Hidden away in the city of Málaga we can find the world's largest collection of classic cars. The privately-owned 25 million euro collection is on loan to the city of Málaga by vintage car enthusiast Joao Magalhaes.
The Fábrica de Tabaco was built in 1927 and is known to be one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in Málaga, a historic and beautiful city in itself. Since closing many years ago, the factory was renovated to house the vintage car collection and host private events. The space covers over 6000 square meters, featuring high ceilings and large windows.
The museum opened in 2010 and now houses one of the most important vintage car collections in the world. The collection comprises of 80 classic cars and is complemented by the museum's displays of couture clothing and vintage travel memorabilia.
Each of the car displays are divided into individual eras. The exhibition begins with the oldest car, which isn't much more than a horse-drawn carriage. As we continue through the exhibition, we can see how cars have advanced as time has passed. The collection takes us from the late 19th Century through to modern times.
The first exhibition found at the entrance to the museum is the Belle Epoque. This section features cars from the late 19th Century through to 1914, the beginning of World War I. During this era, cars weren't much more than horse-drawn carriages and few citizens believed in the evolution of motor vehicles.
Despite cars being rare during the beginning of production, by the end of the Belle Epoque era, there were more than 30,000 vehicles in Paris alone. This trend quickly grew around the rest of the world.
As popularity grew, details of comfort, art and luxury were incorporated into the vehicles to meet demands of customers. Many of the car owners during this period were upper class or aristocracy, with common sightings outside prestigious venues and events, waiting for their owners.
Vehicles that stand out from the Belle Epoque era are the 1904 Belgium Minerve, the 1911 French Renault AX and the 1916 American Buick.
The Golden 20's, also known as The Roaring 20s, was a time for evolution of motor vehicles. The world was recovering financially and citizens were celebrating the end of the war. The decade became historically known for elegance, seduction and fashion.
Cars from this period included in the exhibition are the 1921 Italian Lancia, the 1917 Spanish Hispano Suiza and the 1920 French Unic.
The Art Decó collection from the 1930s was known as the golden age of the car. During this period, motor vehicles reached a higher level of innovation, design and style. New integrations included a higher level of luxury and elegance, creating motor masterpieces.
During this iconic era, we can find the French Delage, the American-produced Richmond and the English Barron Ackroyd in the exhibition.
In the Popular Cars part of the exhibition, we see how the car evolved and became available to middle-class citizens. Cars were made smaller, thus saving on materials and construction costs, making it possible to sell them cheaper. Producing smaller cars during this era became a necessity due to the scarcity of materials available after World War II.
The Design Cars exhibition displays cars that were considered unique and advanced for their era. The greatest designers of this time created motor masterpieces, attempting to impress society. The cars were advanced, eccentric, futuristic and extravagant for their time.
Models in this part of the exhibition include the 1937 French Peugeot and the U.S.-made Kaiser Darrin from 1954.
The Dream Cars collection features some of the most famed cars in Hollywood culture. These cars show the best of style, luxury and power of the 1950s. Cars from this era were made famous by millionaires and celebrities - among them, Elvis Presley's beloved Cadillac. Cars such as the 1959 Eldorado became representative of the American Dream.
The Dream Cars collection of the exhibition includes Ford Thunderbird, Cadillac Eldorado and the British-made Rolls Royce, to name a few.
The exhibition proceeds through to the Alternative Engines section. Cars in the category include designs that changed the evolution of vehicles throughout the 20th Century. There are also three cars that were designed exclusively for the Museum's exhibition.
The English Tradition collection features luxurious models that represent the English automotive industry. Cars in this collection exhibit exquisite tradition and quality. While the Rolls-Royce is heavily featured in this collection, there are also several Bentleys and a classic Jaguar.
The Dolce Vita collection is comprised of exquisite sports cars. This collection represents the ever-increasing improvement on living standards and the positive economic change following World War II. Sports cars became a new way of showing off wealth for actors, celebrities and playboys. Eleven cars complete this collection, with high-end names including Porsche, Maserati, Aston Martin and Ferrari.
To finish off the extensive collection, we come to the Tuning exhibition. This trend originated in the United States and has since become a global phenomenon. The style consists of transforming and upgrading old cars into modern masterpieces, often including an artistic flare. Six cars complete this final collection, including a Cadillac and a Lincoln.
Whilst it may be known as a motor museum, it’s not solely dedicated to cars. The museum represents art in general, especially as some cars in the collection have been customised by world-famous artists.
The museum is also a go-to if you're looking to impress at a fancy event, as several of the cars of available for hire. One of the most in-demand cars in the collection is the limo that drove former Hollywood actress and global superstar Grace Kelly to her wedding at Monaco's palace.
With an extensive haute couture display, a vintage hat collection and travel memorabilia from all eras, there’s bound to be something in the museum to impress everyone. Coming up at the end of the month, the museum will be celebrating Andalucía’s love for Flamenco in their FIMAF 2017 show (Feria Internacional Moda Flamenca Málaga). The event is the first fashion show in Málaga to celebrate the Flamenco style. The event will be held on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th February and is expected to draw over 5000 people during the two-day period. More information can be found on the Facebook event page.
It goes without saying that the Museo Automovilístico de Málaga is a must-see for any car enthusiast or history buff living or visiting the South of Spain.
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