You wouldn’t think, but in a quiet suburb of New York City, a man has amassed what is often referred to as the largest collection of Mack and antique trucks in the world. We introduce you to the Mahan Foundation of Basking Ridge.
As with all Mr. Local History retrospectives, we often update the post when we learn stories and are sent photos from our internet community. We will continue to grow this piece as information becomes available. If you have a comment or photo, feel free to post at the bottom of this page or drop us a note.Mr. Local History Project
The Mahan (pronounced May-han) Collection Foundation Inc. is an antique trucking museum located in Somerset County, New Jersey. Gary Mahan, founder and President of the foundation wanted to take his truck collection to the next level, and ensure that his immaculate restorations would be protected for generations to come.
In 2001 the museum was formed as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. The collection is displayed throughout 6 buildings, on 40 acres with along with memorabilia that will take your breath away. They operate with a crew of 3 full time restoration mechanics to ensure that they can keep the museum going with new acquisitions and restorations.
The Mahan Foundation collects, restores, and maintains one of the largest antique truck collections in the world.
Over 200 trucks ranging from the early 1900s to 1990s make up the collection.
Special thanks to DailyDieselDose and Clark Perks for their footage.
First Truck in the Collection
Mahan’s obsession began way before he moved to Basking Ridge in 1983. Formerly of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, the Mahan collection began with a purpose as he wanted to use a truck, his first truck, a 1927 AC 5 Ton truck he now calls “The Wedding Truck” that was his mode of transportation at his wedding.
The obsession has since led to over 200 trucks across 6 buildings that are now part of his foundation’s collection, preserved to carry on long after Gary is unable to managing the collection. His daughter Kathryn serves as director of the foundation, as well as museum curator, tour guide, and social media director and mother. She is the only one that has spent her entire life around the family collection and is up to the challenge.
It is just incredible to walk the property going from building to building, each one full of what would be the very foundation of any other collection. Even a non truck lover can’t help but to be overwhelmed with the display which exhibits the Mahan’s family passion and love for trucks.
Bring the Kids
Walking the collection you can’t help feel the kid in yourself as a child playing with yellow Tonka trucks on a dirt pile in your back yard. Gary hasn’t forgotten thoughts that are the imagination of young children as there is an unspoken rule at the museum. You bring the kids, you put them in the truck, tractor, bulldozer or even a dozen pedal cars and let the kids experience trucks. It’s a touch and feel museum meant for experiencing and that means experiencing. So feel free to bring the kids. They’ll love it.
National Truck Show Recognition
Each year between May and October the foundation takes selected trucks to approximately 10 different truck shows and caravans to allow spectators to see their restorations. Many don’t know the history of the Mack Truck Company, which was founded in 1900 as the Mack Brothers Company. It manufactured its first truck in 1907 and adopted its present name in 1922. One of the largest and favorite shows is the annual Macungie Antique Truck Show hosted by the Antique Truck Club of America. Macungie is the home of Mack Trucks
Our Goal each year is to bring a newly finished truck into the Truck Show Season to wow our friends and followers and to keep the Museum exciting for our returning guests.Gary Mahan
USS New Jersey Gun Barrel Exhibit
The USS New Jersey is one of the most famous battleships ever. Deployed first during WW2, the battleship was recommissioned for the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and after the Beirut bombing in Lebanon in 1982. The restored gun barrel is a 250,000 pound piece of American history on display at the Mahan Museum.
Mahan Ties to the Local Community
The Mahan Foundation offers guided semi-private and private tours of the collection throughout the year, and welcome any truck lover, or history enthusiast to come and see what they’re up to!
Open House at the Mahan Truck Museum
Saturday, August 14, 2021 (Registration Required)
A very special thank you to Kathryn Mahan Piper for spending a morning and sharing her stories growing up around the collection. Born and raised in Basking Ridge, her goal now is to showcase the collection to the community. The Mr. Local History Project will be back….GUARANTEED!