Automotive Museums

VIA readers share their favorite places to see vintage vehicles in Nevada, Utah, Washington, California, and Oregon.

Classic car at Reno’s National Automobile Museum

Classic cars shine at Reno’s National Automobile Museum.

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AUTO COLLECTIONS AT THE IMPERIAL PALACE
Las Vegas. "It's really a showroom above the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino's parking structure," says Carol Gilbert of Palo Alto, Calif. "But you don't have to buy—just view a changing display of antique and classic autos, muscle cars, and hot rods." (702) 794-3174, autocollections.com.

BLACKHAWK MUSEUM
Danville, Calif. "This place is so elegant it's easy to imagine you're a mogul or a movie star," says Carol Gilbert of Palo Alto, Calif. "It combines ‘international treasures' with art and technology displays. And because it's in a shopping center, you can make a day of it." (925) 736-2277, blackhawkmuseum.org.

BROWNING-KIMBALL CLASSIC CAR MUSEUM
Ogden, Utah. "A great museum that focuses on the era of running boards and rumble seats," says Valerie Sargent of Riverton, Utah. "Vehicles range from a 1901 single-cylinder Oldsmobile to a 1930 16-cylinder Cadillac." (801) 393-9886, theunionstation.org/carmuseum.html.

HAROLD E. LEMAY MUSEUM
Tacoma, Wash. "The book Guinness World Records once listed LeMay's private automobile collection as the planet's largest," says Joel Hayflick of Palo Alto, Calif. "A related museum is acquiring vehicles dating from 1903, including virtually every U.S. make. Hundreds are on display." (253) 779-8490, lemaymuseum.org.

HAYS ANTIQUE TRUCK MUSEUM–HEIDRICK AG HISTORY CENTER
Woodland, Calif. "See how things were done before your car's GPS unit could pinpoint your location," says Noah Kameyer of Woodland. "You'll be amazed by the antique agricultural equipment here, as well as a separate collection that takes you back through the history of trucking." (530) 666-9700, truckmuseum.org.

MONTANA AUTO MUSEUM
Deer Lodge, Mont. "Billboards tout this place for miles around, and it's everything they claim," writes Alison Mueller of Orem, Utah. "With more than 150 vehicles covering the history of the automobile from 1886 to 1972, it has treasures from early Fords to police wagons to muscle cars. Well worth the drive to Deer Lodge." (406) 846-3111, pcmaf.org/auto.htm.

NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
Reno. "The finest collection I've seen," says Charles McIntosh of Carson City, Nev. "It starts with vintage one of-a-kinds and unfolds in four galleries. Among the Packards and Rolls-Royces is a 1936 Mercedes Type 500K roadster—perhaps the most beautiful car ever built." (775) 333-9300, automuseum.org.

PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
Los Angeles. "Something for everyone," promises Sunny Iboshi of Hillsboro, Ore. "Movie buffs love the Hollywood gallery and young folks love the Hot Wheels exhibit. My favorite is the Streetscape, where I'm sure I've smelled warm doughnuts on the Helms Bakeries truck—a cherished childhood memory." (323) 930-2277, petersen.org.

TOWE AUTO MUSEUM
Sacramento. "One peek inside this museum and you'll understand our country's love affair with cars," writes Steve Freund of Vallejo, Calif. "You'll find everything from a 1904 Ford to a 1954 Cadillac Coupe DeVille to a 2003 fuel cell–powered Mercedes." (916) 442-6802, toweautomuseum.org.

WESTERN ANTIQUE AEROPLANE & AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM
Hood River, Ore. "A treasure trove for enthusiasts," writes Sharon Hill of Salem, Ore. "Tended by a welcoming and knowledgeable staff, this incredible collection of cars, trucks, airplanes, and related memorabilia can keep you busy for hours. As you approach and park, watch for spectacular views of Mounts Hood and Adams." (541) 308-1600, waaamuseum.org.

Photography courtesy National Automobile Museum/The Harrah Collection

This article was first published in March 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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