Museum benefactor and classic car lover Bernie Taulborg has died

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 A wall-spanning city skyline mural provides the setting for a display of 1930s and ’40s luxury cars donated by the Taulborg family to the Classic Car Collection. Photo: John Lee

A wall-spanning city skyline mural provides the setting for a display of 1930s and ’40s luxury cars donated by the Taulborg family to the Classic Car Collection. Photo: John Lee

Lincoln NE - Bernard P. "Bernie" Taulborg, a prominent businessman and classic car collector who donated most of his collection to start the Classic Car Collection Museum of Kearney, NE, passed away January 21 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was 90 years old.

In 2011 Bernie and his wife, Janice, donated 131 cars from their collection to form the core of the new Classic Car Collection in Kearney, Nebraska, some 170 miles west of their Omaha home. Six more vehicles were added in 2015, and the collection has been augmented by vehicles donated and on loan from others, resulting in more than 200 on display at any time.

A Korean War veteran, Taulborg went into partnership with his brother in 1956 to develop land and build apartment complexes. At the same time he began restoring antique automobiles and continued the two pursuits over the next 40 years. At one point he bought a defunct dairy farm on the outskirts of Omaha and cleaned out and remodeled the barns and buildings to house his growing collection. He opened it for viewing by clubs and groups, with buckets for donations to the Shrine Hospital. 

But he was on a quest to establish a more permanent way of preserving his collection and sharing it with the public. A friend suggested that Kearney was actively promoting tourism, having built the Gateway Arch historic exhibit over Interstate 80, and luring the growing Cabela’s sporting goods company to establish its second outlet in the city. 

- Courtesy of John Lee

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