The Gosford Car Museum has closed its doors with the loss of 40 jobs after a two-year battle with the Australian Taxation Office.
Opened in April 2016, the museum boasted the largest privately-owned car collection in the Southern Hemisphere. Valued at over $70 million, it became one of the best places to visit on the NSW Central Coast - especially for the motoring enthusiast.
The company behind the museum, Auto Invest Pty Ltd, had been established in 2015 as a car dealership using the museum as a way of marketing the vehicles, while also bringing much-needed tourism to the area. On average, over 10,000 visitors passed through the museum’s gates each month.
Yet questions were raised by the ATO over the museum’s business model, including its admission fee and an audit was launched in December 2016. The audit found that because Auto Invest had used the term 'museum' in its trading name, charged admission, had cars in the showroom which were different to those purchased by customers, and that not everybody visiting the museum was buying a car - therefore, it was considered to be a dual-purpose business and was also not eligible for Luxury Car Tax (LCT) and GST exemptions.
The site of the museum is a former Bunnings Warehouse location, and has been listed for sale. The cars in the museum will be liquidated in a fire sale organised by Lloyds Auction House on April 6-7 with no reserve.
Some of the vehicles set to be auctioned off include rare and desirable historic models ranging from a 1964 Porsche 356SC to a 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III.
Other highlights on the auction list include a VC Brock Holden Commodore HDT, a couple of 1980s Humvees, a Lamborghini Diablo SV, several Ferraris and even Roscoe McGlashan's Aussie Invader jet-engined high speed racer (capable of 0-1000km/h in 16 seconds).
Much had been planned with the site of the museum, which is in West Gosford. A seven-storey eco-friendly tower was destined to be built on the site and feature a number of facilities for visitors including a gym, 6500 square metres of retail space, display suites, a call centre and even an auction house.
The plans were approved by the Central Coast Council, and building was due to start in the next year. Over 200 new jobs would have been created, and the planned solar panel system would have generated enough energy to power the whole site independent of the grid.
Are you sad about the Gosford Car Museum closing? Let us know in the comments below.