When someone mentions the greatest vintage car collection, things like Jay Leno’s Garage or some other celebrity billionaire will likely pop into your mind. There is also a pile of great car museums both private and public like the Petersen Museum in LA. However, this mental list will almost never include a little place tucked away in the mountains of Colorado called the Rambler Ranch. This omission cannot stand any longer. Rambler Ranch is one of the world’s greatest vintage car collections, period. It also helps if you are really into AMC.
Where is Rambler Ranch?
Rambler Ranch is down a dirt road just outside of Elizabeth, Colorado. According to The Drive, Rambler Ranch contains the world’s largest collection of Nash, Rambler, and AMC cars. Admittedly, this museum’s greatness is highly contingent upon whoever’s judging being really into AMC cars. But, even if the American Motor Company isn’t your thing, the collection of over 250 vintage cars and memorabilia showcases at the Rambler Ranch should be enough to garner a decent amount of respect.
For anyone who’s into AMC cars, this place is a haven like no other. But even if someone just likes cars in any capacity, the scale of this collection is enough to impress.
If the size alone doesn’t make this the greatest vintage car collection, the quality will
Aside from the 250 cars actually in the outbuildings that comprise the museum complex, Rambler Ranch is also home to another some odd 500 cars in the “boneyard” kept for parts. Let’s pretend for a minute that 750 AMC cars aren’t enough to be blown away, the quality and rarity of the collection should push it over the edge as being the greatest vintage car collection on Earth.
There are a few sporty cars like Javelins and AMXs, and, of course, plenty of Pacers, Gremlins, Concords, and Eagles. Near-mint base model station wagons sit side-by-side with oddly spec’d sedans and piles of thrashed government fleet vehicles. A generous number feature insanely rare trim packages. But make no mistake; this collection is for the AMC aficionado. This is for the person who doesn’t just see past the American underdog automaker but celebrates them for it.
How did the Rambler Ranch start?
Terry Gale, the owner, and operator of the greatest vintage car collection says it was basically an accident. “It just evolved into what it is today. It was never my intention to do this,” he says, with seriousness.
Like many American kids from the 60s, Gale’s father had a 1954 Nash Ambassador Custom. This one was finished in Caribbean Blue and was bought for $50. Gale’s dad loved strange old cars and when he bought the Nash, these weren’t something that many car people cared about.
“And my dad drove it for a couple of years, and I remember the day it broke down. My sister-in-law was driving it and the oil pump went out, and it had 129,000 miles on it. And they towed it home… to the farm, and it sat there at the farm for 18 years. I remember going out in the field and sitting in it, playing in it when I was younger… After my dad passed away in 1977, a few years later my brother was cleaning up the farm and asked me, ‘Do you want dad’s old Nash? I’m going to haul it to the junkyard.’” What happens next is easily guessed.
The begins of Rambler Ranch stretched throughout the years or restoring his Dad’s old Nash and hanging around places where AMC people do. Because he had a love for the brand and these cars were relatively cheap, he just kept buying them until he had enough to start organizing them into a museum.
“And I just started buying things to make it fun and interesting and pretty for people, cause everybody just loved coming out there because it was just so different, ” he said with enthusiasm. “And then after discovering that really no one in the world has done this, that there are no museums for Nash, Rambler, or AMC, I thought, here’s something I can do that no one in the world has done.”
He loves these old cars and views his work as a way to preserve and celebrate the unheralded automaker that he loves so much. The museum stretches to many things outside of cars. Basically, if it can be traced back to Nash or American Motors it has a place at Rambler Ranch.