National Automobile Museum

The National Automobile Museum is a museum in Reno, Nevada. Most of the vehicles displayed are from the collection of William F. Harrah. The museum opened on November 5, 1989.[1]

National Automobile Museum
Entrance on Lake St
EstablishedNovember 5, 1989; 34 years ago (1989-11-05)
LocationReno, Nevada, U.S.
Coordinates39°31′33″N 119°48′35″W / 39.52586°N 119.80960°W / 39.52586; -119.80960
TypeAutomobile museum
Collection size200+ cars
Automotive Research Library

History edit

William F. Harrah collected approximately 1,450 automobiles, which he stored inside warehouses in Sparks, Nevada. It was the world's largest collection of historic automobiles, and was open to the public.[2] When Harrah died in 1978, Holiday Inn acquired his hotel-casino company and the automobile collection.[citation needed] In 1981, Holiday Inn announced that it would sell the entire collection, a decision that received some opposition. Nevada governor Robert List attempted to delay the sale while working on a plan to have the state enact legislation that would save the collection. Businessman Thomas Perkins led a group that was interested in purchasing the collection.[citation needed] Both efforts to save the collection failed. However, a nonprofit organization was formed that ultimately built the museum. Holiday Inn donated 175 of Harrah's automobiles to the group and sold the rest of the collection through three auctions in the mid-1980s. Private owners donated another 60 vehicles.[citation needed] The museum opened on November 5, 1989 in downtown Reno, Nevada.[1]

Collection edit

The museum has over 200 cars[3] spread over four galleries.[4] Gallery 1 showcases cars built during the 1890s & 1900s, Gallery 2 features cars from the 1910s to 1930s, Gallery 3 the 1930s through to the 1950s, and Gallery 4 displays cars from 1950 onward.[4] Gallery 4 also includes race cars. Each gallery is linked by a themed "street", featuring vehicles as well as faux shop fronts.

Celebrity owned cars include:[5]

Movie featured cars include:[7]

The Golden DeLorean at the National Automobile Museum

The collection includes examples from marques such as: Auburn, Bugatti, Cord, Duesenberg, Ferrari, Franklin, Jaguar, K-R-I-T, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Pierce-Arrow, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, and Stutz.[8] Also on display is one of three 24kt gold plated DeLoreans built for American Express, a "Jerrari", a Jeep Wagoneer fitted with a V-12 Ferrari engine and formerly used for winter driving by William F. Harrah, and the only surviving prototype of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car. The one-of-a-kind Phantom Corsair is also displayed at the museum.

The museum has been named in the 'Top Ten Museums' by Car Collector magazine, one of "America's Five Greatest Automobile Museums" and one of the top sixteen auto museums in the world by AutoWeek, and has been repeatedly selected as the best museum in Northern Nevada by Nevada Magazine's annual reader's poll.

References edit

  1. ^ a b Taylor, Michael (February 25, 2007). "The Last of Harrah / Enough of Reno tycoon's car collection is left to fill a museum". SFGate. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  2. ^ "National Automobile Museum | History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places Smithsonian Magazine". Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  3. ^ History tab at
  4. ^ a b Museum Map at
  5. ^ Modern Street tab Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine at
  6. ^ "John Wayne's 1953 Corvette #51".
  7. ^ Film Noir tab Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine at
  8. ^ Auto/Vehicle collection tab Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine at

External links edit