The 9 Best Car Museums in the World
Posted by: Dan on 4/05/2016
The 9 Best Car Museums in the World
We live in an exciting time for innovation in vehicles right now. On the cusp of a new “electric era” with the likes of the Tesla Model 3 coming to market, there are also daily improvements in our driving experience via tech and online ingenuity.
Great as the future is though, it's always fun to look back at the past and see all the classic cars of yesteryear. While most of us love looking at vintage cars, just 0.5% of Australians own a vintage vehicle, so the opportunity to see these types of automobiles is mostly confined to museums.
Here are 9 of the best car museums in the world.
Located just outside of Melbourne, the lure of this museum is that it has a constantly changing roster of vehicles – so not only does it make a fantastic trip for a first-timer, but it also offers reasons to go back. Visitors enjoy its ever-changing exhibitions, with new vehicles coming in from Australia and around the world. This is a destination to visit again and again.
With its sunny climate and long curving highways, it’s no surprise that California has carved out a remarkable legacy in the auto world. The California Route 66 Museum pays tribute to the iconic Route 66, aka Will Rogers Highway, which originally ran from Chicago to Santa Monica.
While the road was revamped and renamed in the mid-80s, its legacy in motoring endures, and this museum highlights the cars that cruised along the famous road, from the Model T Ford of the automobile industry’s earliest years, to the iconic Volkswagen ‘hippie van’ of the 60s and 70s.
Of all the cars in the world, none have so embodied the culture and glamour of racing as well as Ferrari. From royalty and tycoons of industry, to celebrities and athletes – and even just good old-fashioned car enthusiasts – everyone who loves cars loves Ferrari.
Situated within the northern Italian province of Maranello – aka ‘Ferrari Country’ – the official museum of the red racers is a showcase of Ferrari’s history since it was established in 1947. From Formula One icons and iconic models, to one-time pieces that never made it to production, the Ferrari Museum has it all and then some in Italian auto heritage.
Just like Australia proudly created a legacy of locally-made cars amidst the giants of the Asian market, so too did Canada. The country has enjoyed a rich and vibrant history within the 4-wheel sphere. From British and French imports that carved out the roads of the Great White North, to the homegrown icons of the Maple Leaf nation – and vehicles like the Mercury Meteor – a great display of Canadian history is on show here.
What Ferrari is to Italy, Mercedes is to Germany. So, while you’re on the continent, head north and pay a visit to another giant of Europe’s racing history. With Mercedes not only reentering Formula One racing in recent years, but also outright dominating it, there’s an extra sense of excitement about the Mercedes-Benz Museum, which makes it an especially interesting time to visit. Showcasing over 125 years of German engineering history, and set in a beautifully stylish interior, this museum is a must for all connoisseurs of the Silver Arrows legend.
Detroit is where it all began for cars. Of all the states in the U.S., none have contributed so much to the worldwide use and adoption of the automobile as Michigan. This is where you can best see and understand the impact of the automobile on our daily life, from its beginnings, right up to the modern day.
Located just 15 minutes outside the Detroit city centre, this museum showcases the story of Henry Ford, the cars that would come to bear his name, and the new era of human transport he kickstarted. From racing cars to farming equipment, if it bears the Ford name, it’s certain to be here – and that certainly makes the Henry Ford Museum a quality addition to the bucket list.
By market share, Toyota is one of the biggest car makers in the world. While you may not feel that old banged-up ‘89 Corolla you used to drive to university each day should be preserved for posterity, the sheer scale and diversity of the Japanese car manufacturer's range of vehicles makes a visit to this Nagakute City museum an absolute must for auto fans.
In particular, while the post-war history of Toyota is widely known, the story of its earliest beginnings and initial designs is not. The 1886-1950 exhibit illustrating how Japan and Asia developed their earliest vehicles is well worth the price of admission.
This a great museum for seeing the legacy of Britain and the wider world of international cars firsthand. With a great mix of British-produced and international cars including supercars, the museum offers great insight into understanding the impact of cars all over the world.
With hundreds of amazing vehicles from the 50s and 60s – including an array of the iconic British Bentleys and Rolls-Royces – this museum is a must for those who love the early era of driving.
The name of this museum will quickly be recognised as echoing one of Australia’s most famous motor races. Offering the feeling of a pilgrimage to those who come from near and far to visit, the National Motor Racing Museum is a wonderful place to pay a visit to.
In addition to the fantastic vehicles shown in abundance, visitors will also be immersed in the wider story of Australia’s motor racing history, exhibited beautifully with trophies, rare photos, and more. For those who wish to know how racing started Down Under, this is the museum for you.
Many of these museums – and the cars they showcase – are beyond belief. Nevertheless, seeing is believing. Any or all of these museums guarantee a wonderful and worthwhile trip, especially so if you can plan a road trip to one. After all, if there’s anything better than visiting a car museum, surely it's taking a great free-flowing drive to it.
Have you visited any of these car museums? Do you know of any other great ones to visit? Let us know in the comments below: