Way up in northeast Beijing’s Huairou District, you’ll obtain a peculiar museum crammed with more than 100 vintage cars and automotive memorbilia. It is really all privately owned, set alongside one another with adore and care by a person person: Luo Wenyou.
Luo Wenyou has been fascinated with machines and vehicles because he was a little one. His selection journey initial started in 1979 when he put in about RMB 5000 to acquire a blue Polish Warszawa. Luo even now remembers the pleasure he felt when he became a private motor vehicle operator in China. “You know it was genuinely uncommon for any person to own a automobile in the ’70s in China as most have been nevertheless riding bicycles at that time. It undoubtedly felt like a desire appear correct for me.”
In 1998, Luo experienced the prospect to contend in the Louis Vuitton Classic China Run, a highway rally in which classic vehicle aficionados could race their automobiles from Dalian to Beijing. Currently being all over so lots of classic cars and trucks labored to pique Luo’s fascination, and he was at some point motivated to open up a musuem showcasing these types of automobiles.
“I’ve generally had a enthusiasm in accumulating vintage cars and trucks, but it was the first time I realized that there are actually vintage automobile museums in other nations” mentioned Luo of the event. “Not only that, the notion of basic car corporations and classic car or truck races was also a large eye-opener for me. I utilised to be just a collector and I just had my collections in the warehouse all to myself, but the opposition transformed me and built me really feel like I could do a lot far more than that.”
Luo later marketed various of his corporations and devoted his methods to forming the initial traditional vehicle affiliation in China. With heaps of thorough organizing, he finally opened the Beijing Classic Automobile Museum in 2009.
Numerous of the cars showcased at the museum are from various time intervals. They consist of the Dongfanghong BJ 760 Sedan made by BAW, to exotics this kind of as the present vehicle offered to Mao Zedong by the Soviet Union and even some of the world’s 1st vehicles created by Karl Benz.
Even although his assortment is eclectic, Luo is in particular obsessed with China’s initially self-generated cars and trucks, primarily these created by Hongqi, an iconic house-developed vehicle brand which is been employed for parade cars at National celebrations. “I collected each and every feasible design of Hongqi I could quite possibly ever collect, which include Hongqi ambulances and Hongqi convertibles” Luo suggests.
Luo still could not get about the pleasure he felt when he obtained a standing ovation whilst driving a Hongqi motor vehicle through the Typical China Run in 1998. “There ended up Chinese admirers applauding for me everywhere I went while I was driving the Hongqi and lots of foreigners also wished to get their hands on a Hongqi. At the time a lot of foreigners arrived to China for two factors: 1 is to take a look at Tian’anmen Square, and the other is to experience in a Hongqi.”
The road for Luo and his common auto collection has not been with no bumps and potholes. Even though he originally obtained guidance from his loved ones members, his loved ones finally turned their back on him as Luo doubled down on his investments in accumulating vintage vehicles. “I used virtually my complete life financial savings amassing these common autos. It can be hard to estimate how a lot cash I used particularly, but let’s just say it was a good deal of revenue, about RMB 700 million at the very least.”
In addition, Luo also poured out heaps of revenue into sustaining the motor vehicles. “Cars usually are not like normal items such as ceramics and jade that can remain untouched for as extended as you want, they need frequent restoration and facelifts and they get rusty just after a extended time” he claims.
“Many men and women, like my individual relatives, think I am ridiculous for supplying up everything I have had for vintage cars, but for me, I however believe it is truly worth it. I did this out of my adore for classic autos. Also, I am really proud to spread Chinese common automobile lifestyle to the globe and I experience like my attempts definitely suggest one thing.”
Beijing Classic Auto Musuem 北京老爷车博物馆
19 Fengxiang Initially Park, Yangsong City, Huairou District
Ticket Selling price: RMB 50
Hours: 9am-4pm (Shut Mondays)
You should note that the museum will be shut right until the end of January owing to the pandemic. Make certain to get in touch with ahead to inquire about the small business standing just before you system your stop by.
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Images: Courtesy of Luo Wen You