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tv   Strange Inheritance  FOX News  February 1, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm PST

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[laughter] that will do. see you tomorrow. >> a world record car collection. >> he just kept goi >> a world record car collecti n collection. >> he just kept going. >> a maverick driven to leave the mark. >> he went to a wrecking yard auction bought the whole wrecking house. >> his family promises to carry out his grand plan. >> i think there's a feeling of dread, relief, excitement and enthusiasm. >> i love it. feel the hair blowing and tops down. >> can they fulfill the patriarch's dying wish. >> nobody else wanted to be the one who said we would split it up. >> nobody wants car oil on their
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hands. >> i am jamie colby. today i am driving outside tacoma, washington on my way to meet the airs with the man who started nothing, built an empire, left his heirs enormous wealth but also enormous task. >> i am doug law may. my father if asked away in 2000 at the age of 81 left us a world collection that has become a full-time job. >> doug invited me to the family house where his father lived for more than two decades. where he now lives and works. >> hey doug. >> i am glad you could come. >> i am happy to be here. i can't figure one things out. is this a house or a garage? >> five bedroom house with a 300 car garage. >> 300 cars. >> good thing i have the whole day today.
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>> as doug shows me around it is easy to see this isn't just a home but a reflection of the father's passion for the automobile. >> doug, i have got to be honest. i have been to car shows that haven't had this many cars. >> dad did it for a long time. >> every where you look there's a collector car. what is your dream ride a 1930 cadillac or 52 convertible? a 1922 damler. 1961 metropolitan? it is probably here somewhere. there are even rooms completely filled with the same model or manufacturer. >> is it all packers? >> this whole row is packards, yes. >> there are so many of them. >> am i allowed to touch? >> have a seat if you like. >> you don't have to ask me twice. >> look at the steering wheel. >> i think it has my name written all over. so many do. >> harold's fascination with cars started even before he
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could reach the pedal. nancy lamay is harold's widow. >> his mother said from the time he was born he loved the cars. he loved anything with wheels. >> harold is born in 1919 to marie lamay struggling to make a living caring for three young children. when harold is just 3 marie feels she has no choice but to place harold in the custody of friends who can better take care of him. when the couple comes to pick up harold they are driving a 1914 baby grand chevy. >> harold was a little apprehensive he had not met these people before. he's only 3. >> he's only 3. as he described this portly man mind the wheel said, harold, you need to sit on my lap and you can drive the car home. >> little harold puts his hands on the wheel of that chevy and instantly calm filling a
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lifelong love affair with the automobile. after drive ago truck in world war ii harold returns home and builds up a garbage and scrap collecting business. it may not be glamorous, but trash proves very profitable. >> how successful was his business? >> very successful. >> lamay enterprises eventually grows to become the 10th largest private trash removal countmpann america with annual revenues topping $100 million. in 1963 harold marries nancy. a few years later he has another life changing moment. >> a friend was in the mal tease club. he thought it would be just the thing for him to get into. >> once he joins the club a light bulb goes off he wants to start collecting classic cars. he begins with american models mostly chevies and ford, everyday cars and trucks. >> how did he find these cars? >> he was buying most of them
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himself. >> by the 1970s harold's hobby revs up. as his grandson eric says so did his wish list and search grid. >> p didn't matter where in the country the car was. he would say you want to go for a drive the next thing you are crossing from oregon into california. >> as his passion grows he starts buying nearly any car he comes across. >> grandpa never called himself a car collector. he was a car saver. he saved cars. >> haipd couldn't stand to see a car crushed. it broke his heart. >> he went to a wrecking yard auction in idaho. bought the whole wrecking yard. >> by the mid 1990's harold's collection of cars totalled into the thousands. >> he just cankept going. he never stopped. you never said to him honey, enough already. we could use that money for a vacation. >> nope. but whenever we did go on vacation there was always a car
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somewhere in the route. >> as harold's fleet expands he runs out of room in his 300 car garage. he snatches up over 50 properties to stockpile his collection. >> he would buy houses so he could use the garage then he would rent the house and not the garage. >> he buys an 87 acre catholic boarding school called mary mount. >> how many situations you had with harold about what should happen to the collection if he passes? >> never thought about passing at all. it was not on his agenda. >> the question is on his heir's agenda. they are thinking about the huge challenge rumbling toward him once harold is gone. >> you have to decide when you are arrive what are you going to do with this stuff? that's a confrontational thing. it is a burden on everybody
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else. you have to have a plan. >> up next, harold makes that plan. >> plus the one car he really wants but never gets. >> now our strange inheritance quiz question. what was the first official white house car? was it an 1899 packard for mckinley a 1909 white steamer for taft, a 1919 pierce arrow for wilson or 1929 cadillac for hoover? the answer when we return. all the way until... the am. new aleve pm the only one to combine a safe sleep aid plus the 12 hour strength of aleve. introfor sensitiveways dbladders, from always. with soft, dual leakguard barriers to help stop leaks where they happen most. plus, a discreet fit, that hugs your curves. always discreet visit alwaysdiscreet.com for coupons and to learn more.
