The Malta Classic Car Museum, Qawra
My last visit of 2017 and my first photo blog of 2018 is about TripAdvisor's No. 1 attraction in Qawra - The Malta Classic Car Museum. I'm not a big petrol head myself, but even if classic cars are not your major interest, you would enjoy the visit. It was quite sentimental visit for me actually, especially after seeing a yellow Trabant, one of the highlights (in my eyes anyway) of the Classic Car Museum. Why? I will tell you at the end of this photo blog, so keep on reading. :)
You really cannot miss the entrance of the Classic Car Museum, as there is this stunning classic convertible Buggatti of a blue colour right in front of it. When I entered the museum, there was the owner himself - Carol Galea, behind the cash. The museum is basically Mr Galea's private collection and it has been opened to public since 2005. He started collecting cars approx. 47 years ago. It is the only car museum in Malta with about 90 cars (ranging from a 1955 Jaguar C Type to a 1972 Fiat 500F), 45 bikes and scooters that also offers unique collections of old radios, jukeboxes, cameras, car players, fashion and so much more. There is something for everybody.
Above you can see a panoramic view of the museum, which shows only part of the first floor. The Classic Cars Museum spreads over 3.000 square metres. All the exhibited pieces have been restored to its former glory, looking like they just rolled out off the production line. Walking through the museum really feels like stepping back in time. Every car, motorbike, jukebox or other antique item has a its own information sheet, so you can get to know all the details as well.
Below you can see a super cute 1957 BMW Isetta 250. This egg-shaped Isetta is arguably the very best micro car of its time. The car's origins are in Milan, Italy. This car was astonishing, its absolutely unconventional design caused furore at its introduction in Turin in November 1953. What strikes us today as a comical-looking car, especially having the 'door' in front, found almost 13.000 buyers in the USA alone. Elvis Presley was one of the fans and celebrities that helped with its popularity. Elvis bought his manager, Tom Parker, an Isetta for Christmas!
The museum has a vast collection of classic cars as well as antiques and memorabilia from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Below is the Wurlitzer Jukebox. The Wurlitzer Jukebox was the iconic jukebox of the swing / big band era (1935 - 1946) and in some places Wurlitzer would be a generic name for any jukebox. Modernized versions, that can play CDs or have iPod connectivity, are in production until today.
The Classic Car Museum also has an extensive collection of small car models, part of which you can notice on the picture above just behind the red 1965 NSU Spider with a detail below. As you can see some of the items have been kindly donated to the museum. I'm telling you now, there is so much to see, that you won't know where to start!
Above you can see yet another Wurlitzer Jukebox in a mint condition that's displayed in the Classic Car Museum.
Below is the 1966 Ford Cortina Lotus Mk1, which is sometimes referred to as "the original fast Ford". The car was a great success on both race tracks and rally courses and lifted Ford's performance image.
This is a beautiful example of a 1971 Austin Mini Pick-up. The production of Austin Mini Pick-ups and Morris Mini Pick-ups dated from 1961 - 1978 and there were 58,179 Mini Pick-ups built.
Below are some great examples of ladies fashion of those days. See, there is something even for the ladies, even though I'm sure that this won't be the only display that would catch your eye. :-)
Believe it or not, you can purchase some of these classics. This white Alfa Romeo is up for sale! Just ask for more details when visiting the museum.
Unfortunately most of these classic cars were in a poor condition before they got their place in the museum, so they had to be carefully restored. All the restorations are done on site in their live workshop. Below you can see some work in progress, can you guess what model are the guys working on?
Just look at the beauty! This is 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster, one of the finest Corvette's available, as you can read on the information sheet, numerous awards cannot be wrong!
And here is the best part, for me at least. :-) I had know idea that there was any connection between the Classic Car Museum and the Czech Republic, country that I originally come from, until I read the board "2615 kilometres on the road - a journey from Brno to Malta in a 27 year old Trabant". Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic (actually Czechia, but I still cannot get used to the name) and this is the story...
This special adventure took place back in 2006, when the Trabant 601 was picked up in Brno from it's previous owner, Lubos, who donated this car to the museum. The motor is a small two-stroke engine with two cylinders, giving the vehicle a very modest performance with a maximum speed of 112km/h. The engine was originally planned for a three-wheeled motorcycle. I still remember the time when these Trabants were stopped from the road because of their smoky exhaust and the pollution they produced.
As you can find out reading the board, there were couple of interesting events while on the way to Malta. One of them took place in Austria, when the Trabant suddenly stopped and no one knew why!? It was only because the car does not have a petrol indicator and they simply ran out of fuel! There were couple of other occasions when the car didn't want to start or the guys couldn't book the ferry from Sicily online because Trabant wasn't shown in the drop-down menu on the reservation page! But they managed anyway. It must have been a great adventure that lasted nearly a month from 16.09.2006 until 14.10.2006.
Just in case you've never heard of Trabant, it was the most common vehicle in East Germany and also in other socialist countries. It was in production without any significant change for nearly 30 years. It used to take years for a Trabant to be delivered from the moment it was ordered, so as you can image the owners would take a very good care of their vehicle. The Trabant's body was made of Duroplast, a form of plastic containing resin strengthened by wool or cotton. How interesting isn't it? Well let me not reveal all the interesting stuff and give you a reason to visit the Classic Car Museum yourself. :-)
The entrance is €9 and the opening hours are: Mon - Fri: 9:00am - 6:00pm & Sat: 9:00am - 1:00pm. Enjoy!