Harold E. LeMay intuitively knew the power of his collection through the experiences he shared with family and friends at car shows and swap meets across the nation. He also knew its power from the stories it elicited from all who spoke with him at the Annual LeMay Car Show which has drawn thousands of people to the LeMay homestead each August for almost half a century.
As the founder of LeMay – America’s Car Museum, the story of Harold E. LeMay is significant in that his affinity for a wide cross section of automobiles is core to the mission of America’s Car Museum – to preserve and interpret the history and technology of the automobile and its influence on American culture. Harold bought cars for their historical, cultural, and aesthetic value rather than as an investment. He said, “I don’t go for just the dollar value car. If it is unusual, I like it. So I am kind of a maverick, since I am not a dyed-in-the-wool Chevy, Ford, or Duesenberg man. I see it, I like it, I buy it.”
When Harold was younger, his nickname was “Lucky.” One of his favorite sayings was, “It takes a lot of hard work to be lucky.” His luck continued, as he amassed the largest privately owned collection of automobiles, other vehicles and related memorabilia in the world. At one point he bought a car a day. At its peak, the LeMay Collection numbered in excess of 3,000 vehicles and thousands of artifacts, earning Harold a place in the 1997 Guinness Book of World Records.
The inspiration for Lucky’s Garage is Harold and Nancy LeMay’s long time home in Spanaway and will be a permanent exhibit at America’s Car Museum, a fitting tribute to Harold’s life and passion for collecting. America’s Car Museum is honored to be a part of Harold’s legacy and it is our great pleasure to carry forward his love affair with the automobile.
Photo credit – The Seattle Times