Home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest collection of privately owned vehicles
Home to more than 450 stunning cars and motorcycles, The Gosford Classic Car Museum is one man’s personal love letter to all things rubber and chrome; $70 million worth of vehicles from all points of the compass.
Rare Lamborghinis and Ferraris from Italy. Priceless Porsches and Mercedes-Benz from Germany. And more American muscle than an NFL locker room; the Gosford Classic Car Museum gathers one of the world’s most diverse car collections under a single roof.
But it’s not all international metal on display. There’s plenty on display for Australian automobile purists too. Including one of the few factory-painted Onyx Black Ford Falcon GTHO Phase 3s in the world, a HSV W427, an XU-1 and SLR5000 Torana, an original HSV GTS-Rs, and the full range of Holdens from 1948 – 1978.
In only a few short years, the Gosford Classic Car Museum has become a true Central Coast landmark. And with 11,000 square metres of automobiles on display, it’s more than the largest collection of privately owned vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s the crowning achievement of one Australian entrepreneur’s fuel-injected career.
Driven To Succeed
“I see beauty in all cars,” says Tony Denny, the visionary automobile enthusiast behind the Gosford Classic Car Museum.
But years before gutting the 11,000 square metre Bunning’s megastore at Stockyard Place and spending more than $3 million to transform it into a public sanctuary for the Southern Hemisphere’s largest collection of privately owned vehicles, Mr Denny was busy using his love of the automobile to become one of richest men in Australia.
A native of Sydney’s northern suburbs, Denny realised after Uni that a three-year horticulture course was never going to make him rich. So on top of selling gold shares on the stock market and dabbling in real estate, Denny dabbled in selling cars.
But when stock markets around the world crashed suddenly on 19 October 1987, Denny lost nearly everything in a single day.
Forced to sell the few property assets still in his possession, and seek his fortune in another industry, Denny once again turned to cars.
In 1990, a 28-year-old Denny moved to California to pursue buying classic cars in America that he could resell for hefty profits in Europe. “I was looking at the arbitrage of prices there and into Europe, and it was quite obvious the money you could make doing that.”
But when he began to see California ports chock-a-block with late model SUVs en route to Eastern Europe not long after The Berlin Wall came crumbling down, Denny packed up shop in 1992 and traded in the sandy shores of America’s Golden State for the post-Iron Curtain promise of Prague.
The Beginning of AAA Automotive
Once settled in the Czech Republic, Denny established AAA Automotive. Business flourished. And before long Denny had expanded AAA’s used car dealings into Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Russia.
By 2000, the business had grown to include a call centre and sales and distribution system that employed approximately 2000 workers in 36 cities.
By 2006, AAA was selling close to 80,000 vehicles annually with revenues of €348 million (nearly AUD$535 million). So Denny decided to take AAA public.
But by 2015, Denny decided that it was time to get out of the used car game in central Europe. He cashed in his share in AAA Automotive and returned to Australia with $340 million in his pocket and a 20% stake in the privatised company that bought him out.
Denny Returns to Australia
After settling back on the Central Coast, Denny jumped at the chance to purchase the former Bunnings site at Stockyard Place in West Gosford when it went up for sale.
Because for all his many accomplishments, there was one dream Denny had yet to realise. He couldn’t have done it overseas. And this was the perfect location for him to finally make it happen.
Once the property was purchased in June of 2015, Denny and his nephew immediately set to work sourcing and acquiring the dynamic collection of unique vehicles that would bring to life Tony Denny’s proudest achievement yet; The Gosford Classic Car museum.
The Gosford Classic Car Museum
Denny spent untold hours and upwards of $3 million renovating the former hardware superstore into a true work of art; with polished concrete floors and carpeted aisles worthy of the automotive masterpieces living inside.
95% of the vehicles on display at the Gosford Classic Car Museum were bought from sellers and collectors right here in Australia. Others have come as far away as Russia.
The most expensive on display? The Ferrari LaFerrari; one of the fastest and most expensive cars ever made. Denny paid around $5 million for his.
The most unique? Maybe it’s the “Zil” Russian stretched limousine once belonging to the Soviet Union’s Communist Party.
Denny’s personal favourite? An EK Holden with only 9,000 genuine miles on it and picnic seats at the back.
The museum is opened Wednesday – Sunday from 9am – 5pm and tickets are available at the door. Adult admission is $20 with tickets for seniors at $18. $15 for concession card holders and children aged 5 – 14. Kids under 4 are free to enter. And a family ticket for two adults and two children can be purchased for $55.
The museum’s Airstream kitchen café offers a nostalgic diner setting experience, serving up globally inspired breakfast and lunch classics.
And if you happen to be a collector yourself, it’s worth noting that all cars in the museum are for sale. Afterall, Denny’s a car salesman at heart. “People might think it’s a little bit crazy, but there is a business case behind every car,” he says.
“I wanted a museum to share my passion with everyone. But there still is an investment decision.” Congratulations, Mr Denny. On getting exactly what you wanted.
Gosford Classic Car Museum
3-13 Stockyard Place
West Gosford NSW 2250
Photo: Facebook/Classic Cars For Fun