Auto Collections at Linq to Close After 36 Years

The Auto Collections at Linq Resort (formerly Imperial Palace) has been around as long as anyone can remember. The sightseeing attraction and auto auction will close on Dec. 30, 2017, after 36 years.

Cue the gratuitous car pics!

Linq Auto Collections

We about to get all up in the Auto Collections’ grill.

Auto Collections announced it lost its lease, which typically translates into “they tried to raise our rent, and we’re having none of that.”

Las Vegas Auto Collections

You know you’re a little turned on right now. Oh, get a vroom.

The awkwardly-named Auto Collections (most recently referred to as the Auto Collections Vegas Car Museum) has hosted millions of Las Vegas visitors during its 36 years of operation.

The venue served as both a tourist attraction featuring rare and exotic cars, while also serving as a showroom because most of the cars on display were available for purchase.

Auto Collections

Behold, a 1946 Delahaye 135MS Selborne Roadster, valued at $350,000. Yes, we took notes for a change.

Many of the vehicles that came through the Auto Collections were historically significant, while others appeared in major motion pictures, and others were owned by celebrities and dignitaries.

At any one time, the inventory of about 300 cars at Auto Collections was valued at about $100 million.

The Auto Collections were located on the fifth floor of the hotel, and occupied a whopping 125,000-square-feet of space.

Auto Collections

This 1925 Rolls-Royce was equipped for hunting Bengal tigers and other wild game. Where are we going to see this kind of weird crap, now?

The idea for a part-museum, part-dealership at Imperial Palace originated with Las Vegas legend and owner of Imperial Palace, Ralph Engelstad.

Engelstad loved classic cars nearly as much as he loved Nazis (no, really—the collection once had a Mercedes that belonged to Hitler), so he moved his car collection into Imperial Palace in 1981.

Auto Collections

The Auto Collections had muscle cars galore. This 1967 Ford Mustang (nicknamed “Eleanor”) was featured in “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Price: $375,000.

The Auto Collections at Linq have been a quirky fixture on the Las Vegas Strip, although one that often flew under the radar with visitors.

Due to the sheer size of the Auto Collections, and its challenging location on the hotel’s fifth floor, we have difficulty imagining who will take up residence in the space.

Auto Collections Las Vegas closed

As far as the eye can see, things we can’t afford.

Add Auto Collections to the long list of changes at this mid-Strip resort. Long gone are the dealertainers (although, some have made their way to Ellis Island), the dragon statues in the casino and Hawaiian Luau on the roof.

Next up, ziplines! Remember, the only constant in Las Vegas is change. And cleavage. But mostly that first thing.

Update (1/4/18): What happened to the cars at the Auto Collections at Linq (Imperial Palace)? There were nearly 70 cars at the collection when it closed, the majority on consignment. Most of the cars went back to their owners when the venue shuttered.

12 thoughts on “Auto Collections at Linq to Close After 36 Years

  1. Bouldersteve

    I heard Engelstad also had large collection of Third Reich Nazi memorabila stashed at the Imperial Palace that was not available to the public for viewing. It was discovered after he died.

  2. Jay Dandy

    About 15 years ago I sold a very low mileage 1976 Eldo convertible in New York for $18,000. Two years later it was in this place selling for $48,000. Of course they never expected to get that much but hoping some drunk high roller would fancy it and impulse buy.

    1. mobycat

      They currently have a 1985 VW Rabbit Convertible. They want $45,000 for it. That’s laughable. Even with the low mileage (only 34 miles on it, I think) that is WAY overpriced. Not worth more than $25,000 on a good day.

  3. W.B.

    What is going to happen to Johnny Carson’s first car? I believe the story goes that he sold it to the IP for $1 on the condition that it would be always displayed.

    1. Buck Starr

      The Johnny Carson car is still on display. I was there over the past weekend. The collection is nothing like it used to be. All the center display areas were empty. It’s only a shell of what it used to be. I visited with a man that was working polishing a car. He said the Auto Collection was not going to relocate. It will close for good. Some will go to the Blackhawk museum. Perhaps it is one of the cars that will be going to the this museum in California. He also said the new Hotel casino owners could care less about the collection, they had stopped promoting it long ago. They’ll be glad when it’s gone. This is very sad news.

      1. mobycat

        The guy was mistaken. There are no new owners of the casino.
        Caesar’s has owned the place for 12 years. My guess is that their long-term lease was up and either Caesar’s wanted too much to continue or Caesar’s has other plans for the location. Heck, with them now charging for parking, they could just return it to the parking garage. The level right below on the south side used to house cars that were coming in/going out of the collection. They’ve already started tearing out the walls there to return it to parking.

    2. mobycat

      So this is a relatively late reply, but now I know the fate of Johnny Carson’s car. It was on Jay Leno’s Garage this week. Turns out, Carson told the Auto Collection that after they were done displaying it, it should be given to Leno… and that’s where it’s at now. Put away in his garage in Burbank.

  4. Scooter

    Well that really sucks, I’ve been to this collection several times over the years, it was always a fun and interesting way to escape the heat for a couple hours.

  5. mobycat

    The place has gone downhill rapidly in the last year. At one time you could see Duesenbergs, vintage Ferraris, etc. For the last year, it’s basically been full of Cadillacs – and not very old ones at that.

    I saw this coming a while ago – when they closed the room on the south side.

    I have no doubt Carson’s car will go to the Blackhawk. (Though the salesman I talked to wasn’t sure where it would go.) Most of the *really* expensive cars (or the ones that said “for display only” I think are the property of the Blackhawk.


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