World of Speed, a nonprofit experiential motorsports exposition, has purchased an 80,000-square-foot building in Wilsonville, Oregon, as the permanent home for an auto racing and performance car tourism destination and an auto industry educational program.
“We’ve been looking for a home for nearly a year,” said Tony Thacker, executive director, World of Speed. “Our vision is to showcase our amazing car collection in a destination tourist attraction that supports the visitor industry, and inspires young people to explore career opportunities in the auto industry in a fun and exciting environment.”
World of Speed plans to occupy the former location of Town and Country Jeep Dodge in Wilsonville, which will be organized to accommodate more than 100 vehicles, a workshop area, and space for educational activities. Melvin Mark Brokerage Company represented World of Speed in its purchase of the building.
Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp, an avid show-car fan who also restores older vehicles, said, “World of Speed has the potential to be an exciting new asset not just to Wilsonville, but also for the entire Portland region and state. This attraction can be a real draw for visitors from across the country and even internationally that complements the City’s tourism strategy now under development. The Wilsonville community looks forward to hosting World of Speed.”
World of Speed’s collection is comprised of race and performance cars from various venues including NASCAR, land speed racing, drag racing, open wheel, sports cars and motorcycles. The collection includes classic American muscle cars as well as racecars with a Pacific Northwest connection.
Through interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, World of Speed will offer visitors a behind-the-scenes view of the world of racing. Recently, Ford Motor Company donated a Mustang that will be reconfigured into a hands-on display to showcase how a car is constructed, what materials are used and how materials are recycled. A real Indy car will function as a simulator for fans of all ages, while a car formerly raced by Danica Patrick should appeal to female visitors.
Several historic racecars are in the collection including Mickey Thompson’s famous record-breaking Assault, Herm Petersen’s Northwest Terror, and the Gaines Markley/Rob Bruins National Hot Rod Association Top Fuel Championship Car from 1979. World of Speed is also undertaking restoration responsibilities for any need that arises.
Programming and activities will expose young people to the opportunities available in the auto industry, and to help educate them to enter the workforce or advance to specialized education. A curriculum will be developed under the supervision of Mr. Thacker.
The auto industry touches nearly two million people in jobs ranging from design, assembly and repair of vehicles. According to Thacker, that figure doesn’t include the performance aftermarket and racing industry that is estimated to be $30 billion by the Specialty Equipment Market Association. A typical professional NASCAR team might employ up to 140 people including cooks, marketers and race mechanics.
Plans for redevelopment are under way. The World of Speed is expected to open in the fall of 2014.
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