Three Amazing Private Sports Car Collections.

By: Thomas Hunter

There are literally thousands of sports car enthusiasts who have amassed impressive automobile collections. However, some collections stand out as truly amazing. Three collections, in particular, are very noteworthy and command the attention of any sports car fan.

Toad Hall

Toad Hall, the private collection of Bill Putman, features an assortment of sports cars dating back to the turn of the century. Although Putman’s collection emphasizes automobiles from British manufacturers, the products of manufacturers from other nations are also well represented.

At the Toad Hall collection, an enthusiast can marvel at historically important cars from Bentley, Lotus, Datsun, and many other makers. Even though the collection is diverse, all of the automobiles do share one common characteristic: every automobile shown at Toad Hall is painted red!

Toad Hall takes its name from the manor that plays a prominent role in the children’s literary classic The Wind in the Willow, which was later made into a popular Disney film. One need not, however, be a fan of children’s books to enjoy the masterfully assembled collection of automobiles at Toad Hall.

The LeMay Collection

Tacoma, Washington, in the United States can call itself home to the world’s largest collection of automobiles. The Guinness Book of World’s Records has certified the LeMay exhibit as the single largest known automobile collection.

Featuring over 3,000 automobiles and several thousand additional pieces of interesting artifacts from American history. If one were to name an interesting or desirable sports car, it would likely be found in LeMay’s massive collection. In addition to sports cars, the LeMay collection also displays other transportation from America’s past, including fire trucks and ambulances. Almost an automotive Smithsonian, the full collection cannot realistically be viewed in a single visit.

The LeMay began in the 1940s when an area waste-hauling magnate started scouring the area for interesting vehicles. Now, almost 60 years later, the collection has become a highly frequented area tourist attraction and plans are currently underway to build a new permanent home for the automobile-lover’s paradise near the Tacoma Dome.

The Ralph Lauren Collection

American icon Ralph Lauren is well known as a fashion designer and incredibly successful business mogul. He is also a passionate automobile collector and has made his amazing collection available for public viewing.

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts displayed the Lauren collection to the public. According to notes made available at the exhibition, Lauren began accumulating automobiles in the early 60s. Although he did not have plans to build a collection his passion for fine cars eventually led him to amass a great assortment of fascinating vehicles.

Lauren’s eye for good design transferred nicely from the fashion world to the automotive world. He gathered cars noted for their beauty, as well as for their performance. Rare Bugattis and Ferraris, for instance, pepper the collection

Performance, however, is still evident in the collection. The most recent addition to the Lauren collection, for instance, is a remarkable 1996 McLaren F1—a car known to easily exceed 225 mph.

Additionally, many of the cars in the Lauren collection have a special link to American history. Lauren is fond of cars with celebrity histories. A Porsche 500 Spider, the very car in which actor James Dean was killed, is featured in the collection. A Jaguar XK 120 Alloy Roadster from 1950, a car once enjoyed by one of the original Hollywood super couples, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, is there, too.

There are many amazing automobile collections. Every major metropolitan area, it seems, boasts at least one collection of note. Nonetheless, some collections stand out among the crowd. Any automotive enthusiast would be thrilled to set eyes on Toad Hall, to visit the extensive LeMay collection, or to marvel at Ralph Lauren’s private automobile collection.

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