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The motherlode of barn finds that is actually a wacky museum


#1

Like most car collectors, Harold LeMay started out small by bringing home something that caught his eye and joining a local club. As the story goes, the car in question was a Ford Model T, but Harold had mistakenly signed on with a club for Model A owners.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/10/16/the-motherlode-of-barn-finds-that-is-actually-a-wacky-museum

#2

This place is a treasure, and it looks exactly as I remember seeing it back around 2005, when I was living in Washington. Being in an old school gives the collection a kind of eerie feel. It’s as if you’d stumbled across something frozen in time and kept secret, rather than something spotlighted and put on a pedestal, as in a typical museum. Most striking to me was the gymnasium, with row upon row of “regular” American cars lined up, as if in a parking lot and just waiting to be driven home when the big game was over.


#3

Funny LeMay’s collection would come up.
When I was a kid in high school I did the outside sales for an auto parts store called Raudenbush Motor Supply. LeMay was one of my customers. One day, Harold LeMay took me around just a portion of his cars, I was in heaven. He was astounded that for a young kid (I was 17 at the time) knew so much about so many cars.

What can I say. I’m a car guy. My Grand Dad & Uncle’s shop buddies were Lance Reventlow, Phill Hill, Jim Hall, , Vic Edelbrook, Art Early & the Trako “Wiz kids” can’t remember their names… Coons & Traver I think. I remember the wiz kids because it made me laugh. Any a car guy through and through.


#4

I have been to this facility about 2 years ago with my wife. We really enjoyed the formal display areas but for me the more obscure warehouse areas were heaven. We took the tour and the tour guide said at the start that if anyone in the crowd knew anything about the cars, please add to the tour because we are all always learning. I have always been a car nut and have a pretty large automotive library. Unlike many who own books, I have read all of them and some more than once. I did in fact contribute to the narrative along the tour to the discernment of some of the others on the tour. At the end the actual tour guide asked if I at some point would like to come and conduct a tour. Great people and had a really good time. I don’t think my wife would be willing to come along the next time. I could be there literally for days.


#5

Harold and Nancy used to open their home in Parkland the first or last, I can’t remember, Saturday in August every year. There were buildings filled with cars mostly, military vehicles, fire trucks, & other things that he had collected, plus vehicles parked around the buildings. It would take the better part of the day to see it all and the best part was Harold was out there in his coveralls giving the kids a ride around the yard in several of his old Crosley fire trucks. I was also told that everything on the property also ran! I remember the key was in every vehicle. He also had helpers running a couple of single cylinder steam engines. I believe one was running a saw and cutting wood and the other was hooked to a splitter splitting wood. This was all open for free with volunteers from local Car Clubs helping. You just walked around on your own. There were several climate controlled rooms that housed some very expensive cars that he had bought from Harrah’s collection. Then one year I had come over and parked a couple of blocks from his house and was walking when an old 1934 Ford school bus stopped and ask if I wanted a ride over there. I said “sure” and the driver said “hop on”. When we got to the front gate of LeMay’s house there was a line of people waiting and when the bus stopped and the driver opened the door, people started getting on, so thought O.K. I’ll stay on and see where they are all going. Lo and behold it took us to Marymount. I could not believe my eyes, there were old cars, trucks, semi trucks, fire trucks, an old patty wagon from NYPD, and that was just outside. Inside the buildings, gym, and even the shower room were filled with old cars. I spent the entire day going through everything. I have gone to Harrah’s collection in Reno and some other car collections, but everything LeMay had just blew me away. And, Harold and Nancy opened it all for Free! The new Museum dose not even have a 1/4 of his vehicles.