Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Conducting Strategic Deaccessioning of Select Automobiles and Motorcycles to Focus on Mission of Celebrating IMS, Indiana Auto History

Sales Are ‘Phase II’ of Asset Management Initiated in 2015

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation officials announced today a strategic deaccessioning program to enable the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum to focus directly on its mission of celebrating the thrill, innovation, and adventure of motor racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Indiana’s rich automotive heritage.

The IMS Foundation is the 501(c)(3) public nonprofit which operates the IMS Museum and owns the Museum collection.

Deaccessioning is, according to the American Alliance of Museums, “the process of removing an item from a museum’s permanent collection,” and an accepted best practice among museums. The IMS Foundation is undertaking the process with automobiles and motorcycles that are not related to the Museum’s mission, and proceeds will be used for future acquisitions directly related to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and Indiana automotive history, and for the direct care of the Museum’s collection.

The sales are part of an ongoing, multi-year initiative established in 2015 by the IMS Foundation Board of Directors to focus the Museum’s collection and acquisition priorities on its mission. The Foundation conducted a public auction March 11, 2017, to sell items that, mostly, were accumulated by longtime track owner Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. for a proposed amusement park and never intended to be part of the IMS Museum collection.

The IMS Foundation board and Museum staff initiated a study in 2018 of the vehicle  collection and Jason Vansickle, IMS Museum Curator of Vehicles, explains the process leading up to today:

“Over the past 60-plus years the Foundation acquired, by purchase and donation, a wide variety of automobiles and motorcycles, many with no connection to auto racing, the Speedway, or the Indiana auto industry. With the 2018 study, the Foundation began a process of defining what its collection should be, in terms of the collection’s scope and priorities in each focus area.

“Our curatorial and collections staff have reviewed our collection over the past two years, and vehicles that do not help the Foundation serve its mission or are duplicative of other, better examples were recommended to the Board for deaccessioning.”

The Board approved deaccession of certain vehicles in November 2019. Many of the cars identified for sale were purchased by the IMS Foundation decades ago and are not tied to donors; however, for the few cars that were donated, Museum staff is currently notifying donors or heirs.

The sale does not include any Indianapolis 500-winning cars or other historically significant race cars in the collection such as the 1954/55 Mercedes-Benz W196, 1964 Ferrari 250LM or 1966 Ford GT40.

The Foundation explored a variety of disposition sales approaches and, given the current health crisis, chose popular online automotive auction company Bring A Trailer ( to sell select vehicles. Other means of sale may be used over time. Interested parties should follow IMS Museum social media for regular updates and new listings. The Museum’s address on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is @IMSMuseum.

Despite the IMS Museum’s closure due to the COVID-19 national emergency, the IMS Foundation remains in good financial standing – the deaccessioning and sales are in no way tied to the current health crisis and have been in process for more than two years.

IMS Museum staff are preparing to reopen the Museum on July 7, and IMS track tours are scheduled to resume July 6. The popular exhibit, “From the Vault presented by Bank of America,” has been extended until March 21, and a new exhibit scheduled to open August 1 will be announced shortly.

Questions? A question-and-answer file further explaining the Museum’s purpose and intent for the sales is available at:


About the IMS Museum: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to one of the world’s premier motorsports and automobile collections, with interpretive emphasis on the Indianapolis 500 and its role as an American icon of sporting tradition and innovation.

Located inside the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the IMS Museum is currently closed due to the COVID-19 National Emergency but is normally open 363 days a year (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which relies on support from admissions, tours, sponsorships, annual memberships and planned-giving for its operations, educational programming, restoration and preservation efforts, special exhibits and events.

Resources during COVID-19 closure, and deaccessioning updates: Please visit for more information and to enjoy our growing database of education materials and archives. We are updating our social media frequently during our closure, and Museum staff will share updates on deaccession sales as well.

Find us @imsmuseum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and visit us on YouTube and LinkedIn. To learn more about Bring A Trailer, please visit