Road Warriors

Parker's Vehicle Vault is an ode to all things automotive.

Cars at Vehicle Vault
Courtesy Vehicle Vault

Stop by the showroom at Vehicle Vault, an automobile museum and event center in Parker, and you might run into Mike Waid, the outgoing director of operations, who also happens to be the mayor of Parker, a car-loving public servant whose passion for Vehicle Vault aligns with the deep community value he sees in the organization. Designed to be “a hub of activity for the car community,” in the words of Erin Hutchison, the CEO and founder, the Vault (vehiclevaultco.com) offers everything from car shows to private gatherings. It showcases pieces of automotive history from all over the world, from 1906 to 2007. We spoke with Waid about Vehicle Vault’s mission, its rare and exotic cars, and one of its signature events—the “Shave the Mayor” fundraiser—which he organizes every year to benefit a local charity.

What is Vehicle Vault?
“In 2014, Vehicle Vault officially opened in Parker. It has dual purposes. It’s a car museum that represents vehicles from the start of the gas engine all the way through modern exotics. We have about 45 vehicles on the floor at any given time. We’re also an event center. We have a mezzanine area, which can hold a couple hundred people, as well as a corporate boardroom and an outdoor patio. We also host events on the main museum floor. Where else can you have an event next to a rare Mercedes Gullwing, the lowest-mileage Gullwing in existence? It makes for a really fun experience.”

How did it get started?
“Erin Hutchison, a Parker resident, is the CEO and founder. She and her family own all the vehicles. It was a way for them to share their love of the automobile with the world. In 2014, they moved their private collection into the facility, and that’s mostly what you see when you visit. From time to time, we have guest collections. Last year, we did a Mustang show; a Mustang club in the area brought in their vehicles to display.”

What rare cars are on display?
“The Mercedes Gullwing is an amazing, old style. The doors raise like wings. We have a 1978 Corvette Stingray with just 19 miles on it, and we have some cars that are among just 20 or 25 ever made. The old vehicles are cool, too. We have a 1912 vehicle from Success, a horse-drawn buggy company. They made a one-cylinder engine to strap to the side of the buggy to turn it into a gas-powered vehicle.”

What else does the Vault do?
“Behind the main building, we sell car condos for someone who wants to have a special place for his or her car. When you purchase one, you go in and build it yourself. So if you want to put in a lift and have a place to work on your car, you can. Or if you want to put in a pool table, a hot tub, and showcase your couple of Corvettes, you can do that, too.”

Do you host events?
“Absolutely. Once a month, we host an event called Espresso and Exhaust. People bring their vehicles out and fill the parking lot. The Subaru club comes out, the classic hot rod club, and so on. Everyone loves to talk about what their next purchase is going to be, discuss ideas for renovations, and share the history and the love of the automobile. We also have an annual event called Shave the Mayor. I’ve been the mayor of Parker for six years, and I have a big beard. The event is a fundraiser for pediatric cancer through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. People come out to see me shave my beard and shave their own heads—it’s a lot of fun. We’ve done the event for six years and raised almost a quarter of a million dollars for St. Baldrick’s. The website is ShaveTheMayor.com.”