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The Mahan Collection Is A Hidden NJ Treasure For Truck Lovers

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 collection in basking ridge gas stations
Vintage Gas Station Display – The Mahan Collection / Jill Caren Photo

Family Fun

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.

thomas the tank restoration
Thomas the Tank Restoration Project – The Mahan Collection / Jill Caren Photo

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.

mahan collection uss new jersey artillery display
USS New Jersey Gun Barrel – The Mahan Collection / Jill Caren Photo

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.

mahan mack truck museum bullet with logo
Jill Caren Photo
Mahan Collection Explosives Truck
Jill Caren Photo
Mahan collection brockway truck
Jill Caren Photo
Mahan collection mack truck display outside
Jill Caren Photo
mahan collection 1929 mack truck
Jill Caren Photo

2 thoughts on “The Mahan Collection Is A Hidden NJ Treasure For Truck Lovers”

  1. I remember the Mack coal trucks that serviced our Washington Heights apar-
    tment house during & after WW2. The tyres were solid rubber treads with oak spokes (or steel) on a steel rim. The trucks had chain drives which were noisy and the small four and six cylinder engines,also noisy.The trucks would back up to a coal chute on sidewalk level and then tilt the back up to dump an anthracite load down the coal chute to the basement furnace room. The coal had all the usual pollution problems, but it reallly delivered heat in those cold winters, like 1948 with the great blizzard.


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