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♪ >> so what was the first official white house car? the that businessma if includes at let's 3,000 vehicles. even he doesn't know the exact number. but there is one car he misses out on. says his wife nancy. >> he always wished he had gotten a tucker. >> preston tucker was an american inventor and entrepreneur who designed the tucker sedan in 1948. conceived as the car of the future. >> it was so ahead of its time. it is so sleek. it has awesome lines. >> but sales were doomed after
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ducker was investigated for stock fraud. only 51 cars were made before the chicago company folded. >> with or without a tucker, lemay's vintage car collection is named the world's largest in the 1998 guinness book of world records. it includes true classics such as a 1910 roadster, 1930 dusenberg and 1936 auburn. harold now in his late 70's starts to worry about what will become of his beloved autos when he is gone. charlie maxwell friends are harold for over 30 years. >> what did harold want to happen with the collection? >> he wanted to see his collection preserved. he felt really bad when we would go to car auctions and he would see somebody's life collection being dispersed to the two corners of the roof.
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>> it isn't he in his heirs but son and grandson eric will have the burden of housing and maintaining all of these cars. >> did he think about what he had amassed and what his family would face as he got older? >> he had made the decision to my grandmother they were going to create a museum. >> that's right. a museum. just for harold's cars. the family starts by requesting lamp from the city of tacoma. before officials take the property they ask harold for initial donation of 300 cars to get the project going. >> 10 percent of the collection. is that hard for him? >> i think it almost killed him. he had to document that he had to put his signature on saying he wasn't going to own this stuff at some point. i remember his handshaking and he kind of took a deep breath signed it and handed me a piece of paper and stormed back toward
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home. >> on november 4th, 2000, after a massive heart attack harold dies at the age of 81. his heirs inherit his grand car collection. even grander dream of a museum to house it. >> i think there was a feeling of dread, relief, excitement and enthusiasm. >> two questions arise, how many cars are there and what is it worth? the family calls in larry baton owner of the auto appraisal group in charlottesville, virginia. >> it was a massive operation. his filing system was a 32 gallon green trash bag. he never had any intention ofb . we worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. >> the team uncovers countless classic cars only harold knew he
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had. >> we would open a door that hadn't been opened in decades. it would be full of cars that had been there for years. covered with flower, like snow inside a building. there were bumblebee fords. pizaros. cars that were so unique. in they located 2,973 cars not t including the countless rusted cars. >> i believe his goal was to have one of every car ever made. >> larry is not allowed to say what the whole collection is worth but independent estimates take it $100 million at the time of harold's death. with the inventory complete theh family tries to realize harold's dream of a car museum. starts hittingli road blocks. >> creating a museum is like i watching sausage get made.
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it is really ugly and hard. h they are not the only ones with car n trouble. >> get me a car that works. >> that's next. >> here's another quiz question. which classic american sportscar came first? is it the chevy corvette or thunderbird or dodge charger?e the answer when we return.
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♪every day is so wonderful ♪then suddenly ♪it's hard to breathe ♪now and then i get insecure ♪from all the pain ♪i'm so ashamed would it be ok if i sat here? ♪i am beautiful no matter what they say♪ is she serious? ♪i am beautiful no matter what they say♪ what ver! ♪words can't bring me down♪ new irl! ♪words can't bring me down♪
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♪i am beautiful in every single way♪ ♪yes, words can't bring me down.♪ ♪so don't you bring me down today♪
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>> so which classic american sports car came first? it's, a, the chevy >> the chevy corvette from the introduction of 1953 they produced over 1.5 billion of them. >> in the early 2000's harold
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lemay's family struggling to give him his dying wish. the creation of the museum was the 200 club car collection would be on public display. one featured the classic car obsession. henry ford's model t. i met with harold's grandson eric and friend mike for a driving lesson. step one hand crank the car to start it. >> not quite. >> ouch. >> oh, come on. give me a car that works. >> straight on. >> the model t is the first affordable automobile. it is not particularly easy to drive.
