the year. These are due, in large part, to the LeMay family.

Harold “Lucky” LeMay, who was voted the least likely to succeed by his high school class, started his garbage company with just one truck. He grew his operation, LeMay Enterprises, into one of the most flourishing businesses in the South Sound region.

Fueled by the success of the company, he and his wife Nancy began collecting cars in the 1960s. When Harold LeMay died in 2000, the couple had amassed over 3,000 vehicles—the largest collection of automobiles in the world. Recognized by many as a national treasure, the collection of cars, motorcycles and trucks spans the 20th century and features virtually every American make, as well as numerous foreign cars.

Vehicles weren’t the only things the husband and wife collected. The family rule was that if there was space in a building to store a car, that space would have a car. The nooks in the buildings, however, could be filled with other things. That agreement resulted in a number of smaller collections, such as salt-and-pepper shakers, Americana memorabilia, neon signs, hose nozzles, and over 2,000 dolls.

The LeMay Family Collection Foundation was born out of Harold LeMay’s dream of keeping his massive car collection together and in a place where others could appreciate it. In 1996 he began talking about opening a nonprofit museum that would allow the public to see his collection and keep it all together. In 2012, LeMay–America’s Car Museum opened in downtown Tacoma, just south of the Tacoma Dome. In addition, hundreds of LeMay’s cars are displayed at the historic 80-acre site of the LeMay Family Collection at Marymount, which opened in 1991.

If you are interested in vintage vehicles, you couldn’t come to a better place.

HILLARY RYAN

Tuner Cars Glow at America’s Car Museum

Seventeen cutting-edge passenger vehicles make up a new exhibit at America’s Car Museum, called “Tuners@ACM.” These modern cars are lightweight, personalized, and very technologically advanced. Tuner cars – just like the hot rods that preceded them in the 1940s and ’50s – have a history steeped in customization of engines, as well as chassis modification, suspension and structure, interiors, paint, and body. Changes range from mild to wild depending on the owner of the tuner car. Each owner is able to use the vehicle to express their own creativity and uniqueness.

“History has a way of repeating itself,” says the ACM Curator of Exhibitory, Scott Keller. “Just like early hot-rodders, the tuner subculture is primarily driven by young enthusiasts who look to convey their individuality through their automobiles.”

The tuner subculture Keller mentions, which traces its roots back to the 1970s, has since become a multibillion dollar industry and a beloved pastime for countless auto buffs. Tuners@ACM features some of the hottest examples of tuners– like APR’s RLMS, a 2018 VW Golf R homage to Touring Car Racing recently nominated as a Toyo Tires Top Build at SEMA.

“The automobile has ingrained itself as part of our society’s culture for more than 100 years,” Keller says. “Regardless of the canvas, the one thing that transcends time is that a car can truly be a work of art, limited only by the owner’s creativity. We are thrilled to be able to put such a display together for our visitors.”

The vehicles presented in Tuners@ACM are:

  • 1971 Datsun 240z
  • 1971 Nissan Skyline GT-X
  • 1972 Datsun 510
  • 1978 Toyota Cressida
  • 1982 Nissan 180sx
  • 1983 Mitsubishi Starion
  • 1992 Honda Civic Si
  • 1992 Mazda MX-5
  • 1999 Honda Civic Type-R
  • 2000 Audi S4
  • 2000 BMW M3 Wagon
  • 2003 Mitsubishi EVO
  • 2006 VW GTI
  • 2008 Nissan 350z
  • 2011 Subaru WRX STI
  • 2015 Nissan GTR
  • 2018 VW Golf R

For more information about other exhibits at America’s Car Museum, visit americascarmuseum.org.

LeMay Grit City

LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma hosted the Grit City Motor Show Cruise-In with 600 attendees. This free community event featured all makes and models of classic cars. Live interviews with Mark Greene of Cars Yeah was a main feature at the event. Food and beverages were offered by delicious food trucks & Thirst Responder beer garden.

Heroes of Bavaria – 75 Years of BMW Motorsport

On May 12th, America’s Car Museum (ACM) is bringing the “Heroes of Bavaria– 75 Years of BMW Motorsports” collection from the BMW Car Club of America Foundation to its location in Tacoma as a crowdfunding campaign. The seventeen iconic race cars in the display will celebrate and detail BMW’s storied motorsports legacy. There will be a Bavarian-themed grand opening celebration at ACM that evening to welcome the collection to the museum.

Donating to ACM’s crowdfunding effort will be rewarded with opportunities to extend the donator’s experience beyond what’s offered by typical automotive museums, including passes to the exhibit’s opening celebration, limited edition posters and books, private tours of the ACM collection, and the ability to “adopt-a-winner.” One lucky individual can also purchase an exclusive one-day experience at a BMW performance driving school, where they will be able to learn about the theory, physics and mechanics of performance driving.

“As proven by the extraordinary collection of race cars within Heroes of Bavaria exhibit, BMW rightfully earns the title of the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine.’ Their vehicles have been tried-and-tested on race tracks for the last 75 years,” says America’s Automotive Trust CEO Adam Langsbard. “We’re thrilled to be the first to display this unrivalled collection on the West Coast and share BMW’s many motorsports accomplishments with the hundreds of thousands guests who visit ACM each year.”

The festivities of the grand opening will include classic German food and drink as well as a live discussion moderated by ACM Master Collector Peter Gleason. The discussion will be held with several notable BMW figures, including:

  • Bill Auberlen, the winningest BMW factory race car driver in history
  • Erik Wensberg, M Brand Manager for BMW of North America
  • Tom Plucinsky, BMW Group Product and Technology Department Head

Tickets to the opening night include member discounts and are available at the Heroes of Bavaria page on ACM’s website. Also, a free limited edition commemorative poster is available for the first 150 people through the door.

