There has been no shortage of legendary figures in Las Vegas, and Phillip F. Maloof was unquestionably one of those. Known to all as “Uncle Phil,” Mr. Maloof – who passed away on April 4 at the age of 93 – was a passionate collector of classic cars, works of art and rare theater pipe organs.
He was a patriarch of the well-known Maloof family, which includes his nephews George, Joe, Gavin, Phil Jr. and niece Adrienne (of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” fame). Originally from New Mexico, the family first acquired and operated the Fiesta Rancho Casino in Las Vegas and later developed and operated the luxurious Palms Casino and Palms Place Resort. The family’s love for high-profile ventures also included sports interests, including former controlling ownership of the Houston Rockets and later the Sacramento Kings NBA teams, and a current minority ownership of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team.
First and foremost, Maloof loved his classic cars. The Uncle Phil Maloof Car Collection – housed in five custom garages on two acres of land near to his personal residence – contains some 80 perfectly preserved examples of fine Duesenbergs, Rolls-Royces, Lincolns, Packards and Cadillacs, many of them hailing from the 1930s and ’40s. Among his favorite models (with 32 in his collection) was the 1941 Cadillac – reminiscent of the car his father bought him at age 16 and the very first car he learned to drive.
Naturally, Uncle Phil was drawn to the collector car mecca of Barrett-Jackson, attending many of the auctions – particularly in Scottsdale and Las Vegas – for decades. Over the years, he bought and sold more than 100 vehicles over the Barrett-Jackson block. His purchases included two notable Duesenbergs: a 1931 J Murphy Convertible Coupe and a 1930 J309 Dual Cowl Phaeton.
Uncle Phil was not only a longtime Barrett-Jackson customer, but he was also a personal friend of the Jackson family for decades.
“Whenever we would travel back east, we would always stop for the night in Albuquerque to visit Uncle Phil and his family, even back when I was just a kid,” remembers Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson. “And whenever he came to town, Phil would always stop by and see us – especially my mother Nellie. I will never forget visiting him after he moved to Las Vegas and admiring his amazing collection of cars, model airplanes and organs. If I saw Phil in the audience at the auctions, sitting there with his ‘skipper’ hat on, I’d always come down from the podium to say hello. He was always generous with his knowledge of great classics and helped steer the collector car hobby for many decades. Phil was truly a character and full of life.”
It is people like Uncle Phil Maloof who bring such color, passion and life to the collector car industry. He will truly be missed.