GJ car collector plans local museum to showcase her rides
At first glance, Tammy Allen looks more Hollywood glamour than Grand Junction car collector.
Looks can be misleading, because behind the perfect smile, blond hair and fashionable clothes is a savvy businesswoman who has spent the past two years investing millions into a dream collection of sleek sports and vintage model cars that could leave the most avid gearhead with mouth agape.
The only chance locals have had to see the collection is via private tour or when one of Allen’s employees drives a vehicle to a local gas station to fill up the tank.
That is about to change.
By the end of September, Allen, 50, wants to open a car museum at 2285 River Road to display a portion of her collection. She also plans to house at that location the offices and vehicles needed for her limousine business, Allen Unique Autos (http://www.allenuniqueautos.com), which opened in February.
Among Allen’s more than 100 vehicles is a 2009 hot pink stretch Mini Cooper limousine with a hot tub that she also rents through her business, a 2009 Iacocca Silver 45th Anniversary Edition Ford Mustang autographed by Lee Iacocca, a 1913 Ford Model T and two 1954 Kaiser Darrin roadsters.
“I like things that are interesting and unique,” Allen said.
Every vintage truck or sexy sports car Allen owns, along with her various limousines, has an impeccable interior and an exterior buffed to a shine.
Ideally, the museum will become a venue where people can buy and sell collector cars, Allen said.
She also envisions expanding her museum and business location to include an events center with an inviting interior and exterior appropriate for wedding receptions and other events.
After all, Allen said she prioritizes her family, most of whom call Grand Junction their home. In fact, Allen credits her family with creating her love of cars.
When she was little, Allen fondly remembers taking road trips around the western United States. Allen and her brother and sister used to camp out in the family car the night before a vacation so they would be ready to go early in the morning when her father wanted to get on the road.
Allen remembers telling her father how much she loves cars, but he dismissed it as nothing more than a cute thing for a little girl to say, Allen said with a laugh.
However, that love never left, and Allen still talks to her father, Bill Allen, about their mutual interest in collector cars.
Bill Allen was the chief executive officer of VECO Corp., an Alaska-based oil pipeline service and construction business. He is imprisoned on federal bribery, conspiracy and tax violations related to decisions he made while running the corporation.
Tammy Allen helped oversee the 2007 sale of VECO Corp. to Denver-based CH2M. Financial details of the sale were not disclosed, but multiple media business sources placed the value of VECO at as much as $463 million.
Other than overseeing that sale, Tammy Allen has no ties to VECO and has lived in Grand Junction for the past 12 years.
Despite her father’s past decisions and conviction, he is a “wonderful dad, grandfather and great-grandfather,” she said.
Tammy Allen has four children and four grandchildren and already sees an interest in cars popping up in the eyes of some of her progeny, much like her interest in cars began as a child.
In fact, Allen has taken her daughter, Misty Allen, to Barrett-Jackson car sales across the country. Barrett-Jackson is one of world’s greatest collector car auctions.
Those auctions are where Allen purchased most of her vehicles, including a 1969 first-generation Camero that she admittedly bought for more than it was worth because all the money went to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Her sister, Shannon West, is a breast cancer survivor, and raising money and awareness about breast cancer is a cause close to Allen’s heart. Several of her vehicles, in addition to the stretch Mini Cooper limo, are painted pink in homage to breast cancer awareness.
Of course, Allen also likes the color pink. After all, she is a woman.
And the woman in her particularly likes the shopping part of going to car auctions.
The knowledgeable car collector in her always is looking for unique cars for her repertoire.
The first addition she would make is a Bugatti sports car, which Allen wants because “it’s a beautiful, sexy, hot car.” She loves sports cars, particularly Dodge Vipers.
The second is a Rolls Royce. Actually, she wants two of those, a newer one and a vintage one from the 1930s.
The third is a luxurious Maybach.
“She knows what she wants,” said Traci Wakefield, Allen’s longtime friend and the sales manager at Allen Unique Autos.