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Attractions - Sarasota Classic Car Museum

5500 North Tamiami Trail Sarasota
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The Sarasota Classic Car Museum's 60,000 square foot facility exhibits more than 100 automobiles, which is constantly being changed through various acquistions, exchanges and donations from collectors. The museum was built in 1952 and opened up its doors in 1953. The museum has been continuiously opened since then and enjoys the reputation of being one of the oldest car musems in the world!

The collection covers over a 100 years of manufacturing and includes: Auburn, Bentley, Cadillac wagon (one of only five ever made!), DeLorean, Edsel, Ferrari and so on...Then there is Paul McCartney's Mini Cooper and The Beatles "party" Bentley.

In the museum area are hundreds of cars spanning the whole 20th century. Everything has its price, but owner Martin Godbey, was quite secretive about how much he would sell the Beatles' 1959 psychedelic Bentley for. The car, having a reputation as a party car, with pink carpet, pink leather seats and a paisley curtain separating the backseat from the front, transported not only the Beatles from party to party but included, other artists such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Bryan Adams. The car is painted in 14 different colors.

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-I think this is my favorite car in the museum, said Martin Godbey.
The car is worth quite a bit and one would think that it should be guarded 24/7. Godbey chuckles and says: It doesn't need to be guarded, because how could you steal it? It would be impossible to hide!

Another source of pride in the museum, is the area known as the "Cars of the Stars". These include John Lennon's Mercedes Roadster, Paul McCartney's Mini Cooper and John Lennon's last car, a creme colored Mercedes with the steering wheel on the right.

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum receives many of its cars from private collectors and owners through various acquistions, exchanges and donations. The famous circus couple, John and Mable Ringling's cars from the early 1900's are on display in the museum along with the President's car, a Lincoln K from 1936. This car was used to transport the guests of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower to the White House.

The Italian family, Rivolta, has donated cars to another section of the museum. Among them the Isorivolta, a prototype which was never manufactured.
-The family moved from Italy to Sarasota , leaving the car business and today are devoted to designing boats and spectacular buildings here in Sarasota, explained Martin Godbey.

Hundreds of thousands of car enthusiasts from around the world visit the museum every year. Since Godbey is selling cars he is able to buy new cars and update the collection in the museum. Exchanging cars with other museums also enhances the spectacular inventory.

The Museum's mission is to educate and entertain visitors on these magnificent, mechanical works of art and their impact on society over the last 10 decades. The goal of the museum is "to instill the passion and enthusiasm in our guests that we feel for the cars."

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is located directly across from the Ringling Museum of Art on US 41, 5500 North Tamiami Trail and is open daily from 9AM until 6PM

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