The Best Museums to Donate Your Antique Vehicle

Donate Antique Vehicle to LeMay Collections at MarymountDonating a classic, antique, or collector car to a museum can be a terrific way to give back to the community and keep the rich history of vintage vehicles alive. Donating a collector automobile is different from donating a normal modern vehicle, although the process shares some basic principles (for general tips on how to donate a vehicle successfully, read our recent article about Donating a Vehicle to a Non-Profit). Collector and antique vehicles have the unique opportunity to become part of a museum collection, but how do you find the right museum?

The list below includes some of the most prestigious auto museums in the United States that accept donations and gifts:

America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington
America’s Car Museum was started by a donation of automobiles from the Harold LeMay Family’s collection and includes a wide variety of vehicles ranging from a famous Peking-to-Paris Citroën 2CV to a 1983 Mercury Colony Park station wagon. The collection explores the history and evolution of American mobility and automotive lifestyles. Learn More…

AACA National Headquarters & Library

The Hershey, Pennsylvania-based club is the oldest and largest such organization in the United States.  Its new facility houses a special display of vehicles, memorabilia, and the largest public automotive library known to exist.  As a 501 C 3 AACA welcomes donations of automobiles, literature, and selected memorabilia. Learn more…

The AACA Museum, Inc.
The AACA Museum, Inc. has built an antique automobile collection entirely based on the contributions of thoughtful automotive collectors. The museum is a Smithsonian affiliate with a collection made up of over 175 vehicle donations. Learn More…

The Blackhawk Museum
The Blackhawk offers collectors several options for donation, allowing donors to choose between donating to the Wheels for Wheelchairs programs, the Children’s Education and Transportation Fund, or donating a gift to keep the Museum running. Learn More…

The Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum
We have affiliated with the world-renowned Gilmore car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Because of its partnerships with other museums and collections, its outstanding facilities, and beautiful campus with year-round access to its exhibits, the Gilmore Car Museum is the destination of car enthusiasts from all over the world. The Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum & Research Center is a premier attraction at Gilmore. Learn More…

Donate to Boyertown Museum of Historic VehiclesBoyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles
Discover Pennsylvania’s Transportation History at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles! See vehicles of all types: gasoline, electric, and horse-drawn, including carriages, wagons, and sleighs. You will see ‘high wheelers” and “safety bicycles,” vehicle builder’s tools, and local historic roadside architecture. Learn More…

The California Automobile Museum
This wonderful museum includes more than 150 classic cars and trucks exhibited in groups based on historical context. The museum is always looking for new donations to keep its exhibits comprehensive and up-to-date. Learn More…

The Gilmore Car Museum
The Gilmore collection consists of more than 250 vehicles, 7500 automotive artifacts, and almost 500,000 archival and library items. The collection rotates items to tell the story of transportation in America. Learn More…

The Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford Museum offers educational experiences that include authentic objects and stories about the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and innovation of the legendary Ford automobile. Exhibits celebrate the traditions of the past and the path that led to the modern Ford automobile.Learn More…

The Lane Motor Museum
The Lane Museum is one of the few museums in the U.S. to specialize in European cars. Some cars are in showroom condition, while others represent typical aging. Efforts are made to restore each vehicle to near-original specifications. Learn More…

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum is dedicated to educating the public about automobiles and their impact on society. The changing exhibits offer insight into how we think, use, and feel about cars. Learn More…

The LeMay Collections at Marymount
Founded by Harold & Nancy LeMay, this museum showcases over 500 vintage vehicles – primarily American-made cars, trucks, buses, fire engines, motorcycles, and more. Recognized as the world’s largest privately-held collection and located on the historic Marymount campus in Tacoma Washington, it is managed by the LeMay Family Foundation. Learn more…

The National Corvette Museum
The National Corvette Museum preserves the past, present, and future of one of the world’s most popular vehicles. The 115,000 square foot facility located on 55 acres includes the world’s only General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant. Learn More…

