Collings Foundation

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Collings Foundation
Collings Foundation logo.jpg
B-24 ariving 4-23-10 008 (wide) B24-P51-B17.jpg
Collings Foundation's B-24J "Witchcraft", TP-51C "Betty Jane" & B-17G "Nine-O-Nine" at Marana, Arizona, in April 2010
LocationStow, Massachusetts, U.S.
Coordinates42°24′12″N 71°30′28″W / 42.403293°N 71.5078°W / 42.403293; -71.5078
TypeAviation museum, automotive museum
FounderBob Collings
CEORob Collings

The Collings Foundation is a private non-profit educational foundation located in Stow, Massachusetts, with a mission dedicated to the preservation and public display of transportation-related history, namely automobile and aviation history.[1] The Collings Foundation is headquartered at a small private airfield in Stow that includes a small museum that opens for special events and pre-scheduled tour groups.

The American Heritage Museum, a collection of military vehicles, is located on the grounds of the foundation. The organization also has a satellite operations base at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, primarily housing its Korean War and Vietnam War jet aircraft and helicopter collection.

The Collings Foundation operates two touring collections of historic military aircraft: The Wings of Freedom Tour and The Vietnam Memorial Flight. The Wings of Freedom flights also provided a platform for testing a smartphone-based automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B), a means of future air safety technology.

The Collings Foundation had been known for offering vintage warbird rides to the general public in exchange for donations, however this permission was revoked by the FAA following the fatal 2019 crash of the foundation's B-17G.[2]


The organization was founded in 1979 by Robert F. Collings and Caroline Collings. As of April 2020, Caroline Collings continues to serve as financial director, while son Rob Collings is the CEO and chief pilot of the foundation.[3]

On July 4, 2013, the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation founded by Jacques Littlefield and located in Portola Valley, California, donated their entire collection of military vehicles to the Collings Foundation. A year later, the Collings Foundation auctioned off 120 of the vehicles to fund creation of a new museum at their headquarters.[4] The remaining vehicles are now the centerpiece of the American Heritage Museum in Stow, Massachusetts.

The organization's B-17G Flying Fortress crashed in October, 2019, killing seven of the thirteen people on board. In March 2020, the organization's permission to carry passengers was revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), citing “notable maintenance discrepancies” and a failure to maintain a “a culture of safety” leading up to the crash.[2]


Aircraft collection[edit]

Me 262B "White 1" at Marana, Arizona, in April 2013
Collings Foundation's B-24J "Witchcraft" at Marana, Arizona, in April 2011
Collings Foundation's TP-51C "Betty Jane" at Marana, Arizona, in April 2011
Collings Foundation's TF-51D, "Toulouse Nuts" at Leesburg, Florida, in February 2019

Flyable aircraft[edit]

Static aircraft[edit]

Aircraft under restoration[edit]

  • 1944 Douglas A-26B Invader
  • 1944 Focke-Wulf Fw 190F-8 "White One", Werknummer 931 862, with original BMW 801 radial engine
  • 1944 Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 "White Two"
  • 1944 Piper L-4H Grasshopper 43-30426 Rosie the Rocketer (flown by then-Major Charles Carpenter in France, 1944).[5]
  • B-17 Flying Fortress 44-83785, bought by the Collings foundation in 2015, Intended to join the wings of freedom tour with the late Nine O Nine

Previously operated aircraft[edit]

Automobile collection[edit]

Brass era[edit]

  • 1901 Oldsmobile Curved Dash
  • 1904 Franklin Type A Roadster
  • 1906 Pope Waverly Electric Carriage, original un-restored
  • 1906 Stanley Steamer Touring Car (20 hp)
  • 1908 Cadillac Open Roadster Runabout
  • 1913 Ford Model T Touring Car
  • 1913 Mercer Speedster Raceabout (replica)
  • 1914 Stutz Bearcat
  • 1915 Buick Touring Car
  • 1916 Chalmers Model 120 Sedan
  • 1916 Chevrolet Baby Grand Touring
  • 1916 Oldsmobile Model 44 Touring Car
  • 1919 Willys-Sterns Knight Touring Car

Roaring 20s[edit]

  • 1921 Marmon Model 34 Speedster
  • 1924 Ford Model T
  • 1926 Chevrolet Woody Depot Hack

Classic era[edit]

