Grand Junction, CO
To have our minds occupied with something other than arrangements, Tyler and I paid a visit to a car museum, Allen Unique Autos.
I had noticed it on the Grand Junction visitors’ website. The museum takes its name from its owner, Tammy Allen. Prior to our visit, I had never heard of her, but with some 100 cars in her collection, she is obviously a player in that arena. A little bit of research on the web revealed she had worked on the board of directors of her dad’s company, VECO. VECO was an oil pipeline service company based in Alaska. I found it interesting that VECO was sold to CH2M Hill, a company I have been working with at the Embassy in Georgetown.
According to what I saw on the web; many, if not all, of the vehicles are available for rental. I am fairly certain I could not afford any of them.
The building is situated on a fairly large piece of land in western Grand Junction. That allows for ample parking. The building is fairly new; therefore, rather attractive for an industrial building.
Upon entering the facility one can immediately tell it is very well cared for. The lobby area has a gas fireplace, several nice chairs in a seating area, the ticket desk, and several Allen Unique Autos gift item for sale. Our entry was $8 each.
Just before entering the museum, the ticket agent recommended we pick up an exhibit book. There were several, one-inch thick, spiral bound books that provide details on many of the vehicles. Tyler took one for our tour.
In addition to the lobby area, the building has three other major divisions; prime display area, the high-bay storage area, and a lounge area. Above the prime display area there are the private offices and a storage area.
When we entered the prime display area we saw a 1938 Cadillac V-16 and a 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton. Both of them were black and they were polished to a mirror finish. The Cord was a very sexy car for its time, even sporting retractable headlamps. Together, those two cars are worth nearly $1 million.
The next car that caught our eye was a lime-green, 1950 Mercury. It was named “Wasabi” for color reasons. Oddly enough there was a matching pair of women’s high heel shoes on top of the air cleaner. This is very obviously a custom car. The roof had been lowered by about five inches. The value of this car may be between $40,000 and $50,000.
Tyler and I both spotted the skull shifter knob in the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Custom Coupe. For some reason that skull just seemed to scream “muscle car!” I think this one weighs in at around $40,000.
The silver 1940 Ford Sedan Deluxe was a real eye-catcher too. The lines seem to be so classic. Like all of the other vehicles, this $25,000 car was polished to a mirror finish.
Next was the 2008 Dodge Viper Hurst at around $76,000. This is another of those extreme muscle cars. It is a beautiful car, but as I get older I have to wonder if I could possibly get in and out of such a low-slung car. I don’t know, I guess if I could afford the car I could probably afford to hire someone to help!
Another of the many muscle cars was the 1999 Shelby Series 1. The price of $90,000 to $100,000 is just one more reason why my cars are of the “flabby” variety not the “muscle” variety. Quite frankly, I don’t remember seeing this particular model before.
The last vehicle we looked at in the prime area was the 1963 JFK Pontiac Bonneville Ambulance. It was the car used in Dallas to transport JFK’s body back to Air Force 1. I know it is a piece of history, but it really did not do much for me. As such a unique vehicle, I really have no idea of its value on today’s market.
We walked out into the storage area. We were stunned at the number of cars. Many of them, with the help of car lifts, were stacked two-high. By far, the vast majority of the cars in her collection were housed here.
One simply could not miss the “screaming” pink 1957 Elvis Cadillac. Based on the name, I can only imagine it was one of the many Cadillacs that Elvis bought for friends and fans. All of that and the fact it is customized probably gives a value of $50,000 to $60,000.
A favorite of mine was the 1947 Cadillac Custom Woody Wagon. I thought it was some very good craftsmanship. That was a very cool looking car. It is probably valued at $50,000 to $60,000.
I was reminded of my uncle JR when I saw the 1957 BMW Isetta 300, a $40,000 to $50,000 car. He used to have one when I was a young boy. It was impracticle on several levels; it has only three wheels, just two seats, and the entire front of the car opens as the only door. Even with all of those faults it is apparently still very sought after by collectors.
The driver of the 1938 Buick Brewster Town car Sedan really go the short end of the stick. While the passengers rode in comfort in the enclosed rear cabin, except for the windscreen the driver was totally exposed to the elements. Regardless, it is an elegant car and, at $60,000, rather pricey too. However, even pricier was the $900,000 1933 Chrysler Imperial CL Sedan. Unfortunately, the only part of that car I photographed was the hood ornament!
By far one of the most unique vehicles was the 1956 Messerschmitt KR175. It is a three-wheeled cross of a car and a motorcycle. I had not heard of these before. With something around $50,000 I could have taken it home.
Another car I remember fondly is the 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T. If only I had purchased one back in the day, I could cash it in for some $80,000 today!
Other vehicles I liked and my price estimates:
- 1953 Ford F-100, $35,000
- 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, $100,000
- 1928 Ford Model A, $25,000
- 1962 Jaguar XK-E, $100,000
- 2007 Rolls Royce, $300,000
- 1934 Ford Model 40
For those keeping track, I have listed 21 vehicles at a total value of nearly $3.2 million. I shudder to think what the value of her entire collection might be.
I would recommend this museum to all car lovers.