Check those mirrors, shine those rims, and buckle-up, because Colorado has some of the greatest car collections in the world. This month, we drove deep (get it?) to find local collectors, collections, and automotive goodness to provide you the best opportunities to join the ever-growing Colorado car community that is alive and well and firing on all cylinders. I’m talking authentic, actually-raced, all-American Shelby Cobras and GT40’s, cars from movies that we all grew up with, and your chance to take your very own car, whether it’s your family’s leftovers or your brand new BMW M5, to the drag strip. Buckle up, because your summer is about to shift into high gear, exhaust pipes blaring, wheels spinning, tires smoking, and carburetors combusting as we experience the coolest cars in Colorado.
The Shelby American Collection is just outside of Boulder and boasts some of the most famous Shelby’s ever raced; they even have Ken Miles’ 1966 GT40. This place is booming with American automotive history and it’s all thanks to Steve Volk and his group of friends who started it. In an interview, Volk told Yellow Scene that, “we were racing Cobras and GT40’s in the 80s and 90s (and actually up until about six years ago in the US and in Europe). I met Carroll Shelby at one of the races… and became good friends with him.” From there, Volk and some friends began “collecting memorabilia, race records, and the cars themselves,” and eventually petitioned Shelby with the idea of starting a museum in his honor. “[He’s] done so much for automotive racing and for the US’,’ Volk said. “So twenty-five years ago we set up the Shelby American Collection – a non-profit entity staffed by volunteers and it’s become the largest, most significant collection of Shelby race cars.”
The museum is open every Saturday from 10am – 4pm.
Car collections are expensive; they require upkeep, maintenance, and a team of professionals to clean, fix, and keep the cars looking and/or running in pristine condition. When we interviewed a major car collector and owner of an exceptional collection in Boulder, who wished to stay anonymous, they provided us valuable insight into what goes into some of these collections. “We have four full time people on our team that maintain, drive, and wash the cars. We try to drive every car at least once every 90 days. All cars are drivable, registered, insured, and titled in our name,” they told Yellow Scene.
What’s more is that many collections continue to grow year after year, and for many, it’s all about sharing it with the public. Our source told us that for their collection, “if a historic or famous vehicle comes up, we try to buy it because we want everyone that views the collection to come away with memories of numerous ‘special’ cars.”
The same goes for Zack Loffert, owner of Rodz & Bodz in Lakewood, which specializes in famous classic, vintage, and movie cars that are available to rent and also view in their recently opened museum. Loffert told YS that when owning a collection of this size, “everybody knows what we [Rodz and Bodz] do as far as my friend list goes. So if there’s any kind of crazy unique cars that come up for sale, I get tagged in them.” This has allowed Loffert and Rodz and Bodz to acquire well over a hundred cars. With the opening of their new museum which houses sixty-five cars at all times, Loffert is showcasing a slice of our childhood in 30,000 square feet at Colorado Mills.
With vehicles such as The Time Machine, The Mystery Machine, the Toy Story Pizza Planet Truck, and Michael Keaton’s Batmobile, Loffert is “trying to get the younger generation back involved in cars.” Showing them is one way to do it, but they also offer rentals for weddings, shows, events, photo ops, and birthdays. They also offer transport services.
The museum follows the same schedule as the Colorado Mills Mall:
Monday – Thursday 11am – 8pm;
Friday and Saturday 10am – 9pm;
and Sunday 11am – 6pm.
Seeing these amazing cars is one thing, and trust us, it’s worth it, but for some seeing just doesn’t cut it – they want to experience speed on a whole ‘nother level. Luckily, just south of Boulder County in the Colorado Springs area is Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR). With an absolutely stunning backdrop and a long history of NASCAR and IndyCar events, PPIR is home to an all-you-can-experience list of automotive opportunities.
In an email, Director of Communications Chelsy Offutt, explained that PPIR offers far more than your typical car show. Events such as the Hot Rod Rock & Rumble, Colorado Truck Madness, and SCCA Track Nights in America, along with live music, food, and other activities attract folk from all over.
But if you’re ready to get behind the wheel and see what you and your vehicle are made of, you can check out their Open Lapping Days as long as you meet their credential requirements. They also offer ‘Off the Street Drags’ where you can take your shot at their 1/8th mile drag strip for $25 per driver. Offutt explained that the program was started after a tragic street racing accident.
PPIR is also home to Falci Adaptive Motorsports. Having partnered with one of the world’s top neurosurgeons, Dr. Scott Falci, they built an adaptive race car and won the only NASCAR Cup series Championship west of the Mississippi in 2017. Although the team doesn’t race anymore, the technology is still used to showcase and inspire.
Events at PPIR:
Off the Street Drags – August 14th and September 18th
SCCA Track Nights in America – July 28th and September 21st
Hot Rod Rock & Rumble – August 27th – 29th
Trucks & Tunes – An Outlaw Weekend – September 3rd – 6th
Fortunately, for all the car fanatics out there, Colorado’s car culture is strong with a long history to back it, but not all of that history has been favorable. Today, if you drive down Main Street in Longmont, you’ll see signs that say “NO CRUISING” just below the speed limit. In Longmont, cruising, or the act of driving by specified locations “more than three times in the same direction within any three-hour period,” is a traffic infraction that can come with a fine of up to $125 – $350.
Although cruising isn’t allowed, it hasn’t deterred local groups from getting together for a good time. The 303 Outlawz are one such group that from time to time will gather at a local location to share and appreciate their cars. YS was able to attend their most recent meet-up at the Sonic in Longmont on June 26th.
Other resources in the state include the Colorado branch of Cars and Coffee which hosts numerous events throughout the state and Porsche of Colorado Springs, whose Twitter @porschecolorado is an excellent source for all our wide axle air-cooled 964 fans, among other Porsches.
Whether you’re looking to drive, look, rent, or learn, Colorado’s car community has it all. For many of us, cars are useful tools to get from point A to point B. To others, they are much, much more than that. They’re something that transcend mere functionality and become intertwined with who we are. They bring out that sense of aliveness that might hide away in the everyday doldrums of everyday life. And when paired with the comforts of friends, family, and a booming car community, they provide us space to appreciate the long-standing global history. So get out there, visit your local museums, restore your old beater, or dance the night away to the sound of music, encompassed by the screeching and thundering of cars racing for glory.