During our stay in Vegas we noticed that there was some sort of large auction of super cars going on, which my husband really wanted to go to. Unfortunately it was only on for two days and we accidentally missed it. Although I wasn't in the least bit bothered by that, I knew my husband was disappointed. Towards the end of the last week of our stay, I was flicking through one of the magazines in our hotel room when I came across an ad for the Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace Hotel. I suggested to my husband we go there as I knew he'd enjoy it and it seemed a good alternative to the auction, so we visited on our last Saturday in Vegas.
The Auto Collection is, in the words of the Imperial Palace 'The World's largest and finest Classic Car Showroom'. A large portion of the vehicles on show are for sale, others are simply there because they have featured in TV Shows, Movies or have some sort of historical significance.
The Imperial Palace Hotel is on Las Vegas Boulevard (aka The Strip) and is opposite Caesar's Palace towards the middle of the strip, so a reasonably central location. The hotel is currently undergoing renovation and quite frankly looks a bit of a mess at the moment. The Japanese style front has been removed and scaffolding covers the building so it is not the most appealing looking place from the outside. As we entered two ladies on the door (wearing hard hats!) handed us a coupon booklet each. On flicking through it I found that there was a coupon for 2 for 1 entry to the Auto Collection, which was a bit of a bonus as this was the only reason we were visiting.
I must admit that once inside the hotel we really struggled to find the Auto Collection. Although there were some signposts, they weren't overly clear and we ended up standing around confused wondering which way to turn. The lifts were also not clearly marked and frankly it's a wonder we managed to get there at all! This is something I think they seriously need to sort out as part of their renovations.
Once we actually found the showroom, which is on one of the upper floors (sorry I can't be more specific, we really did just wander aimlessly until we found it!) we headed through a small gift shop area to a reception desk to pay for our tickets. The lady on the reception desk was really friendly and told us we were free to take photographs once inside.
As you go into the showroom, you are basically greeted with rows of hundreds of cars, which you can browse at your leisure. There's not much more to it than that really! I am not really a car person, I feel a car is supposed to get you from A to B, so I didn't think I would really enjoy this much, but I can honestly say that I did. I should note you can't actually sit in the cars or even touch them - they're behind ropes, so you can only view them. Apparently the value of the cars on the showroom floor come in at over $100 million, which I am not overly surprised about and probably why there are so many security guards in the venue itself. As some of the cars are for sale they change regularly, so theoretically if you keep going back you will always get to see something new.
The cars are mainly classic cars, but there are a few modern ones too. It's not just cars on display though; there were a couple of army vehicles there and there was a really cool retro VW Camper van too which I'd have loved to have been able to sit inside. I have to say American cars look so much cooler than European ones and I was especially taken with one stunning 1950's Lincoln Premier which I called 'The Tiffany Car' because of it's turquoise colouring. I could just imagine me cruising around in it wearing a 50's style dress with a massive bow in my hair, singing along to Elvis!
Some of the cars of note, were a car used by Marilyn Monroe, a car featured in the Soprano's which came with lots of memorabilia and a car used by JFK. I did at first think it was 'The' car, however on closer inspection of the plaque next to it, it seemed it was one he used the week before he was assassinated. There were lots of unusual custom cars and prototypes too and each car has a small plaque telling you a little bit about it. As I mentioned I didn't think I'd enjoy this but I genuinely found it interesting reading about some of the cars.
My husband was absolutely thrilled to find his 'dream car', the Ford Mustang driven by Nicholas Cage in Gone in Sixty Seconds was on the floor, for sale at a mere $375,000! Weirdly enough, on the plane on our way to Vegas we were talking about what we'd do/where we'd go if money was no object (as you do!) and he said he would buy that car, so it was a bit of a coincidence to find it there. I did have to stand for about 15 minutes whilst he photographed it from every angle though!
As we left we had a little mooch around the gift shop. As gift shops go, I actually thought this was one of the better ones. Although a lot of the items were car themed as you would expect, there were a few other bits and bobs, such as those 'on the year you were born...' books and household items which struck me as being better gifts than the usual keyrings and fridge magnets sold by most places.
One gripe I have with the Auto Collections was simply that it looked really tatty inside, especially towards the lift area in reception. The carpet looked dirty and worn and there were marks all over the walls. The whole place looked a little dated and I hope that it is not forgotten when the hotel finishes its makeover.
The Auto Collection is open between 10am and 6pm daily. Admission is $8.95 (approx £5.54) for adults and $5 (approx £3) for children and over 65's. Under 3's are free and children over 12 are classed as adults. I think those prices are pretty reasonable, considering we spent around an hour and a half to two hours there and of course it's worth looking out for staff handing out coupons as you may be able to get a 2 for 1 discount like we did.
On the whole I have to admit that I enjoyed this attraction much more than I expected to. My husband who is more of a car person than me absolutely loved it - I guess your enjoyment will depend on your interest in cars. Overall I would recommend the Auto Collections and I would be happy to go again if I got the chance to.
My husband and I have been to this several times this last time we went we took our daughter. Even being a 9 year old girl she was still impressed with some of the cars.
There are so many cars that are rotated to be displayed then changed with something else. There are a few of the cars that are out every time we have gone.
The last time we went there was a car that was owned by the pope. It was the car he used when visiting the United States. It was pretty cool to see the car and to see that even though he seemed exposed he was really not exposed to any danger as the entire car was bullet proof.
I have to say that the most impressive car I have seen at this collection is the car that Bonnie and Clyde were in when they were shot and killed. The car was full of bullet holes. I want to say that the car was like swiss cheese full of holes. It was impressive to see the amount of bullet holes and to realize that there was not gonna be any one that walked away from this alive.
The reason my husband and I like to do this is the price and the fact that its air conditioned. So on the hot days that Vegas always seems to have even in the winter we like to go to the car collection and veiw the cars and do it for free. Yes free. We have always been able to round up 2 or more free tickets to get into the car show.
We have been lucky to see cars that were owned by people such as Elvis, JFK, Winston Churchhill and many other greats. We have also been able to see cars that were never meant to be. The first electric car, the first car that was a boat as well. This is a very neat place to visit and you really can go many times and never see all that the collection holds as it always changes.
I have published this review at Igougo. User name Autumnrose2008.