Tucked away inside a 150,000 square-foot facility in central Missouri is one of the most exquisite car collections in the world.
Here, you’ll find everything from the 1932 Lincoln KB used by FDR in his first inaugural parade to a Batmobile from the 1960s TV show to the Shaggin’ Wagon from “Dumb and Dumber.”
But don’t even think about taking a spontaneous trip to check it out. The collection is off-limits to the public, usually viewable via private tour only.
Come September, however, metro Atlanta car enthusiasts will have to chance to see a fraction of Stephen Plaster’s assortment when he brings six cars to this year’s Atlanta Concours d’Elegance, a high-end car show that features rare and museum-quality classic automobiles. Last year, Plaster’s 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet won Best in Show European at the event held at Chateau Elan.
Like his father before him, Plaster loves collecting cars. So much so, he has amassed hundreds of vehicles, many of them are extremely rare.
“The Evergreen collection is truly one of the greatest collections in the world,” said Bill Wallet, co-founder of the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance. “As the largest private collection of automobiles over 100 years old, it is absolutely phenomenal.”
The collection started in the early 1970s. Plaster said his father, Robert W. Plaster, started buying cars because he just loved automobiles.
“That was dad’s car,” said Plaster, pointing a green 1931 Ford Model A sedan, the first antique car in the collection. “I remember Dad told me my job was to keep the battery charged. I said, ‘How do you do that?’ [He said] ‘You drive it.’”
The younger Plaster soon developed a keen eye for rare and high-quality cars and helped his father grow the collection, which can range between 600 to 900 vehicles at any given time.
Then there several cars featured in popular television series or movies, like Austin Powers’ 1976 Cadillac Eldorado from “Goldmember” and that Shaggin’ Wagon.
“My dad didn’t understand why I bought that one,” Plaster said of the “Dumber and Dumber” truck, built to look like a big furry dog.
Robert Plaster is now deceased. The Evergreen collection, however, remains as impressive as ever. Plaster owns dozens of car labels rarely seen on the road: LaSalle, Pierce Arrow, Auburn, Cord, Desoto, Edsel, Indian, Kiser, Checker, Kelsey, Delage, Delahaye, Duesenberg, Kiblinger, Shamrock, Owen and Woodill.
About 90 percent of the cars are convertibles.
“So much beauty, history and true art in one place,” said Wallet.
Driving through the collection is a car lover’s dream. The facility is lined with beautiful Brass Era cars — manufactured roughly between 1896 through about 1919.
There are also cars from the Art Deco era of the 1930s — Duesenburgs, Auburns and Delahayes.
And if you’re into American muscle, the collection is home to dozens of Mustangs and Corvettes. Plaster, owner of Passport Transport, has collected rare pace cars and European sports cars like Ferraris and Porsches, as well.
“The Atlanta Concours takes great pride in presenting cars built from 1900 to 1968 that are rare, seldom seen, expensive and beautiful,” Wallet said. “Having the support of collectors and organizations like the Evergreen collection is the only way we are able to present a new group of more than 180 cars year after year.”