Jim Cooley started collecting at a very early age. When asked what his first item was, it is likely that you will get a different response each time. One day it may be his 1938 American Flyer toy train, or his Marx tank. Another day he may surprise you with a iron his grandmother used. One thing is certain though, Cooley has spent his lifetime collecting.
As co-owner of Frank the Trainman, with his wife Carmen, over the years he would take good customers over to his house remarking I've got "something different" for you to see. Most frequently, the response was "you should open a museum."
In 1996, after years of encouragement from their friends, Jim and Carmen Cooley founded the J.A. Cooley Museum. On display is San Diego's Best Collection of 100 Year Old Vehicles with over two dozen, dating from 1885 to 1933. Feature exhibit include the first car from (Mercedes) Benz and the Buick XP2000 Concept Car. In addition to their automobile collection, the museum boasts over 30 categories of antiques. Check out our Photo Gallery page to see a sneak preview of other collections on display.