A Tucker 48 shines at the LeMay museum.
You might say Harold LeMay had a thing for old cars and motorcycles.
A Tacoma, Wash., entrepreneur who made his fortune in the garbage collection business, LeMay amassed more than 3,000 vintage vehicles before his death in 2000, creating what the Guinness Book of World Records has called the world’s largest privately owned collection of automobiles. You can see over 400 of them—the cream of the crop—during guided tours of the LeMay Museum, located on the 87-acre, parklike grounds of a former military academy in Spanaway, about 13 miles south of Tacoma.
The vehicles on display range from early-20th-century put-puts with brass fittings to muscle cars of the 1970s. Among the highlights of the two-hour tour are a 1937 Cord 812 Westchester, a 1948 Tucker 48 (one of only 51 built), and a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray.
"We have lots of cars that were fancy and expensive in their day," says LeMay’s wife, Nancy, who continues to add to the collection, "but also Fords, Chevys, Plymouths. For many of our visitors, it’s a stroll down memory lane." Information: (253) 536-2885, www.lemaymuseum.org.
Photography courtesy LeMay Museum
This article was first published in January 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.