When you arrive on the fifth floor, it's not immediately apparent you've entered part of the parking garage. It's still not the fanciest museum you've ever been in (125,000 square feet across three rooms), but the air conditioning is plentiful and there is never a crowd. Over 250 cars are on display, from a rotating collection of almost 1,000. Emphasis is on the unusual, but a broad spectrum is the key. And, the majority are available for sale. Warning: you'll be kicking yourself you didn't hit that progressive jackpot when you see some of these prices. (We're not telling you the car we'll buy when we hit that prize. Just know we'll be pretending Harry Truman is President as we cruise The Strip.)
Prices range from high teens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to please ask privately in the back. Lots of very rare vehicles here. Window shopping and dreaming is still free.
The new audio tour is a handheld device. Currently over 80 cars are assigned a number above their descriptive cards. Enter the number on the key pad and hold the handset to your ear. It is a very professional presentation with car facts and useful historical perspective. Very nicely done. (We think the ad copy from the website might need a little tweak. It believes this new system is "helping people avoid having to exert all that effort to read the information placards beside each car." Reading is hard?)
The owners of this museum/ showroom also buy and sell. Right now, James Hetfield of Metallica has a number of vehicles on consignment. Tony Soprano's Chevy Suburban, used on the TV show, is for sale. (Hardcore Soprano's fans: It comes with a poster for Christopher Moltisanti's Cleaver movie with all the show's characters accurately credited.) Johnny Carson's car is on permanent display. A Cadillac Fleetwood that ferried Marilyn Monroe around is here and so is Nicolas Cage's "Gone In Sixty Seconds" Ford Mustang.
The collection doesn't oversell the Vegas connection. A Howard Hughes eco-friendly car we've seen on earlier visits is currently not on display and Wayne Newton's cars also seem to be missing. We did notice a 1957 Ford Thunderbird that coincidentally was favored by Robert Urich's character Dan Tanna in the awesome seventies detective TV show, Vega$.
The collection is currently quite heavy on Rolls Royce beauties, with previously seen Duesenberg's receiving top billing. Luxury exotics are often plentiful. Whether you are interested in motor sports or old timey steam contraptions, you'll find something to enjoy. You can make a quick-ish walk around or stay and linger. It certainly breaks up a long walk down The Strip.
The gift shop sells nostalgic nick-knacks, but also features a strong selection of auto-themed books. The key for us is the free admission pass the Collection's owners promote on their website, here. The audio tour is an additional $3. It's not necessary to enjoy the museum, but if you have time to leisurely walk around, you might enjoy the extra trivia and context. This writer has seen this collection many times and will continue to visit. There's always at least one car to covet and it's a nice opportunity to see up close some of those strange and unique vehicles that normally are swallowed up by Jay Leno's garage. Check out our gallery for a better idea, or you can see some of the inventory via the owner's website.
The Imperial Palace Auto Collection is located on the fifth floor of the parking garage at the rear of the casino. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Without a coupon, admission is $11.95. Children under 12 and seniors are $8.00