Closure of Famed Car Museum Leads to Massive Firesale

This huge collection, worth millions, suddenly up for grabs. See anything you like?

Fred Enke/The Enthusiast Network/Getty

In a different time, Riverside International Raceway wasn’t just a place—it was the place. The place where they filmed The Love Bug, where A.J. Foyt came cheated death and Carroll Shelby first tested the GT40 after being given the reins to Ford’s Le Mans program. Riverside, more than Willow Springs and arguably even Laguna Seca, embodied golden era road racing in California. But because all good things end, and because those endings aren’t always pretty, the track shuttered in 1989, and has since been bulldozed to build a shopping mall. Now, the Riverside International Automotive Museum is closing its doors, too.

And that means liquidating all the vehicular assets inside its 20,000 sq-ft. This is set to be done in two waves. The first is basically immediate—RIAM will unload a sizeable chunk of inventory at Auctions America’s Santa Monica event next week, on June 25 and 26. In addition to a dozen prime Maseratis, everything from an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and Jaguar XJ220 to legit early-aero age Indy cars will cross the block there. But RIAM’s headliner was always its Dan Gurney collection, including his first Indy car (the No. 31 All-American Racers car from 1966) as well as a legit 1969 Eagle Mk5. That stuff, the really good stuff, is going to RM Monterey at Pebble Beach this August.

The museum closing is a bummer, but odds are those cars will end up with good homes. And there’s a silver lining: The RIAM board is reportedly “in negotiation” to digitize and catalog all its rare photos films. If it works out, those could end up on the web and in the public domain. Sure beats the hell out of a shopping mall.