If you aren’t able to attend the evening opening, ACM Curator of Exhibitory Scot Keller will be leading an exclusive early entry Curator Talk & Tour on the morning of May 13. He will delve into BMW’s history and provide expert insight to the remarkable vehicles on display.

“The Heroes of Bavaria exhibit celebrates the history of BMW racing by featuring noteworthy race cars, beginning with the infamous 328,” said Keller. “The two-liter 328 – arguably one of the most successful sports cars of the 1930s – is just one of example of BMW’s motoring legacy. It has achieved a class win in the celebrated Mille Miglia in 1938 and an overall victory in 1940.”

Other notable vehicles include the very first 1961 700 RS, a 1972 3.0 CSL Groupe 2 Rally Car – the only one of its kind – and a 2000 Williams Formula F1 driven by Ralf Schumacher in eight total races, achieving three podium finishes.

To donate to the “Bring the BMW Heroes of Bavaria to ACM” crowdfunding campaign, please visit:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bring-the-bmw-heroes-of-bavaria-to-acm-cars#/.

If   you’d like more information on the “Heroes of Bavaria” opening celebrations, go to americascarmuseum.org. by eric pylvanainen and martina preston

America’s Automotive Trust

The Future of America’s Automotive Heritage

classic-cars

“It’s important that vintage and modern collectible vehicles continue to be restored, driven and enjoyed,” says David Madeira, CEO of the new not-for-profit America’s Automotive Trust. The work of AAT, which was announced this summer, will be to ensure that “our nation’s automotive legacy is celebrated” and that the skills and knowledge necessary to sup-port the future of the collector community are transferred to the next generation.According to Madeira, AAT has four founding institutions: Le-May – America’s Car Museum, the RPM Foundation, Club Auto and Concours Club. He emphasizes that collaboration in strategic planning and programs reduces redundancies and facilitates the first concerted efforts to secure America’s automotive heritage. He adds that organizations interested in preserving America’s automotive legacy are welcome to join and benefit from AAT’s capabilities.Each of the founding organizations has a distinct role within AAT as part of the Trust’s larger heritage effort, as outlined by Madeira:

  • LeMay – America’s Car Museum: ACM is the repository for automotive treasures and a gathering place for enthusiasts, with educational programs for all ages, rotating exhibits and events.
  • RPM Foundation: Formerly known as the Hagerty Education Program at ACM, the foundation helps accelerate the growth of the next generation of automotive restoration and preservation craftsmen through formal training and mentorship.
  • Club Auto: Promoting America’s automotive legacy to a broader audience, Club Auto produces driving days, race events, track days and other activities for enthusiasts of collectible and modern vehicles.
  • Concours Club: Members of this high-level philanthropic organization are the ambassadors and advisers to the Trust, and are essential to ensuring a vibrant future for auto enthusiasts

“By creating an alliance of like-minded organizations, our vi-sion for continuing America’s rich automotive pastime can have a greater impact on the millions of collector car enthusi-asts around the globe,” concludes Madeira. “A coalition … is vital to securing America’s automotive heritage and building an endowment to support those that share in that vision.”

LEAH GROUT

For additional information:
americasautomotivetrust.org

America’s Car Museum’s Annual Pacific Northwest Concours d’Elegance, Best-of-Show

Best of ShowBEST IN SHOW

More than One hundred and fifty of the finest vintage automobiles in the U.S. converged upon LeMay – America’s Car Museum (ACM) for the annual Pacific Northwest Concours d ’Elegance.

Featured classes for the concours included early and significant BMWs and Ford Mustangs as well as flathead hot rods, “American tail fins,” pre-WWII classics, pre-1920 Brass Era cars and others. After judges scrutinized rows of cars on ACM’s Haub Family Show Field, a 1928 Isotta Fraschini Tipo SASS owned by Peter Boyle of Covington, Ohio, emerged as “Best of Show.”

“This Isotta is among the best of its breed,” said Madeira. “Given the stiff competition, we recognize how well-earned this award is.”

During the weekend, ACM presented its annual “Master Collector Award” on Peter Hageman, Al McEwan and Glenn Mounger – all renowned members of the international vintage vehicle collector community. “Each of these Master Collectors has made major contributions to the collector community through their involvements with the Pebble Beach Concours d‘Elegance, the Classic Car Club of America and countless other automotive events and organizations. They have also provided great service to the Museum helping us create the largest private auto museum in the country and major  tourist destination in the Pacific Northwest,” said Madeira. “It is with their counsel, advocacy and support that ACM has become more than just a car museum; it’s a cultural hotspot.”

Wolfe winnerBEST IN SHOW HONOREE

The concours also featured a 100-mile “Tour du Jour” around Puget Sound’s scenic back country. During Saturday evening’s sold-out Dinner d‘Elegance, ACM hosted a charity auction with a 2015 BMW i3, a new electric car donated by Supporting Sponsor BMW Northwest, as its centerpiece.

“America’s Car Museum works very hard to preserve the history of the automobile industry and embrace its future and we are proud to participate by providing the all-electric BMW i3 for auction at this event,” said Manfred Scharmach, CEO and president, BMW Northwest.

The auction raised funds for the Museum’s Hagerty Education Program which provides scholarships and grants to young people pursuing an education in collector car restoration. The Concours weekend raised $227,446, and its net proceeds will support the Hagerty Education Program at the Museum.

http://www.lemaymuseum.org/