  • 1927 Rolls Royce Springfield Phantom 1 Phaeton
  • 1928 Packard Model 533 Sedan
  • 1928 Chrysler Model 72 Roadster
  • 1928 Packard Phaeton
  • 1928 Pierce Arrow Series 81 Limousine
  • 1929 LaSalle Model 2H
  • 1929 Pontiac Model F Cabriolet
  • 1930 Cord Model L29 Convertible Coupe
  • 1931 Studebaker President
  • 1932 Duesenberg SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton
  • 1935 Packard Model 1208, Convertible Sedan
  • 1936 Auburn Boat-Tail Speedster
  • 1937 Cord Model 812 Phaeton

Celebrity cars[edit]

  • 1940 Cadillac Limousine V-16, owned by Al Capone, original un-restored

Indianapolis 500 cars[edit]

Trevis/Offy, 1961
  • 1961 Trevis/Offy – Trevis team car, sister car to the 1961 winner. Ran Indy 1961–1964.
  • 1972 Gurney Eagle/Turbo Offy – Leader card Spl. Team car. Ran Indy 1972–1974.
  • 1979 Porsche Indy – The factory race car that smashed all track records before being banned.
  • 1980 Penske PC-9/Cosworth DFX – Mario Andretti's Michigan 500 winner. Ran Indy.
  • 1980, Qualified second with Mario Andretti. Also driven to victory by Rick Mears at the Copa Mexico 125.
  • 1987 March/Buick – Rich Vogler's best Indy effort
  • 1995 Lola/Ford XB – Michael Andretti's race winning car

Other race cars[edit]

  • 1996 Rilley & Scott MkIII/Ford winner of the 1997 Rolex 24 hours of Daytona
  • 1990 Nissan 300ZX- Factory team car winner of the 24 hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and the Drivers and constructors championship
  • 1993 Porsche RS America- Rolex 24 and Sebring 12 hour veteran, the first team car of Champion Porsche

Sprint cars: 1920s–WWII[edit]

Thomas Special, 1936
Studebaker powered midget car, 1946
  • 1932 Crager-Ford
  • 1932 Gemsa Ford
  • 1936 Thomas Spl.
  • 1937 Offy 270 ci.
  • 1937 Rutherford – winner of over 300 races!
  • 1937 Ranger-Aircraft Engine
  • Drayer-Ford
  • Riley Four Port

Sprint cars: post WWII-1950s[edit]

  • 1950 Ford/Offy

Midget racers: 1930s-1950s[edit]

  • 1936 Sowers- a rare Offy derivative
  • Caruso-Offy 110 ci. supercharged by Maserati
  • Studebaker
  • Elto Outboard
  • Indian
  • (3) Ford V-8/60

Military vehicles[edit]


Trucks and farm vehicles[edit]

  • 1909 Peerless Steam Tractor
  • 1915 Walker Electric Truck
  • 1920s International Harvester
  • 1931 Diamond T Truck
  • 1931 Chevrolet Model C Cab-Truck


  1. ^ Collings Foundation (n.d.). "Collings Foundation Background". Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b Owens, David (March 25, 2020). "FAA says owner of World War II bomber that crashed at Bradley, killing seven, did not take safety seriously and can no longer carry passengers". Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. Retrieved March 26, 2020. The permission Collings operated under required it to comply with specific conditions, and the FAA found that it “was not fulfilling several requirements” or satisfying its policy of maintaining “a culture of safety.”
  3. ^ "Staff". The Collings Foundation. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  4. ^ "Silicon Valley tank collection heading east to The Collings Foundation in Stow". The Springfield Republican. AP. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  5. ^ Hogan, Jackson (March 9, 2019). "La Pine man restoring plane flown by 'Bazooka Charlie' in World War II". The Bulletin (Bend, OR). Retrieved May 13, 2019. In 1944, U.S. Army pilot and artillery spotter [Major] Charles Carpenter was in France, fighting in the 4th Armored Division of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army, when he had a crazy idea...Carpenter strapped three bazookas under each wing of his 1944 Piper L-4H, a frail reconnaissance plane not typically used for combat, flew over the German army and blasted multiple Panzer tanks and armored cars north of the town of Nancy. It earned him the nickname “Bazooka Charlie.”...75 years later, the Piper L-4H — nicknamed “Rosie the Rocketer” — has found its way to a rural garage near La Pine, where it’s being restored by a retired engineer.
  6. ^ "Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress". Collings Foundation. Archived from the original on June 8, 2019 – via Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Dempsey, Christine (October 2, 2019). "At least 5 killed, 9 injured, in crash of World War II-era plane at Connecticut's Bradley International Airport". Hartford Courant. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  8. ^ "Collings Foundation American Heritage Museum Collection". 23 January 2019.

External links[edit]