Vintage car hobbyist Ron Carey’s $5,000,000 collection breathes new life into Heritage Park
By Laura Pellerine
Antique car collector Ron Carey was 14 when he got his driver’s licence. “I lied about my age,” he admits with a sheepish grin. He’s quick to point out that “back then,” growing up on a farm in eastern Alberta in the ’40s, he would have only been driving on old back country roads.
He started driving a Ford Model A roadster (think open-cab mob movie cars) when he was 12, and a life long passion for cars was born. Since 1974 Carey has been purchasing and restoring vintage cars, trucks and gas pumps as a hobby.
In 2002 he approached Heritage Park Historical Village with the thought of donating his collection to the museum—not only did the park agree, they decided to build the Gasoline Alley Museum, a separate on-site building dedicated to displaying his antique cars and memorabilia.
As Canada’s largest living history museum, Heritage Park tells the story of the settlement of Western Canada with costumed interpreters and a recreated pioneer village. Carey knew his collection would be in good hands.
“It’s easy enough to sell these kind of cars, but then what? You spend the money and it’s gone. I wanted to give it to a place that would never go broke, so the items could never be sold off.”