How Inspiration Begat Inspiration to Create a Collection and Museum Consisting of Every Car, Sneakerhead, and Sports Fans’ Dreams.


“It’s all about passion.” - Miles Nadal

 Passion is the building block of a dream—an obsession, goal, or something that brings one absolute delight. Michael Jordan’s dream was to play professional basketball. He dared to dream it into reality. Not only did he play for the NBA, but he became a six-time NBA Championship winner. He was also pivotal in launching the Nike brand into the stratosphere with the Air Jordans. And this certainly comes into play later in this story. 

For Miles Nadal, Canadian entrepreneur and the esteemed owner and  curator of the Dare to Dream Collection up for offer starting 31 May, the passion was always cars. When you look through each of the three separate sales offering the entirety of Nadal’s collection, you can see how this small thread weaves itself through each lot—including the 850 pairs of sneakers that are offered. The other thread tying the entire collection up is a philosophy that has carried Nadal to the success he’s been able to create for himself, the collection he has built that he is now dismantling, and his other foundational life keystone of giving back—Dare to Dream.

It is the name of his collection, and the phrase has been a constant theme throughout his life, originating decades ago when his firm had acquired a major check producer in Canada. When Nadal’s team was making a move to purchase the only other producer of checks in the country, putting the check firm in a fairly unique position, Nadal had proposed an offer to present to the Canadian government to become the sole provider of checks. The idea wasn’t entirely welcomed with a ton of support, as people told Nadal the government would never allow such a thing.

He responded with a simple phrase: “Dare to Dream.”

You’ll find the three words emblazoned on nearly everything he owns in some way. His plane. His helicopter. And of course his collection. 

“It’s my basic philosophy in life,” Nadal said.

From a Dream to a Collection
“I don't think most great collectors or people who have built great collections had a master plan. [People] just start collecting. And from there, they were introduced to people with collections. And you start to go on a path. That path is never a straight line. It’s always inspired by something you see, you experience or read over. And that’s what happened with me.” - Miles Nadal

Nadal was always a collector. Somewhat tangentially related to cars, his first collection was of hand tools he never used and had no intention of using, admitting he was not mechanical in any way. But he appreciated what they stood for: Perfection. Engineering. Function. Those three pillars play a heavy part in his future collections too. The tools were always pristine and presented in order. The same was applied to his next collection of keys, and then of model cars. The model cars were just a placeholder for the real cars Nadal truly desired to own—someday. 

After working as a sports photographer in his teen years, further exposed to the world of professional sports and the players that made the difference… the influencers… the icons, he figured out the direction of the collection he would someday start. Automotive icons. 

The first official “real car” purchase (as Nadal puts it) was inspired by none other than the Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond: an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage. Not long after, he then fell in love with the vertical grille, the polished wood, and the ride of the Mercedes-Benz 280 3.5, so it, too, was added to his garage. The next additions were interesting cars with a unique presence in the automotive world like a Porsche 356, the Mercedes-Benz 450 SL, Bentley Turbo, and Ferrari Maranello. Each car added had a special meaning to Nadal—a significance in some way. 

“All collectibles are investments you make with your heart, they're purchases that you do because you have an emotional resonation. …whether it's books, cars, sneakers, watches, or fashion, or anything like that luxury, real estate. These are all emotional purchases. In a quest when you are trying to find something that is very inspiring. And when you find something, you're very blessed,” he explained.

“I’m collecting what appeals to my sense of design, to my appreciation for the efficacy and engineering uniqueness and also of the way the cars drive.”

Front fender of a red Ferrari, with a line of classic cars including Ferraris, a Mercedes-Benz Gullwing and an Amphicar on white ceramic flooring in the collection museum.

American fashion designer Ralph Lauren would play a key part in inspiring where Nadal’s collection would go. Following a two-hour tour of Lauren’s D.A.D. Garage with the designer himself and his collection manager, the purchases of other incredibly designed machines—icons—were added to Nadal’s collection with brilliant speed: Aston Martin DB5, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing and Roadster, McLaren, Jaguar XK 150 and E-Type, and his incredibly Ferrari collection of a 1967 275 GTB/4 by Scaglietti, a 1964 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso also by Scaglietti, and 1973 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta by Scaglietti

Nadal, like many of us, eventually fell in love with Porsche as well, so he purchased a 2008 Porsche 911 GT2, black with orange stripes (because Lauren’s GT2 was orange with black stripes), and bought a 911 Speedster (you’ll see two are offered). Then there was an attraction to adorable and interesting microcars, so began acquisitions of a 1962 Messerschmitt KR 200, 1965 Honda S600, 1957 BMW Isetta 300, and likely the most unique of the group, the 1965 Amphicar 770. There’s also the addition of the 1915 Rauch & Lang electric car—a suggestion from Jay Leno for Nadal to add to his collection.

