Private Investor Pledges $15M For California Automobile Museum Renovation

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A private investor says he’ll put up $15 million to construct a new building for the California Automobile Museum.

It’s a classic case of out with the old and in with the new. But it’s not out with the old cars, but in with a new modern makeover for the museum.

“Our cars are a state-of-the-art collection. Our building, not so much,” said Karen McClaflin.

It’s a collection of incredible style and history, hosting cars like Gov. Jerry Brown’s 1974 Plymouth. But the show is a bit of a secret with just about 50,000 visitors a year.

Inside, there are plenty of eye-popping colors and chrome. But outside, it almost looks like an abandoned warehouse.

“Our building has needed to be replaced for probably at least a decade,” said McClaflin.

Now it will be thanks to a $15 million pledge from a private donor.

“Sacramento will be terribly proud. It’s going to be a world-class building with a world-class collection,” said museum docent Paul Cocciante.

The plan is to move the masterpiece cars into a beautiful new proposed building on the same spot along the Sacramento River.

The donor also has a private collection of animal specimens to showcase.

“We will be sharing. This will actually turn into two museums, the California Automobile Museum as well as a Natural History Museum for Sacramento,” said McClaflin.

The new building will sit south of the California State Railroad Museum and west of the Crocker Art Museum, which is not too far from the proposed Kings arena.

“Maybe this area can become the next Balboa Park, the next Golden Gate Park for Sacramento,” said McClaflin.

Sacramento’s Planning and Design Commission is set to vote on the new plans next week. If approved, construction crews would break ground next spring.

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