Maybe art museums aren’t your thing, but what about institutions that celebrate automotive greatness?
There are all sorts that provide extensive information on driving history in all reaches of the globe; some are incredibly comprehensive collections funded by major manufacturers while others are small and independently owned.
Regardless, they’re all worth a tour if you find yourself in one of these cities.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany takes visitors on a journey through the 125-year history of the esteemed automaker. To mark the milestone anniversary, the museum is hosting a special exhibition that runs through April 2019 and showcases rare and historic models like the Mercedes-Benz 170 S Cabriolet B and the Mercedes-Benz 500 SL.
Need more of a nudge? The cultural hub is rated the number one attraction in Stuttgart according to TripAdvisor, and even comes with a five-star rating. And if Mercedes isn’t your preferred make, BMW, Audi and Porsche all offer similar brand museum experiences in their respective German centres.
Businessman and philanthropist Peter Mullin turned his French-made automobile obsession into a place for like-minded enthusiasts to congregate and appreciate some of the most impressive cars made in France in the early 1900s through the ’40s. Expect to see a number of rare makes and models including Bugattis and Delahayes. The privately owned collection is located in Oxnard, just an hour west of Los Angeles, making it a must-see if you find yourself in SoCal.
The National Automobile Museum (NAM) opened in 1989 as a tribute to the late Bill Harrah, founder of Vegas’ original Harrah’s hotel and casino, as well as the now-defunct Harrah’s Automobile Collection. Today, the NAM is home to over 200 cars, including a V-12 Auburn, a 1938 Phantom Corsair and the only genuine Dymaxion on the planet.
There are Bugattis in Cite de l’Automobile, Mulhouse, France that are nearly as old as the nation of Canada. But just as impressive as the over-400-car collection (122 of which are Bugattis) is the tale of the Swiss brothers and textile businessmen who bought and kept the vehicles in complete secrecy here. Among their collection: Ettore Bugatti’s very own car, the 1929 Type 41 Royale Coupe Napoleon worth an estimated US$15,000,000.
West Bay, Cayman Islands
The Cayman Motor Museum showcases a slew of unique automobiles from Norwegian businessman Andres Ugland’s private collection, but one of the most interesting is a nod to the Caribbean island’s heritage. The first car to arrive on the Cayman Islands, a 1905 Cadillac which was imported from Cuba in 1914, is on display in all its glory. You’ll also find the original 1969 Batmobile, as well as various rally cars, motorcycles and more.
The Hague, Netherlands
Europe is full of pretty old things. Head to the Louwman Museum if you’re after the oldest and prettiest private collection in the world. After first opening its doors in 1934, the collection spanned two generations of the Louwman family, and currently features 250 classic and unique cars. The oldest car in its collection? A 1886 Benz motor car, followed by a 1887 De Dion-Bouton Trépardoux Steam Quadricycle. There are also other rare rides like the 1920 Cygnet Baby Swan Car (Google this if you’ve never heard of it).
The automotive world is large, but there’s plenty to explore within our Northern nation, including the nearly 100 cars at the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario. It’s got some unique old vehicles like a 1918 Chevrolet 490 Snowmobile, a 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, a 1927 Isotta-Fraschini and some modern-ish classics like a 1983 DeLorean.
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