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April 29, 2020

This Man Donated His $10 Million Collection of Classic Sports Cars to a California College

Nicholas and Lee Begovich have donated their car collection — 15 vehicles valued at $10 million — to California State University Fullerton. Funds from the sale of the vehicles will be used to support gravitational-wave, engineering and computer-science research. The donation was announced as part of the launch of the school’s upcoming fundraising campaign “It Takes a Titan: The Campaign for Cal State Fullerton”.

This isn’t the first time the Begovichs have given to the school. Over the last 50 years, the couple has donated to the university repeatedly, primarily helping support the arts. Following a $1 million donation to Fullerton’s art department, the university’s main art gallery was renamed the Nicholas and Lee Begovich Gallery in the couple’s honor.

Nicholas Begovich, 98, began tinkering with sports cars in the 1950s and bought many of his cars when they were brand new. Included in the 15-car collection are a rare 1964 Porsche 904 GTS, one of only 126 produced; two rare Pegasos with different body styles, only 84 vehicles were built during the entire production run; Talbot-Lago, and DeTomaso Pantera.

Nicholas Begovich at LAX after his 1964 Porsche 904 GTS Coupe (904-076 of 126 produced in Germany) was unloaded from its transport plane.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am about this,” he said about being able to support the school and its faculty and students. “It completes my life.”

The Begovich car collection:
  • 1951 Talbot Lago Grand Sport
  • 1952 Jaguar XK120
  • 1953 Pegaso Z102B
  • 1954 Pegaso Z102 Series II Cabriolet
  • 1956 Porsche Speedster 1600 Super
  • 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
  • 1962 Covair Monza Spyder
  • 1964 Alfa Romeo Guilletta Sprint Speciale
  • 1964 Porsche 904 GTS
  • 1966 ATS Automobili Turismo Sports
  • 1969 Lamborghini Miura
  • 1970 Chevrolet Camaro SS
  • 1973 DeTomaso Pantera
  • 1974 Maserati Bora
  • 1975 Ferrari Dino 208 GT4
According to physics professor and director of the Center for Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy, Joshua Smith, “We are incredibly honored that Nick and Lee have chosen to invest in the future of gravitational-wave science at Cal State Fullerton. Their gift will have a transformative impact on students through research, teaching and outreach.”

Nicholas Begovich and some of the cars he and his wife have donated to a California college.

(Photos courtesy of California State University, Fullerton)


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