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By Chidi Emmanuel
With vintage four-wheeled beauties ranging from 1904 to 2012, the Kuwait Historical, Vintage and Classic Car Museum is where history meets modernity. Home to a collection of more than 40 historic and classic car models, it is Kuwait’s first museum specializing in vintage cars. According to the Head of Committees of Historical Vintage & Classic Cars Museum Mustafa Ali Makhseed, the museum is aimed at restoring Kuwait to the pinnacle of the region’s classic car community. “It was established to preserve the historical automotive culture and houses cars that have valuable historical value,” he said.
The museum is a part of a broad spectrum of activities aimed at depicting Kuwait’s culture and tourism potential. It informs and educates the public about the automobile makers and the pioneers in the field. Also not only maintains the car models but also supplies spare parts for historical cars and organizes international auto exhibitions. “This museum promotes the need to preserve our culture and heritage in the automobile sector in the Arab world. It connects the past, the present and the future generations and breathes a new life into history,” Eslam Khamis, the secretary of the museum, said during an interview with Kuwait Times.
The museum houses many of the historic cars, including one belonging to the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al- Sabah – an Imperial that he used during his tenure as governor of Ahmadi. Other collections in the museum include the first ever car brought into Kuwait which is also the oldest car in the museum – a single cylinder Belgian-made 1904 Minerva Type A with bicycle-size wheels. Also, there is a 1924 Minerva Type AE four-speed 6 cylinder touring car, a 65 Model silver Aston Martin of the type used in James Bond movies, and a 1958 Corvette 8 cylinder sports car.
Other beauts on display include a 1909 Chrysler Imperial Crown used by the President of New Zealand, a 1928 Ford 4 cylinder saloon car once owned by Abdullah Al-Saqer and a 1962 22-hp Fiat 2 cylinder, 4 speed car, and many more classic models. Each such exotic car represents something unique. At the extreme end of the showroom stands an iconic Lincoln Continental – Kuwait Presidential Car and one which became known as the Constitution Car. It is famous for having served as a vehicle for official celebrations and ceremonies in Kuwait. It was first used by the late Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Al Sabah, the former Amir and who was also the father of the constitution.
History has it that he rode the car during the first Kuwait Independence Day celebration in 1961. Since its launch in Oct 2010, the museum has welcomed thousands of visitors from within and outside Kuwait, becoming one of Kuwait’s major tourist attractions. It also has a well equipped library. In addition, it offers extensive facilities to support collectors and owners of Kuwait’s classic cars. The main workshop has six garages. The museum regularly organizes technical workshops which are open to all car lovers and classic car owners. Its highly-qualified technicians provide free of cost service and expert advice to vintage car owners. The other side the museum also houses an entertainment center where children between the ages of 10 to 17 years can undertake fun drives.
By Chidi Emmanuel, Staff Writer