Way up in northeast Beijing’s Huairou District, you’ll locate a peculiar museum filled with over 100 classic vehicles and automotive memorbilia. It’s all privately owned, set jointly with like and care by a person guy: Luo Wenyou.
Luo Wenyou has been fascinated with devices and automobiles given that he was a child. His assortment journey first commenced in 1979 when he expended about RMB 5000 to get a blue Polish Warszawa. Luo still remembers the pleasure he felt when he turned a non-public vehicle proprietor in China. “You know it was truly rare for any individual to own a automobile in the ’70s in China as most were continue to driving bicycles at that time. It unquestionably felt like a aspiration arrive true for me.”
In 1998, Luo had the option to compete in the Louis Vuitton Basic China Run, a highway rally in which classic auto aficionados could race their autos from Dalian to Beijing. Becoming around so a lot of vintage cars worked to pique Luo’s desire, and he was sooner or later influenced to open a musuem showcasing these vehicles.
“I’ve normally had a enthusiasm in accumulating common vehicles, but it was the first time I discovered that there are truly traditional auto museums in other countries” reported Luo of the occasion. “Not only that, the notion of typical automobile businesses and common auto races was also a enormous eye-opener for me. I used to be just a collector and I just experienced my collections in the warehouse all to myself, but the opposition improved me and made me experience like I could do a great deal extra than that.”
Luo afterwards bought a number of of his enterprises and focused his sources to forming the 1st classic motor vehicle association in China. With heaps of watchful setting up, he finally opened the Beijing Vintage Vehicle Museum in 2009.
Many of the cars and trucks showcased at the museum are from diverse time intervals. They consist of the Dongfanghong BJ 760 Sedan made by BAW, to exotics these types of as the reward motor vehicle introduced to Mao Zedong by the Soviet Union and even some of the world’s very first vehicles developed by Karl Benz.
Even even though his collection is eclectic, Luo is particularly obsessed with China’s very first self-manufactured cars, specially those people made by Hongqi, an legendary household-grown auto brand name which is been applied for parade autos at Countrywide celebrations. “I gathered just about every feasible product of Hongqi I could quite possibly ever acquire, which include Hongqi ambulances and Hongqi convertibles” Luo claims.
Luo nonetheless could not get around the pleasure he felt when he gained a standing ovation even though driving a Hongqi vehicle during the Classic China Operate in 1998. “There ended up Chinese enthusiasts applauding for me just about everywhere I went though I was driving the Hongqi and lots of foreigners also required to get their hands on a Hongqi. At the time quite a few foreigners came to China for two points: 1 is to go to Tian’anmen Square, and the other is to experience in a Hongqi.”
The street for Luo and his vintage car collection has not been with no bumps and potholes. Though he in the beginning obtained guidance from his relatives associates, his household sooner or later turned their again on him as Luo doubled down on his investments in gathering typical vehicles. “I invested almost my entire lifestyle personal savings accumulating these basic cars and trucks. It truly is tricky to estimate how a lot dollars I invested precisely, but let’s just say it was a good deal of revenue, about RMB 700 million at least.”
In addition, Luo also poured out tons of cash into keeping the automobiles. “Cars usually are not like standard products these kinds of as ceramics and jade that can remain untouched for as long as you want, they demand regular restoration and facelifts and they get rusty immediately after a prolonged time” he claims.
“Many persons, which includes my possess family, feel I am ridiculous for offering up everything I have experienced for vintage vehicles, but for me, I nonetheless think it is worthy of it. I did this out of my like for typical cars. Also, I am pretty very pleased to spread Chinese common car or truck culture to the world and I experience like my initiatives really imply a thing.”
Beijing Classic Auto Musuem 北京老爷车博物馆
19 Fengxiang Very first Park, Yangsong City, Huairou District
Ticket Selling price: RMB 50
Hrs: 9am-4pm (Closed Mondays)
Please take note that the museum will be shut until the close of January due to the pandemic. Make positive to simply call in advance to inquire about the enterprise position before you strategy your go to.
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Visuals: Courtesy of Luo Wen You