Certainly among the UAE’s oldest, they portray an excellent picture of the history of the car industry in the emirate and the Emirati’s taste in the choice of cars.
The most antique among them, the 1917 Dodge from the USA whose wheels have wooden rings, is a special exhibit of the UAE in the two-week Kuwait Festival, which started on February 14.
“In the coming years, we hope to redesign the museum and further our research on cars to add to our information currently available to visitors. We hope to provide more family programmes and to increase our participation in local and regional events that allow us to loan and exhibit our car collection outside the museum,” Abdulrahman Al Hammadi, Car museum curator, says.
Other than this US-made Dodge, a British-made 1949 Raelly car of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah; a 1953 US-made Chevrolet Bill Air; a 1969 British Bedford used by the UAE Army and to transfer crops between countries and dates from the UAE to Oman; and a 1962 German-made Mercedes Benz 190 SL of Shaikh Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Thani have been the top five special collections at the museum.
Al Hammadi says that these top five special collections belong to Shaikh Sultan and Shaikh Abdulla. “We wish to encourage learning and a useful understanding of the role of transportation vehicles in history.” Located on Al Dhaid Road after the 4th interchange near the Sharjah International Airport, the Sharjah Classic Cars Museum was established to collect, preserve, and interpret through exhibits, the history of cars from the 20th century onwards and particularly vehicles utilised in the UAE.
He said that the Sharjah Classic Cars Museum contains vintage cars and vehicles of historical importance to the country. “More than 100 cars from the last century are on display, and visitors can examine the cars while learning about their history, their engines, and the mechanical principles behind these vehicles.”
Certainly, the classic car collection can be considered the footprint of the car industry even in the world’s 18th century car design and make to the current one.
Redentor Muto, a museum visitor, says that the museum itself is a exhibition of the world industry. “In this museum, you can find how the car bumper changes from a balloon design to the more shapely one. Even the car’s back has evolved from a sort of ‘fish tail’ design to something very modern.”
Touring around the museum, visitors will find the oldest collection of USA’s Dodge (1917), USA’s Ford (1918), Italy’s Fiat (1934), USA’s Plymouth (1930), USA’s Juitt (1926), USA’s Kasser (1945) now bought by Chrysler Fraisser, Germany’s Pullman (1969) USA’s Pontiac (1942),USA’s Studebaker Champion (1945), Buik (1951), USA’s Chevrolet Corvair (1960), Volksvagen (1971), France’s Simca (1951), Japanese Toyota Karina (1980), Cadillac (1956), UK’s Trump (1961), France’s Peugeot 403 (1961), France’s Citroen (1986), UK’s Land Rover (1978), USA’s Ford Mustang (1976), UK’s Bedford’s Al Orebi (1969), Renault (1960), UK’s Trskl (1979), Germany’s Mercedes Benz (1965), India’s Premier (1970), UK’s MG sportscar (1974), Japan’s Nissan Bao (1989), The Netherland’s DAF (1951), USA’s Chrysler (1954), Rolls Royce (1935), and USA’s Chevrolet.
An 1870 bicycle model with three wheels and rubber tyres is another attraction. Known as ‘celerifere’, this bicycle without pedals first appeared in France at the end of the century and is credited to Count De Svrak of France.
In 2011, the Sharjah Classic Cars Museum provided 100 cars in the colours of the UAE flag to aid a Guinness Book of Records attempt by the Sharjah Classic Cars Club to create the world’s largest flag. Some of the vehicles presented to form this unique set-up — of approximately 500 cars and vehicles — included heritage cars owned by the country’s leaders.
The historical backgrounds of several collections included the Chevrolet 1962 model, which has a 90 degrees door opening for the obese; Cadillac 1956 which was used as and ambulance in the emirate; Dodge 1938, which was used by the army as a harvest car, a tanker and a fire truck; and a Trysl 1979 which Al Ain Ministry used to collect garbage.
The museum also displays an entire engine for students visiting the museum