To an Englishman, it’s a way to get from point a to point b. For a Detroit factory worker, it’s a paycheck. But for Oyster Bay’s David Jacobson, owner of the newly opened Collector Car Showcase, a car’s something much more.
“Cars speak to the history of our culture,” said Jacobson, a native of the area and a man who has been collecting cars and “petroliana” — car related memorabilia — for two decades. “They tell our American story. They tell who each of us are as individuals. And they’re beautiful to look at — as an art piece, a machine, or a work of engineering.”
Situated at the gateway to Oyster Bay village, Collectors Car Showcase is a remarkable venue to discover all that. The 18,000 sq ft, two-story space contains a museum-like collection of cars and car related materials and has been made over with the kind of loving attention that goes beyond nostalgia or token interest. From floor to ceiling, the remake betrays Jacobson’s tremendous passion for the contents.
“We put in these hardwood floors, authentic lighting from the 1940s,” he said. “One hallway’s been made over into an old city street. We haven’t done some typical 50s roller skate American Graffiti thing, we’re trying to represent a range of eras that were influenced by cars.”
The origins of the enterprise are straightforward. Jacobson’s 20-year collection, which began one year when he was traveling down the Pacific Coast Highway in California, outgrew his storage capacity.
“At first I thought I’d open up a collector car dealership, but then I wondered, what if Long Island had its own car museum?” he recalls. “Right here in Oyster Bay, where the car culture is tremendous? Just look at the way people come from all over the island to our Cruise Tuesday Nights. “
After securing the building at 85 Pine Hollow Road about two years ago, he was off and running to realize his dream of creating a “showcase of imaginative achievement in engineering and design.”
And this month when he opened the doors, Jacobson discovered he wasn’t the only one around with his vision. “As soon as I started bringing my stuff in here, people started knocking on our door,” he said.