Way up in northeast Beijing’s Huairou District, you are going to discover a peculiar museum loaded with over 100 classic autos and automotive memorbilia. It can be all privately owned, put with each other with like and care by just one guy: Luo Wenyou.
Luo Wenyou has been fascinated with machines and vehicles because he was a youngster. His assortment journey to start with started in 1979 when he spent about RMB 5000 to acquire a blue Polish Warszawa. Luo continue to remembers the joy he felt when he grew to become a non-public car or truck operator in China. “You know it was really rare for everyone to very own a car or truck in the ’70s in China as most ended up continue to riding bicycles at that time. It undoubtedly felt like a dream arrive accurate for me.”
In 1998, Luo experienced the chance to contend in the Louis Vuitton Vintage China Operate, a highway rally in which typical motor vehicle aficionados could race their cars from Dalian to Beijing. Getting all around so a lot of classic autos worked to pique Luo’s fascination, and he was inevitably inspired to open a musuem showcasing these kinds of cars.
“I’ve always experienced a passion in collecting traditional vehicles, but it was the 1st time I discovered that there are actually vintage automobile museums in other countries” mentioned Luo of the function. “Not only that, the thought of classic car or truck companies and classic vehicle races was also a substantial eye-opener for me. I applied to be just a collector and I just had my collections in the warehouse all to myself, but the levels of competition adjusted me and built me experience like I could do a great deal far more than that.”
Luo later offered many of his enterprises and focused his means to forming the very first typical vehicle association in China. With heaps of careful planning, he at some point opened the Beijing Classic Auto Museum in 2009.
Quite a few of the vehicles featured at the museum are from various time intervals. They contain the Dongfanghong BJ 760 Sedan made by BAW, to exotics these as the gift car or truck introduced to Mao Zedong by the Soviet Union and even some of the world’s initial automobiles manufactured by Karl Benz.
Even although his selection is eclectic, Luo is in particular obsessed with China’s 1st self-developed vehicles, especially these made by Hongqi, an legendary household-grown auto model that is been made use of for parade automobiles at Nationwide celebrations. “I collected each attainable model of Hongqi I could probably at any time obtain, together with Hongqi ambulances and Hongqi convertibles” Luo says.
Luo still could not get more than the pleasure he felt when he gained a standing ovation whilst driving a Hongqi vehicle for the duration of the Traditional China Run in 1998. “There have been Chinese lovers applauding for me in all places I went while I was driving the Hongqi and numerous foreigners also desired to get their hands on a Hongqi. At the time many foreigners came to China for two items: A single is to stop by Tian’anmen Sq., and the other is to experience in a Hongqi.”
The highway for Luo and his vintage vehicle collection has not been without bumps and potholes. Despite the fact that he at first acquired assistance from his household associates, his spouse and children inevitably turned their back again on him as Luo doubled down on his investments in amassing common autos. “I put in practically my total life price savings accumulating these classic autos. It truly is tricky to estimate how a great deal dollars I invested exactly, but let’s just say it was a great deal of funds, about RMB 700 million at least.”
In addition, Luo also poured out loads of money into preserving the automobiles. “Cars usually are not like regular merchandise this sort of as ceramics and jade that can keep on being untouched for as long as you want, they involve consistent restoration and facelifts and they get rusty after a very long time” he suggests.
“Many folks, which includes my have household, assume I am ridiculous for providing up everything I have experienced for traditional vehicles, but for me, I nonetheless feel it is value it. I did this out of my like for typical cars. Also, I am pretty very pleased to spread Chinese basic automobile lifestyle to the globe and I sense like my efforts seriously mean one thing.”
Beijing Classic Vehicle Musuem 北京老爷车博物馆
19 Fengxiang Very first Park, Yangsong City, Huairou District
Ticket Rate: RMB 50
Hrs: 9am-4pm (Shut Mondays)
Please observe that the museum will be closed until finally the conclusion of January owing to the pandemic. Make certain to get in touch with ahead to inquire about the small business position just before you system your take a look at.
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Pictures: Courtesy of Luo Wen You