The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
12/16/20 2:26 p.m.

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Classic Motorsports.]

If one of your passions is collecting classic cars, chances are you love showing them to others, especially those who appreciate the beauty, power and historical significance of these machines. You’ve probably toyed with the idea of opening up your collection to the public as a museum. In just the last decade, we’ve seen new automotive museums open—and we’ve seen existing ones close. 

When deciding whether to turn a personal collection into a museum, there are several factors to consider. “Everyone’s circumstances are different,” explains Jeff Lane of Lane Motor Museum. “It all depends on your resources, tax situation, family, time commitments and personal desires. You’ve got to decide if you want to keep your cars as toys or share them with the public.” 

Certainly there are advantages to opening a museum. You’ll receive accolades from museum visitors who will appreciate your good taste. However, it’s likely that most of your income will be in the form of praise, as most museum owners admit they don’t turn a profit on the operation. Even so, owners can realize tax benefits and offset some of the costs of maintaining the fleet. Jeff Snook of Snook’s Dream Cars says his museum helps to cover some of his vintage racing expenses.

There are disadvantages, too. Setting up a museum requires an enormous investment of time and money, both for the facility and the required marketing efforts. Also, when cars are part of museum diorama or are grouped together on the floor, getting them out for a drive can be difficult.
 

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