Imperial Palace Auto Collection – Las Vegas, NV (USA)

Billed as the largest Classic Car showroom in the world, the Imperial Palace Auto Collection, to be found on the 5th floor of the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is something of a delight for the automotive enthusiast. Approximately 250 cars are on display, many of them rare, and all of them in outstanding condition. Most, but by no means all. are for sale. There are a number of cars where the information panel states that they are not available, though I do just wonder if someone were to make a truly ridiculous offer if that position would change. Given the prices on the sale cars, though, it would need to be a Very Big Win in the casino,  or a lot of wealth from elsewhere.

Here’s what I found on my recent visit:

One of just a handful of cars made to this design, this is a 1954 1900 SS Ghia. It has some styling similarities with the BAT cars of the era. This particular car was bought new by the VP of Design at Ford at the time, and has been moved around the world before returning to the US about 10 years ago.

Well, sort of. This unusual looking car is in fact a Hybrid. No, not “that” sort of Hybrid. Underneath, it uses Jaguar XK150 chassis and mechanicals.

1937 4 and 1/4 litre Gurney Nutting Touring Sedanca. Referred to as the “silent sports car”, and based on a new chassis and a reworking of the engine from the Rolls Royce 20/25,  Bentley built 1241 of these cars over a 4 year period,

There were 2 cars for sale which had initially belonged to Jack Warner, of Warner Bros. The 1956 S1 Park Ward Continental Coupe is the first such car built in left hand drive format. More unusual is this 1955 S1 Freestone and Webb Continental


A 1941 Buick Super Model 56C Convertible Coupe, beautifully restored.


This 1940 Series 75 Fleetwood Formal Sedan was once the property of Howard Hughes, who is said to have owned the car while he owned MGM Studios. The car remains largely original.

1954 Fleetwood Limousine. This car was registered initially in Idaho, and then saw service as a taxi, during which time it carried many famous passengers, including Marilyn Monroe.
1958 Coupe de Ville.
This is one of just 200 cars built called the Eldorado Bicentennial Convertible. It was created to mark the US Bicentennial, and this particular car was covered less than 30,000 miles. 1976 was also the last year that Cadillac produced a traditional convertible, as it was thought that such cars were going to be outlawed.
A 1978 Eldorado Biarritz
1954 Bel Air 2 door Sedan.

1988 Corvette Challenge Car. This is one of 50 cars that were made, all exactly the same. During the 1988 racing season, Chevrolet equalised the performance of all the cars and then sealed the engine, so the results were all going to be down to the driver and not the car. 45 of the 50 cars survive to this day. They were all road legal even when new.
There were a couple of early Corvettes on show, dating from 1954 and 1955.
1989 Camaro Z28 IROC LE. Just 111 of these cars were built, intended for SCCA showroom stock racing series.
This 1963 Nova 400 was customised to honour those US Marines both fallen and living who have taken part in the Iraq war
This is one of the cars which is emphatically not for sale. A 1939 Royal sedan model, it belonged to the Carson family. Johnny Carson, famous as one of the very tv talk show hosts (“he-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e- re’s Johnny”!) tracked down the very car in which he learned to drive, and had it restored, before presenting it to the collection in 1994.

1961 Cooper Monaco Type 57.

Dating from 1946, this 135MS Selbourne Roadster was a cross between a road car and a racer.

There were a number of Ferraris on show, most of which are permanent exhibits. Earliest car was this 1960 250GT Pininfarina Series 2 Cabriolet

This 1967 330 GTC was the prototype for the car and was originally built on a 275GTS chassis. It has many non-standard features on it.
1967 330 GTS. Only 100 of these cars were built. Gorgeous!
Even rarer, as only 14 of these were made, was this 1967 365 GT California Spider. These cars were intended as the replacement for the 500 Superfast and were offered only to original owners of that car.
This is a 1967 500 Superfast Series 2, one of just 2 right hand drive cars that were made. When launched in 1964, the 400 bhp V12 engine was the most powerful engine available in a road car.  
1972 365 GTB/4 Daytona. This car has covered less than 3000 miles. That seems almost a criminal waste to me! ,  
An early 308GTB, dating from 1977, as this is one of the fibreglass cars, one of very few such in right hand drive.
1913 Model T Van

1931 Model A DeLuxe Phaeton
1940 V8 Convertible
Wonder where all the RS200s have gone? Well, there were three here. They were all subtly different, as they comprised an Evolution and two different Road cars. The first was formerly the property of Ford Europe, the second had belonged to Yamaha.
Still sporting its Dutch plates, and – so characteristically for that nation, a tow bar (!) – was this 1954 Taunus 12M. The German Focus of its day.
A 1957 Thunderbird
The prototype for the 1949 Silverstone. Lighter than other Healeys of the period, these cars were intended both for the road and the track. 105 were built.

One of three such cars built, only two of which survive, is this 1939 930V Phaeton. A former Pebble Beach Concours winner.

1953 “C” Type.

Not sure what to make of this, a 1964 “E” Type Custom Bouillot Helsel. This car was created in the mid 1980s, taking an original E Type and adding many contemporary parts to transform the driving experience and reliability and luxury of the car. OK, but not so OK is the – to my eyes – hideous colour scheme.
A 1959 XK150 Roadster. Just gorgeous!
1994 XJ220
1953 Aurelia B52 Vignale Coupe. Only 92 chassis for the B52 were made, all intended for custom coachwork. This one was made by Vignale, with styling by Michelotti.

