Thursday, August 6, 2015

Harrah Collection in September 1972

Long gone, Bill Harrah's huge automobile collection was dispersed after his death with only a portion remaining here.

I was fortunate to visit it once, in September of 1972, while on my way from the Bay Area back to upstate New York where I worked.  The collection was housed in the city of Sparks, Nevada which is just east of Reno.  If I remember correctly, it was in a warehouse or industrial district and occupied three or four one-story warehouse-type buildings.

One building was devoted to cars deemed deserving of better display.  The others simply had cars jammed together.  Some of the collection was systematic.  For example, there was at least one Packard from each of the years Packards were built.  And I thing the same was largely true for Fords up through 1949 or thereabouts.

Not long ago I scanned many of the 35 mm slides I took with my Nikon F cameras.  The Harrah collection photos were taken under poor conditions for the film I was using.  The cars were mostly indoors under fluorescent lighting, so the colors I was getting tended into the blue range.  Worse, most images were blurred either slightly or strongly.  I used my iMac's image software to partly clean up the photos presented below, but the quality is still pretty bad.

Nevertheless, give them a look to get a slight sense of what Harrah had gathered at a point six years before he died.


Outdoors.  That's one of those convertible tour busses used in the 1920s and 30s to show tourists around Yellowstone and Glacier national parks (among others).

A row of cars perhaps awaiting restoration along with a P-38 fighter plane in the background.  The nearest car is a 1955 Studebaker.  Behind it is a 1938-vintage Graham.  Farther back is what seems to be a late-1930s Packard.

Views of restoration areas.  That's a 1932 Marmon 16 convertible coupe in the lower image.  A Duesenberg is at the right in the upper photo.

A hall jammed with sports cars.

The red car is a 1935 Auburn 851 boat-tail Speedster.

A 1954 Hudson Italia, one of only 26 that were built.

1918 Crane Simplex.

A row of Duesenbergs.  So if your collection has a bunch of Duesies on the show floor, not to mention the one under restoration, you might as well have ...

a Bugatti Royale.

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