Tammy Allen car collector interview (part two)
Tammy Allen car collector interview (part two)
After months of mystery, we finally chat to collector Tammy Allen about her incredible new car museum
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Really, that's interesting. What kinds of memorabilia do you collect?
I have Elvis Presley's pants framed, and I have pictures signed from people. I have Evel Knievel's jumpsuit with his cape. And I like signed automobiles, anything to do with automobiles...
I have Joe Frazier's boxing glove, Muhammad Ali's signed shorts... Y'know, just interesting stuff for people to look at. I love typewriters and cash registers from the 1920s and early-1900s, and phones - a lot of stuff I like to set around by the cars.
Tammy also has a passion for collect-ing cash registers, which are also exhibited in her museum
That's unusual! What is it about cash registers that appeals to you?
Erm, y'know I'm not sure! I've just always liked them. Ever since I was a little girl, they interested me. Especially from the early-1900s. They're so full of craft, and they're just beautiful.
Have you always collected memorabilia as well as collecting classic cars?
I've always collected a little bit. But more since I decided to open the museum, because I really didn't have to hunt for them before I opened this. I've always liked things to do with celebrities.
I have signed Carol Shelby [automotive designer and racing driver] stuff. I met him, and I met Lee Iacocca [Mustang and Chrysler engineer and magnate]. And they've all been so nice. And I would never have got the opportunity to meet all these people if I hadn't started collecting cars. It's really neat.
Which brings us to the Iacocca silver Mustang, which you bought at Barrett-Jackson for $352,000 last year. Can you tell us a bit about the car?
Well he [Lee Iacocca] is a legend. So when the car came up I just knew that it would be a really good collectors' item. It's the 2009 Iacocca Mustang coupe. I thought it was beautiful, too. I love it and I just thought it would be a really good collector's piece.
It was signed by Lee Iacocca, and I had Carol Shelby sign it too because he was at the auction. So it was neat to get both of their signatures on one car. It's the only one that's supercharged. They were gonna make 45 of them, but I'm not sure they've made 45 yet.
Generally, what do you look for when you're choosing to buy a classic automobile?
It's just something that might be unique and different. So I just go and see what really catches my eye, apart from the engines and stuff. I'm not a mechanic, I don't really know how to work on 'em [the cars].
I try to get people to go with me who do know. So if I see a car I'm really interested in, I'll have them go check and make sure it's mechanically good - as good as you can check without driving one [laughs]!
Alongside her US muscle cars, Tammy's collection also boasts a number of British classics, including an Austin Healey (right). A gold Dodge Viper can also be spotted in the background
What is it about classic cars that you most enjoy? Driving them? Or other people enjoy them as "rolling works of art"...
Kind of both. I love to drive my cars, y'know? They leak and all kinds of stuff [so] they do get better if you drive them every now and then.
Especially in the summer, I love driving them and getting them out and taking them to shows and stuff like that. So I like to drive my cars!
You have a particular affinity for Dodge Vipers. What is it about them that appeals to you?
I do! I just really like the body style of them. I think that Corvettes and some of the other ones are not as stylish as they used to be. I mean, I love the '50s and '60s Corvettes. But Vipers still have a really unique style. Me, I always say "they look bad ass!" [Laughs]
With muscle cars in general, I think that it's their style. And I just remember them a lot from when I was young. They were the most fun, the American-made muscle cars. And they just don't make that many anymore. So I like the classic ones a lot.
There are also a lot of Rolls-Royces and an Austin Healey in your collection - an interesting contrast to the muscle cars. What do you like about British classics?
I've just always liked things to do with the British. I always really liked the people, and we went over there for the FarnboroughInternationalAirshow a couple of years back. [Also] I used to live in Scotland when I was young.
I like the style of the cars. And Rolls-Royces, I think, are absolutely one of the most elegant automobiles. They're just regal, I just really like 'em.
Tammy's Iacocca silver Mustang, signed by automotive legend Lee Iacocca
Finally, what are your plans and future hopes for Allen Unique Autos? I read that you're planning on holding wedding receptions in the future...?
Yeah, this is an events centre, and I wanted to show people that during our Grand Opening - to see how many people it could have a party for.
And I'll rent my classic cars, with my driver, for a commercial or a movie or something like that too. Because I just want to get the cars out there, so that people can see them and enjoy them like I do.
Thanks for speaking to us, Tammy. It was nice to clear up some of the mysteries surrounding you...
You too, thanks for interviewing me. I like your articles, I like the way you write and you've been very nice to me. So thanks.
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