The Petersen Automotive MuseumThe Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen Automotive Museum was rated by CNN, Octane, and Top Gear as “the world’s greatest automotive museum”. The Museum is also used as a venue space that has hosted some truly glamorous celebrations and continues to host presentations, weddings, social receptions, conferences, and much more. Learn More…

The Savoy Automobile Museum
Officially opening 12.8.21, Savoy Automobile Museum connects people to the cultural diversity of the automobile. Through changing exhibits, educational programs, and engaging experiences individuals have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and history of automobiles. This world-class museum and showgrounds sit on approximately 37 acres in Cartersville, GA just off I-75, between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Learn More…

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
As one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum contains more than 75 historically significant cars including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, and more. Rare and vintage race cars are the primary focus of exhibits, but more common automobiles are also accepted as a way to support the Museum and its educational initiatives.
Learn More…

No matter what vehicle or where you choose to donate, it is important to make sure you know the fair market value of your vintage vehicle or classic car. Knowledge of your car’s value will help you to get the most out of your deduction and help you to avoid tax mishaps. AAG can help you determine the true value of your car with a Charitable Donation Value Appraisal and allow you to make the best decision about your donation. Call us today for more information!

Donating a Vehicle to a Non-Profit

Donating a Vehicle to a Non-ProfitMany car owners think that donating a vehicle is a great way to get ahead on taxes and avoid having to sell an unwanted car or pay to junk it, but the process can be fraught with pitfalls. Some charities are guilty of false advertising and self-dealing, while other organizations are for-profit intermediaries that give only a small contribution to charity. In some cases, it may actually serve a charity better (and prevent IRS auditors from calling) to sell the car and simply donate the proceeds.

In the case of vintage vehicles, the value of the automobile may make it worthwhile to look into the details of donation and put forth the effort to donate properly. The following tips will make it easier for you to donate in a safe and effective way:

Research the charity to which you donate. In order to claim the donation as a charitable deduction, the charity must have a 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS. Take the time to learn about the charity, too – organizations like Charity Watch rate charities and help you determine how well they process vehicles that are donated.

Itemize your tax deductions. The IRS has detailed rules about the amount you can claim, and you must itemize your car donation on your return. Furthermore, the charity to which you donate must qualify for you to receive full market value for the vehicle: donated cars must be used by the charity in their operations, improved by the charity in order to sell or use the vehicle, or donated or sold to a needy person for below market value. In all other cases, you can only deduct the amount received by the charity as proceeds from selling the car.

Get a receipt for the donation. You must get a receipt from the charity for the vehicle and documentation certifying the selling price of the vehicle within 30 days of the charity’s sale of the car.

Complete the appropriate IRS form. There are specific forms the IRS requires for you to deduct the donation based on the sale price or fair market value of the vehicle. If the vehicle’s fair market value or sale price exceeds $5000, you will be required to get an independent appraisal and complete Section B of Form 8283. For more information about the IRS forms necessary to deduct your vintage vehicle donation, visit the IRS web site.

Donating a VehicleDeliver the vehicle yourself. If possible, drive the vehicle to the charity yourself. This not only saves the charity money to make your donation more effective, but it also ensures that you are not giving your car to an unrelated, for-profit intermediate dealer. Be sure to sign over the title of the car to the charity and ask a representative to sign it as well. If the car is not road-worthy and the charity picks it up for you, make the person picking up the vehicle sign the title and take a picture or photocopy of it to prevent liabilities that can be charged to you or the new owner.

For even more information about donating a vehicle and tax deductions, read IRS publication 4303, A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations.

A great first step for any automobile donation is an independent appraisal by a certified appraiser. Not only can an auto appraisal of a vintage vehicle help you to deduct a donation, but it can also help you determine how and to whom you want to donate to. In some cases, it may make more sense to sell the vehicle yourself, while in others, it may be profitable for both you and the charity to donate the car directly. If you decide to sell the vintage vehicle on your own, the appraisal will help you to know what price to expect and help validate that price to potential buyers.

Auto Appraisal Group can help you to navigate the world of vintage vehicle donations – schedule a certified independent auto appraisal today!