The most intriguing car-might be the one that has sat in the front entrance of his Toronto museum, the Pope’s 2015 Fiat 500L that he used in New York City during his trip to the States in 2015, complete with a custom wax figurine of the Pope, seated in the back seat, waving to passerby.

“So that whole car—I was like, ‘Okay, we are doing this book called ‘Iconic.’ Who’s more iconic than the Pope?” Nadal continues, “And I thought it was really cool as a Jewish person to buy a $19,000 car for $300,000 and give all the money to a Catholic charity.”

But the collection was never built to impress anyone, or inspire anyone. It just happens to be impressive and inspirational because of what it is. He was just happy to pursue it. 

With such an eye and appreciation for design in motor cars, and sports having been a small underpinning in the creation of Dare to Dream, the addition of The Ultimate Sneaker Collection makes perfect sense. Sneakerheads had already been pursuing the hottest kicks since the late 1970s and early 1980s. The pairing of Michael Jordan and Nike with the Air Jordans, the first-ever real athlete and branding deal ever made,  and a few NBA National Championships further meshed sneakers and high tops with popular culture, before they eventually became a status symbol.

When Sotheby’s and Stadium Goods partnered to sell The Ultimate Sneaker Collection in 2019, it really raised the bar for collecting and purchasing rare kicks—bringing them onto the same level as the collectible art market. Nadal, who had come across an article announcing the sale, reached out and silently purchased 99 of the 100 shoes offered in The Ultimate Sneaker Collection, which never made it to auction. However, Number 100, the Nike Waffle Racing Flat ‘Moon Shoe’, thought to be the only pair that had never been worn, continued on to auction. Nadal would place the winning bid and help set a new record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a pair of sneakers: $437,500. That record has been surpassed since, currently held by a signed pair of Air Jordan XIII Breds—Michael Jordan’s game-worn sneakers during the 1998 NBA Finals—that sold at Sotheby’s for $2,238,000 in 2023.

From One Dream to the Next
“For me, the journey is always much more enjoyable than a destination.” - Miles Nadal

 Collecting can be a wonderfully funny habit in that you find a way to keep adding to it, and Nadal’s wife would agree, that for him, nothing is ever done ‘til it’s overdone. His argument? Why stop at one when you can buy five and why stop at five when you could get 25 or 2,050? And following this journey with a steady stream of “adding and adding and adding and adding” cars, shoes, and the swaths of sports and car memorabilia, the Dare to Dream Collection has truly become a substantial collection—beyond what Nadal had ever conceptualized. While many others could come to visit the museum and enjoy what had been put together over the last thirty years, the collection has grown to such a size that Nadal shared that it’s difficult to really enjoy everything he has amassed and curated. So, instead of holding on, he’s allowing others to start their own dreams, and using the proceeds to give back to communities, hoping to enable the youth and others to chase their own dreams, however big or small they may be.

A tight vertical shot looking over the rear ends of three of the Dare to Dream Collection’s Ferraris, a Bugatti Veyron, Maserati MC12, Porsche 911… and a faint glimpse of model cars in a case at the rear of the shot on a wall. Some Porsche and other posters can be seen, along with a couple of racing suits and clocks.

“One of the privileges of building these collections and I say both cars and sneakers and related collectibles because I'm more proud, equally as proud of all the collectibles both automotive and and the athletic collectibles around sneakers is the privilege of sharing with those people who are familiar but never had the opportunity to experience them first hand. We loved hosting events for charitable organizations, and just for friends, family, colleagues, and partners around a broad geographic area when they would come to Toronto. That's why we produced the books, “Iconic,” and the “Ultimate Sneaker Collection,” so that I would always have the wherewithal to send somebody these beautiful books as a collectible and a keepsake, [and show] what our collection was all about. And I will keep sending them out even if I'm monetizing some of the collection. Because it's something that I'm proud of. And the history and the journey has been so valuable.

“I think most things in our life are for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, just like people and they play a meaningful role for various reasons. Our collection has been extremely inspiring, and been a fantastic journey.”


The Dare to Dream Collection is comprised of three separate auctions: The Toronto live auction will be hosted at Nadal’s Collection on 31 May and 1 June 2024;  the Dare to Dream | Online auction goes live on 31 May, with bids closing 3 June 2024; and the Dare to Dream | The Ultimate Sneaker Collection online auction goes live on 31 May and closes 5 June 2024. 



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