This 037 dates from 1983. Wow!!
A 1956 Appia Van. Having enjoyed the one that appeared at a number of events in the UK last year, it was somewhat unexpected to see another one, as only just over 1000 were ever made. This one was being offered at $65,000, which is not exactly cheap. It had seen service, primarily for marketing rather than carrying stuff, by an Illinois based Ferrari/Maserati dealership (hence the decals).
1947 Continental Cabriolet

1977 Continental Coupe V, formerly owned by Elvis Presley
Maserati only made 32 of the 5000GT model, so to see 2 in one place is particularly lucky. The dark blue car is the “standard” Allemano body, of which 20 were made,  and the other car has a Frua body, of which three, all different were created. This car was custom built for the Aga Khan.

A replica of the 1928 SSK. This is one of a series of 4 that were made.

Dating from 1999, this W140 model S500 Grand Edition is one of a limited production that was made to commemorate the end of this design of S Class. Just 600 such cars were made.
The newest car on show, a CLK63 AMG Black Series, which has covered a mere 37 miles. Yours for $135,000.
A 1949 Sport Sedan which has covered just 23,000 miles.

A 1949 Woodie. This was the first year that Mercurys were not based on the equivalent Ford chassis. Values of these cars now are stratospheric.
This car was created as a 50th anniversary tribute to the first chopped and custom Mercury. Called the 1951 Barris Custom The Rose, it is certainly striking, and is so name after Sam Barris who created the original 1951 car.
1934 Morgan Super Sport

A beautiful example of the little Metropolitan, dating from 1959.

1940 Series 90 Touring Sedan.

1949 Series 76 Futurmatic Sedan. This car was owned by GM for 60 years. The 76 Series was the entry level Oldsmobile of the day.
Dating from 1972 was this Cutlass Supreme Hurst/Olds Indy Pace car, and was the second such example I have seen in a week. Built to celebrate the fact that Oldsmobile supplied the Pace Car for the 1972 Indy 500.
1963 Starfire Coupe
A 1954 Dyna Z, these cars were innovatively engineered, and very roomy. They were also light so the 850cc twin cylinder engine could still give the car good performance, despite the large body.

I was surprised to see the pair of Peugeots on display here, as both of them bore French plates still

This 204, a car that was once the French market best seller, and was made in literally millions, has covered less than 1000km from new. Does that make it worth $29,000? Possibly not, but it was immaculate.

Mind you, that was cheap compared to the asking price for this 1980 505, which was being offered for $40,000!.
A 1970 Road Runner

1966 911S Coupe. This car started out its motor sport career in Sweden, and has been used extensively since.

This is one of the “premier ” replicas of the 550 Spider. Built in 1985 by Rend in Southern California, it is a beautiful car.
There were more Rolls Royce than any other marque on show, and very impressive they all were, too.

1932 Phantom II Gurney Nutting Sedanca de Ville

1937 Phantom III Hooper Sedanca de Ville
1938 Phantom III James Young Drophead Coupe
1947 Silver Wraith Mulliner Sedanca de Ville
1947 Silver Wraith Inskip Drophead Coupe. This was the last body made by Inskip, and it is certainly very distinctive.
Not perhaps the happiest of designs, this one was done by Vignale
1956 Silver Wraith Mulliner Touring Limousine
One of just 2 such cars produced, the 1958 Silver Cloud 1 James Young Sedanca Coupe
Another James Young car, this is a 1959 Silver Cloud Drophead Coupe
1960 Phantom V James Young Sedanca de Ville. This car was first shown at the 1960 London Motor Show.  
This is a 1961 Phantom V James Young Coupe, 1 of just 2 that were built
1964 Silver Cloud III Mulliner Drophead Coupe. This car was once owned by the Sultan of Brunei.
1965 Silver Cloud III James Young, one of 20 or so such cars built.
Two different 1967 Phantom V James Young PV23 Limousines
1977 Phantom VI Frua Convertible. Although started in 1977, it was not until 1992 that this car was completed., and as such can be construed as the last Phantom VI to be built, as the car was officially withdrawn from production in 1991   
This car, the “Jones Special”, was entered for, and won the 1930 Indy 500.

There were a couple of examples of the famous Beetle, with a 1963 “RagTop” and a 1972 1302 S car on show. The former had apparently never been taken out in the rain. The latter is a European car, as this particular version was never sold in the US.

1941 Willys Jeep

Priced at $14,950. Yes, that’s right. The car that was advertised as the 39-90 car, because it cost $3990, is now being sold for over three times that sum. Malcolm Bricklin tried to make a business of importing these often derided Yugoslavian hatchbacks into the US in the mid 1980s, but the venture was not a success. Build quality was truly dire and the cars fell to pieces very quickly. This one, looking absolutely pristine, dating from 1987, has covered a mere 1826 miles, and may well be the best Yugo in the world!.

A fascinating collection, definitely worth a visit for anyone who is in Las Vegas.
2011-03-31 02:11:39

One thought on “Imperial Palace Auto Collection – Las Vegas, NV (USA)”

  1. The photos you have posted here are the auto collections at the Imperial Palace.
    Not to be confused with the original Imperial Palace Auto Collection.
    The auto collections was a sales venue for collector cars.
    The Imperial Palace Auto Collection was solely owned by Ralph Engelstad and was one of the top 10 automobile museums in the world. Same place, different venue and different owners.

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