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Vehicle Hobbyist Alert

Car Museum Opening in Scottsdale Pavilions

By Bill Gilmore, Society of Automotive Historians & Asst. Curator of the new Scottsdale International Automobile Museum

Phoenix Arizona is a great place to live if you love vintage vehicles. Its dry climate helps keep vehicles rust-free and its mild weather allows longer fall and spring car show seasons. You can pretty much cruise in your collector car or ride your motorcycle year-round here too. For vehicle enthusiasts, Phoenix is nirvana.

   During our brief winters, wealthy collectors from all over the world come to Phoenix every January to attend 7 vehicle auctions that sell over $150 million in collector cars in less than 2 weeks. Equally impressive, is that almost 300,000 spectators pay big bucks just to see these cool cars in person.

   Back in the summer of 2007, the Phoenix Art Museums exhibit called "Curves of Steel" averaged over a thousand people every day that braved the heat and paid an extra fee just to walk through their museum display of 22 collector cars.

  Then, if you add in all those who participate in Az Bike Week, or are involved in the various types of auto and motorcycle racing, plus the thousands of fans who attend the Valley’s 2 NASCAR races each year, you can see why Arizona has become world-famous for its diverse and extensive vehicle culture.

   There are also about 500 vehicle clubs and related vehicle organizations statewide too. Even the “Arizona Republic Newspaper” advertises “4-days of car coverage every week”. Phoenix has grown from a cow-town to a car-town with a year-round demand for vehicle related activities.

   I think that it’s about time that the 5-C’s of Arizona’s economy (copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate,) add two more C’s for “collector cars”. 

   I also think that the above demographics and data clearly show that the Phoenix metro area can now support a full-time car museum. Especially one organized as a community-interactive broad-based resource-center. All we needed was a coalition of car enthusiasts to turn this idea into a reality.

   Well, over the last couple of years I have had the honor and pleasure of working with several groups of dedicated car-folks trying to make this elusive dream come true. Finally, it appears to be happening.

   An eclectic mix of movers and shakers (to be named later) has coalesced to organize a car museum in the old Mervyn’s Department Store that was located in the Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center on Indian Bend Road just west of the Az-101 in Scottsdale Arizona.

   Many of you are already quite familiar with the Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center. Attending their Saturday cruise nights held for over 20 years at the McDonalds owned by Ferrari enthusiast Mark Kramer.

   The new GRG Scottsdale International Automobile Museum is located just south of that McDonalds and behind the 5 & Diner restaurant.

   The founders of the new GRG Scottsdale International Automobile Museum, (a not-for-profit 501(c) entity,) have a vision of creating a safe casual community-center and a home away from home for vehicle clubs, enthusiasts and families.

   We also want it to be a multi-purpose venue that will be both entertaining and educational, a complete neighborhood resource-center for school field trips, a place for events and meetings of business people, non-profits, seniors, scout troops, veteran groups, first responders and affinity groups of all types. The museum’s center area will be left open to display special exhibits, host receptions, banquets and more.

   We plan to have about 100 vintage vehicles on display at any given moment plus special exhibits, and this will not be your typical "old-fashion" car museum either with the same old vehicles on permanent display. To keep things fresh and exciting, this "new-fashion" museum will always have a constantly changing assortment of vehicles of all ages and types on short-term loan from local collectors, vehicle clubs and hobbyists that will encourage many return visits. This means that there will be opportunities for you to be able to display your own pride and joy for no more than 1 to 3 months in the museum. Watch your e-mail for more details about this unique program.

   Low admission fees, group rates and family discounts will help to keep folks coming back too. The new Scottsdale International Automobile Museum will break new ground and set new standards for what an American car museum can be. A museum of the people, by the people, and for the people in our beloved collector car hobby.

  We want you to feel that this is "your museum", and we want you and your vehicle club to be active participants in all the events happening here and we also want your input and opinions as to the direction and development of this museum. We are truly only limited by our imaginations on what we can do here.

   Upon opening in mid-December 2010, the museum will begin hosting club meetings, banquets, car and bike shows and exhibits, automotive related swap meets and auctions, lectures, sock hops, charity events, a gift shop with permanent indoor vendor spaces and so much more.

  So, stay tuned for more details. I will be sending out museum updates every few days now as we prepare to open to the public as soon as possible, now that we have all of our business licenses in order. We were just inspected and received our official "Certificate of Occupancy" on Monday, so we can now start moving in the museum exhibit vehicles.

  Please feel free to give me a call during the afternoon or evening or send me an e-mail to see about getting on our list to display your vehicle in the museum. The museum will also feature a month-long display of two different vehicle clubs every month so let me know if your club would like set up its very own month-long museum exhibit.

   The new Scottsdale International Automobile Museum promises to be a totally unique and exciting destination where today’s good times are surrounded by pleasant memories of the past.

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You can reach Bill at 602-230-7111, or you can e-mail him at: AzCarCrazy@aol.com.
   Bill owns a company called Automotive Research Services in Phoenix, and since 1987 has worked full-time as a collectable vehicle researcher and appraiser. He is a member of a number of vintage vehicle clubs and is also a long-time member of the Society of Automotive Historians and the National Association of Automobile Museums. Bill has lobbied on behalf of the collector car hobby at the State and Federal levels for over 20 years and is currently back on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council, a legislative watchdog group representing Arizona's car clubs.
  Bill has been asked to become Assistant Curator to Leo Gephart who will be Senior Curator and is a co-founder of the new Scottsdale International Automobile Museum which will be opening to the public in mid-December 2010. Stay tuned for more museum updates as they are announced.

   Please feel free to pass this e-mail alert along to your fellow club members, friends and family. If you are not on Bill's vehicle related e-mail alert list, just send him a e-mail with "put me on your alert list" in the subject line to be added to the list to make sure that you receive these important hobby related alerts and reminder's.

   Also, be assured that your e-mail address will only be used for vehicle hobby related alerts and will never be sold for commercial use.

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