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it has three med pedals but the break is on the right. what is it doing there? >> did you clear the streets today? >> as we go around test easy to see why harold fell in love with this classic. >> here the hair blowing top down. >> bigotry back there. >> break, break -- brake, brake, brake. step forward. wait. >> brake. >> oh, yeah, that thing on the right. >> throttle up. >> perfect. not a scratch. >> but a collision is in store for the laemay family as it tris to get the museum. >> all of the next steps. >> the family donates 600 cars to the project and $15 million, too, but it's not enough. they hire a fundraiser who tells them they have to have corporate
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sponsors for more big bucks. that will mean the lemays are told they will have to sacrifice their control and vision of the museum. the family agrees but soon find themselves just two on a board of around 30. >> on the one hand you want to see the legacy and stories of the cars preserved on the other hand you can't control once it is in the muss em's hands. >> exactly. >> the museum has cars from other collections to attract national attention. then fundraising runs tight. the board tells am family they don't have the budget for all of the cars. many of the cars they donated are redundant. they decided on a step harold lemay who have never considered. sell some of the cars. >> if you could have controlled the situation would you have asked them to sell other cars? >> i don't sell many cars.
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>> in fact harold had only sold three collector cars in his lifetime. >> family members are dismayed. >> none of us wanted to be the ones who said we would split all of the stuff up. you don't want that car oil on your hands. >> if you didn't want them? why did you ask for them? >> feel like that's the reason they wanted them was to sell them. >> the museum options had 145 of harold's donate the autos. estimated value well into the millions. his 1940 packer convertible victoria sells for 113 k. while his 1936 rolls-royce goes for more than 65 grand. the funds do their part to help the museum keep going. whether the sheik looking building final -- sleek looking building opens changes to lemay's car museum.
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it reflects the shift in focus to harold lemay to fares from other donors as well. it is discouraging because his wish was a museum devoted just to his world record collection. the family believes there's still a chance to keep his vision alive. >> what is this place? >> would you believe a second museum just minutes down the road from the first? that's next. let's do more... ...add one a day 50+. complete with key nutrients we may need. plus it supports physical energy with b vitamins. one a day 50+ let's get some oh yea, rocks, man.ng down health can change in a minute. so cvs health is changing healthcare. making it more accessible and affordable,
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property that harold purchased in the mitt 90's. >> harold, what is this place? >> this is the other part of the equation what wthat was our fam learning how to save the world's largest car collection. this is the marry mount. >> why two? >> we wanted another about the lemay family and our taste in collecting. we may be only 6 miles apart but they are different culturally from each other. >> the lemay family considers mary mount a down to earth little brother a sweet modern tech coma museum. it is the dirty fingernail version that celebrates harold's cars and nobody else's. the museum depends on the hard work of harold loyalists. everyone here from the tour guides to car repair men as a volunteer. >> not to take on a car color but are you in the black or the red? >> at some point it's not far
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away this will be a self sustaining business. >> it looks like it's going to be healthy for a long, long time. >> before i leave there's one car he tells me i have to see. >> a 1948 tucker. >> wait a minute. harold wanted a tucker. i thought he didn't get one? >> he didn't buy it. my grandmother bought it after he died. we knew he wanted some so a group of our family went to an auction and grandma bought the tucker that he couldn't have before he passed away. >> unbelievable. so he left, but you knew it was that important to have. >> questiwe knew it was that important. >> what would harold say? >> he would love it. >> i think if grandpa were to look at how hard we tried to do what he was hoping we would do emmed be proud of it.
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it took the whole community volunteers the family that never got off track with each other. that's his legacy, basically. >> >> one last harold lemay story. back in the 80's at a garbage convention in chicago he caught wind of a car for sale. a 1914 baby grand chevy. the same model he first tooled around in as a 3-year-old. the day he said good-bye to his mom. >> harold bought it on the spot. he loaded it into the back of his fancy garbage truck that he purchased at that trade show. he and nancy hauled a chevy all of the way back here to tech coma. there it sits to this day. he never let it go. i am jamie colby. thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance. and remember, you can't take it with you. the >> do you have a strange
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inheritance story you would like to share with us? we would love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our web site, strange inheritance.com. >> found in grandpa's attic. >> dirty, dusty old box. like, wow. i don't know what it is. >> a discovery that will make the baseball world flip. >> you've got honus wagner. cy young. christie matthew son. >> i'm thinking to myself, oh, my god. i have a million dollars sitting in a chair. >> but is it almost too much of a good thing? >> it certainly changes the market in a negative way. (?) ♪ jamie: i'm jamie colby. i'm in

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