LeMay America’s Car Museum Grand Opening HD Video

The doors to LeMay America’s Car Museum opened on June 2, 2012. This gem features 165,000 square feet of vehicles and memorabilia, a must see if you’re even remotely interested in the art of the automobile.

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Tacoma, WA is hardly the center of the automotive universe but it is where Herald LeMay set up his trash collection business.  Yes, you have garbage to thank for this amazing collection of over 3,000 vehicles. About 350 will be shown at any time.  Watch the video to see the late Mr. LeMay proudly walking through his collection largely housed then in an old school.

Cars were tucked away in every nook and cranny of the old military boy’s school, some even stashed in the shower room.  Harold collected everything, gas signs, pumps, motorcycles, busses, and tractors.  If it moved (or was even remotely related to things that did) he collected it.  Cars and collectables were scattered about in over 50 building in the Seattle Tacoma area.

Harold LeMay died in 2000 at the age of 81 but it was obvious to his family that the extensive collection of cars needed to be shared with the world.

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Thank goodness his wife Nancy, and President and CEO David Madeira decided- against considerable odds- to create this grand vision.  Madeira’s accomplished life alone could be made into a movie (one that few would believe). So could the odyssey of creating the museum, which began just as the economy collapsed in historic fashion.  So, when you cast your eye upon it for the first time, know that it’s what tenacity looks like in physical form.

There’s a staggering amount of transportation under the sleek roof, but LeMay America’s car museum isn’t just about what’s inside.  There’s a great lawn perfect for a concours and a showcase space out front where on opening day a mighty fine collection of Mercedes gullwings were holding court.

The ties to this collection are worldwide. One of the many people who made this happen is a lover of American cars, Italian Nicola Bulgari.  Yes, that Bulgari, of BVLGARI jewelry.

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Obviously there are all sorts of cars on display racing, classic, luxury, muscle and everything in between.  But there’s also the cars that many of us grew up with, which may not be significant to collectors, but they bring back a lot of memories from people walking through.

It’s impossible to name the hundreds of contributors and volunteers that made this museum a reality.  If you love cars LeMay America’s Car Museum is a place, a shrine really, that you’ll have to visit. The Seattle Tacoma area is a beautiful place for a vacation, full of amazing sites and world-class resorts, cuisine wine, and beer.  So if you can sell your spouse on a vacation in the Northwest, a day in this amazing rotating art collection will be one you won’t forget.

PHOTO GALLERY BELOW COURTESY OF LEMAY AMERICA’S CAR MUSEUM

4 Comments

  1. mcaanda says:

    I have had the pleasure to have been to the LeMay “open house” a great number of times to admire his collection; it really is something to behold even for those who are not car buffs. While open for one day a year I will say that there was SO many cars and memorabilia to admire, I always felt rushed to see it all.

    Almost all his vehicles were stored hubcap to hubcap and bumper to bumper which did not allow for one to really take in the essence and caliber of the vehicles he had on display. I commented early on during the first visit that it would be great to be able to view his collection in an open air arena. I think it is fabulous that the LeMay foundation was able to pull this off and do so in an extraordinarily classy fashion.

    While unfortunately I no longer reside in the PNW, you better bet your britches this will be on the “to do” list when I head back home.

    [ side note ]
    Tom – great site and even better reviews. Love the TP rolls storage capacity for real world usage. Keep the great work.
    [ /side note ]

  2. DinoParks says:

    what’s the design inspiration for the building? Sure is beautiful on the inside, the cars too.

    • TV says:

      I’ve heard it’s a car fender but it looks like a hood scoop to me. I’ll ask the LeMay folks and get back on that.