x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Sharjah car museum re-opens after makeover

Sharjah Classic Cars Museum has undergone a seven-month makeover.

SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, January 21, 2013. The Sharjah Car Museum re-opens after it was newly refurbished. (ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National)
SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, January 21, 2013. The Sharjah Car Museum re-opens after it was newly refurbished. (ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National)

SHARJAH // The Sharjah Classic Cars Museum has reopened after a seven-month makeover.

Vehicles in the collection range from a Ford Model T, the world's first mass-produced car, to a Mercedes-Benz Pullman limousine. Visitors can also see why Rolls-Royce was popular with stars and royalty and learn what Fiat stands for.

There are four sections: 1915-1939, which has a range of cars; 1940-1959, which highlights cars from the US "Big Three" of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler; 1960-1989, which features a Ford Mustang, two MG Midgets, a Volkswagen Beetle and a Citroen DS; and Off Road Vehicles and UAE Motoring.

Before the renovation of the museum space, there were several duplicates and the curators removed them, reducing the collection to 85 classic cars. New signs and car adverts from each era were added.

"We've added an interactive area for kids," said museum researcher Safa Al Khaf. "There is a food and beverage truck, puzzles and an engine and a simulator so kids can learn about the workings of a car."

In the middle of the museum there is space for temporary exhibitions.

"It has various functions. It could be used by the police if they want to come and educate kids about road safety," Ms Al Khaf said.

In the UAE motoring section there is a 1962 Nissan Patrol, which is still one of the most preferred off-road models in the UAE. Also on show is an old Land Rover.

"That particular Land Rover was used in the 1950s as taxis and people had to pay 25 fils to get to where they were going," Ms Al Khaf said.

Visitors can vote for what they want to see in the museum. Owners of classic cars can submit photos and the one with the most votes will be part of the exhibit for three months.

"The whole idea is it's entirely up to the public to say what they want to see," Ms Al Khaf said.

Besides the classic cars there are several old workhorses, including a 1969 Bedford RL Truck and a Cadillac SOS Ambulance. The ambulance, similar to the one in the Ghostbusters movies, had no branding or logo, but was bright red and came complete with flashing lights.

eharnan@thenational.ae