Yesterday the museum also held its grand opening for the new 48,000-square-foot, environmentally friendly facility it will occupy following $20 million worth of reconstruction. The Donnelley gift comprises about $8 million towards the reconstruction campaign, $1.2 million towards operational support, and 55 vintage Ford Model A vehicles valued at $800,000 from Elliott Donnelley's personal collection. (A random sample of a Model A Ford is shown above.) The classic automobiles donated by Mr. Donnelley will be housed in the museum's "Wheels of Change" exhibition of antique cars.
The Palm Beach Post reports that Elliott Donnelley’s enthusiasm for the Model A derived from the fact that he learned to drive in one. He started collecting Model As in 1968, and what makes his collection remarkable is that he added commercial vehicles, including a Model A hearse, a Model A dump truck, and a 1931 Model A ambulance that was converted into a camper.
Mr. Donnelley, now 75, is the great-grandson of Richard Robert Donnelley, the founder of R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company of Chicago, the largest commercial printing company in North America, with annual sales of over $5 billion and 40 manufacturing facilities around the world. He is also head of the non-profit organization Model A's Inc. and founder of the Lantana Boat Yard, both in Palm Beach County, Florida.