Not too far from the hustle and bustle of NYC is a place that blue-collar families will love. It is said to be the largest collection of antique and Mack trucks in the world.
The Mahan Collection Foundation Inc., is a truck museum located in the quiet and upscale community of Basking Ridge, NJ. If you are a lover of trucks, it is a must see.
The Mahan Collection showcases vintage & Mack trucks from throughout the years, but also restores them. Founder and President, Gary Mahan, is passionate about making sure future generations can learn about the machines that make our world what it is.
The museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, so donations and funding are always needed.
The museum was created in 2001 and sits on 40 acres of land and features 6 buildings for you to explore. There are 5 people that keep the museum running and donate their time to restore the trucks. Restoration professionals and diesel mechanics work hard to keep the trucks true to their period and in working order.
Mahan’s passion started with a truck he called “The Wedding Truck”. This was the truck that was used when he married his wife Elizabeth. It was a 1927 AC 5 Ton Truck.
There are over 200 trucks from 1916 through 2001. They collect these trucks from all over the world and bring them to New Jersey where they are lovingly restored and put on display. Sometimes they will pay for junk cars and trucks while others are donated. The group also brings these masterpieces to a variety of truck shows throughout the year as well.
The family offers golf carts to scoot around the property with, and we graciously took them up on that. The day we went the grandkids were selling some lemonade and snacks, perfect for the hot day we were having.
The Museum Grounds
The pathways are filled with hidden treasures. From fire engines that are barely hanging on to bulldozers that seem to be living out their years in a graveyard. Each building is themed and transforms you back in time and delights your senses.
From fake barber shops to retro look gas stations, the whole museum is just an overload for your senses.
The Mahan family did not leave out fun for the kids. During my visit, a Thomas the Tank Train was being restored that will be used to entertain the youngest truck lovers. There is also an area filled with pedal cars, old school buses, and more to entertain the kids. A true hands-on touch and feel museum.
USS New Jersey Gun Barrel
There is also a restored gun barrel on the premises. Not just any gun barrel, it was the gun barrel used on the USS New Jersey. This infamous battleship was used in WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and after the Beirut bombing. It weighs over 250,000 pounds and makes quite a visual when you get to the property.
The Mahan Collection is typically open the last Saturday of each month from April through October. The hours are 12pm-3pm. While not required, they do recommend you RSVP through their website.