Since he was in high school, Floyd Garrett has worked weekends. Now 69 years of age, the man whose name is synonymous with the high performance muscle car collector world, says he's looking forward to a vacation. Garrett would like to sell his Floyd Garrett Musclecar Museum in Sevierville, Tenn., by the end of the year.
In an interview with Old Cars Weekly, Garrett said he is hoping to find someone who will want to continue the museum, with or without his own remaining stock of muscle cars, now comprising only about 10 percent of the museum's rotating collection. "I'm kind of flexible," he said. "It would be nice to sell it as a museum and be a consultant to get cars in and out. It really depends on the buyer."
Garrett said his interest in muscle cars started in high school while working weekends at a service station. Later, he went to work for a paper mill, then purchased a dump trunk and on weekends ran a side business that grew into a full time enterprise. "It developed into a pretty sizable business," he said. "I ran it for 20 years. But I made a mistake with it: I made money with it, so I started accumulating cars."
Garrett started his museum in 1996 at a time when muscle cars were gaining in popularity. The Florida native had moved from the Amelia Island area of the Sunshine State the year before, bringing his 64 cars with him.
Sevierville, Tenn., is part of a popular tourism destination that also includes Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. It draws millions of visitors a year. The 1990s was a prime time for Garrett to start his museum there. In turn, his collection helped to attract muscle car fans from around the world and made Garrett a notable personality in the hobby. The highly popular Forge Invitational Musclecar Show, in fact, moved closer to Garrett's museum to capitalize on their mutual attractions. The president of the FORGE SHOW, Tim Lopata, has been in contact with Garrett and the two friends are hoping to facilitate a smooth transition if or when a new museum owner is found.
Garrett has not made any definite decisions on what he will do with the 13 cars he still has in his personal collection. "You know, none of 'em's for sale, but all of 'em could be bought," he said, adding: "I do plan to stay in the hobby."
His most treasured car is a 1962 Bel Air 409, "because I raced 409s when they were new," he said.
Garrett's wife, Ava, is also involved with the museum and Floyd said she has "mixed feelings" over his decision. "There's been a lot of hard work put into it," he said of the museum. "But she realizes that if we want to travel we have to do it now. When it's over, she'll probably cry."
Garrett added that he has enjoyed his years in the hobby. "I can tell you, I've met a lot of good people along the way. In this hobby, probably 95 percent are down-to-earth, good people where their word still means something. You always have a few squirrels, but most are just good, lovin' people. And I've certainly enjoyed meeting a bunch of 'em."
Serious inquiries about the museum are being handled by Tim Lopata who can be contacted at 865-380-1996 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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