15 of the Best Car Museums Worth Visiting

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Since we are huge fans of car art, we wouldn’t miss a visit to some of the world`s best car museums featuring some iconic and timeless automotive shapes. We decided to share with you 15 of the best independent car museums located on five different continents. By independent we mean car museums which are not dedicated or run by a particular automotive brand.

Enjoy the stories of the 15 of the best car museum destinations worth visiting.

 

 

Mullin Museum // California

 

This is the American home of the French Art Deco. The museum was founded by Peter W. Mullin who said that the French automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s represent the pinnacle of twentieth-century art and design. We couldn’t agree more. Mullin Museum features more than 140 pieces of real-life car art. The core of its collection is focused on the forgotten French coachbuilding art that produced fine cars for Bugatti, Delage, Delahaye, Hispano-Suiza, Avion Voisin and Talbot-Lago. Many of them already won Concourse de Elegance Awards. If we talk about best car museums, this one is one of the very best.

 

 

Supercharged fact: You didn’t know the family of Ettore Bugatti is full of artists, isn’t it? Mullin Museum is offering not just cars but also art furniture, sculptures, paintings and glasswork created by Carlo, Lidia, Roland and Rembrandt Bugatti. Well, you`ll find some Rene Lalique glass statuettes, but there is nothing to complain.

 

Cité de l’automobile // France

This is not the most significant car museum in the world, but it keeps 520 cars from 98 brands. This place is proud of the largest Bugatti collection in the world with 123 vehicles. From 7 Bugatti Royale ever built, Cité de l’Atomobile keeps 3 of them. The group is divided into three main sections – The Motorcar Experience, Motor Racing where you`ll find pre-war GP cars and Motorcar Masterpieces.

 

 

Supercharged fact: The Schlumpf Collection was the base for this museum. It was created by the brothers Hans and Fritz Schlumpf, Italy-born Swiss textile entrepreneurs who were focused on obtaining as much Bugatti vehicles as possible. In 70`s, Schlumpf brothers were forced to leave France after selling their textile factories and their workers stood for an all-out strike as only French can do strikes. So, Schlumpf`s car collection was left behind.

 

 

The Petersen Museum // California

Founded by Robert Petersen and his wife Margie, this is one of the largest car museums. After extensive renovation, now it has 25 galleries displaying about 150 cars.

Petersen Museum is a place where you`ll find expensive cars, historic roadsters, celebrity vehicles, priceless racers and exquisitely designed automotive machinery. Just like Elvis Presley` De Tomaso Pantera, BMW art cars, Ford GT 40 Le Mans cars, classic Porsches, etc. We can assure you that you`ll get lost or you`ll lose your mind.

 

 

Supercharged fact: With a premium admission and if you fit in a particular age restriction you might be allowed to take a look at the Vault Collection. This is the secret half of Petersen cars collection and the vehicles there are not a part of the permanent exposition. We`ve shared huge gallery shot days before the grand opening of Petersen Museum, and you can see it by hitting the link.

 

 

Louwman Museum // Netherlands

This one is among the best. It is probably the most significant car collection kept in the Netherlands. But above all this, Louwman Museum is holding one of the worlds` most extensive selections of microcars. If you have a crush on classic quirkiness, this one is for you.

 

 

Sure, you`ll be able to enjoy great cars like prewar Lagonda race car, stunning BMW 328 roadster, Lancia Astura Pininfarina (this one is pure Italian greatness), few Bugattis, Maseratis, Martini livered Le Mans Lancia-Abarth, 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe hot rod and even Trabant.

Supercharged fact: This is the oldest private collection of cars, compiled by two generations of the Louwman family. It was established in 1934 with the purchase of then 20 years old Dodge which now is part of the exposition.

 

 

Museo Mille Miglia // Italy

It takes around an hour and a half to enjoy this beautiful automotive museum dedicated to the legendary Mille Miglia competition. The museum was created in 1996 by local Brescia entrepreneurs, united in the Amici Della Mille Miglia foundation. They managed to find the proper location as well to deliver cars in partnership with other collections, including the Mercedes-Benz museum.

 

 

The Mille Miglia museum is full of Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche, FIAT, BMW, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Austin cars, and more. Last but not least, it keeps the Archivo Storico with more than 130 000 documents of Renzo Castagneto and the staff of Mille Miglia.

Supercharged fact: The museum is settled in an ancient monastery built in 1008 (no mistake here, a thousand years ago) by the Bishop of Brescia. During this period a lot of things had happened at the monastic complex of S. Eufemia but today it is keeping the religion of historical mechanic jewels alive. And we are thankful.

 

 

Donington Grand Prix Collection // United Kingdom

If the destiny sends you to Leicestershire, England, do not miss the Donnington Grand Prix Exhibition. This car museum is stored within the homonymous racetrack facilities and is nested in 5 halls. It contains cars from many open-wheel, single-seat racing series, but the primary focus is Formula 1 machinery.

 

 

It offers the worlds` only complete collection of Vanwall cars and a near-complete McLaren F1 cars collection. You can also see the Stirling Moss`s winning Lotus as well as the racing cars driven by legends like Fangio, Graham Hill, Nigel Mansell, James Hunt, Fernando Alonso, Schumacher, Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna.

Supercharged fact: The Donington Park Collections includes quite a few of World War II military vehicles.

 

 

Autoworld // Belgium

This is one of the very few automotive museums located in the historic downtown of a big city. Autoworld holds a varied collection of over 250 vintage European and American cars from the late XIX century until the 70s. You probably didn’t know that Belgians got their own and pretty good car manufacturers like Belga Rise, Minerva, and FN. Autoworld is an excellent opportunity to meet this extinct automotive culture, for sure.

 

 

Autoworld is full of epic classics and is offers a fantastic collection of cars and history. Alfa Romeo 8C, Dodge Viper SRT, Porsche Slant Nose, Amphicar, Ferrari Testarossa, BMW 3000 CS, Lotus Elan and a few concept cars like the Nasca Aztec, as well as the concept car that later turned into Audi A2.

Supercharged fact: The museum shop is offering more than 3000 scale car models. Leaving it with just a single one will be tough.

 

 

National Car Museum // Iran

Iran might be not the most attractive place for tourists to visit but it preserves Persian culture which is pretty spectacular and exciting by itself. Thanks to the grand love affair of the exiled Shah of Iran with some great cars, the Islamic Revolution surprisingly became an owner of an epic automotive collection full of Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes cars. The legend says that the Shah loved to drive its unique cars in the night streets of Teheran. Unfortunately, he had to abandon a collection of around 1200 cars. 200 of them are now displayed at the National Car Museum, the rest are stored in the museum warehouse.

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Supercharged fact:
Daimler offered several million Euros to purchase the Mercedes 500K Autobahn Kurier for its museum in Stuttgart. The Iranians denied.

 

 

Tiriac Collection // Romania

Who would suppose that Eastern Europe will be able to offer spectacular car museum to visit? Well, if you ever wondered what it would be like to peek at a millionaire garage, Tiriac Collection is offering this very experience. Ion Tiriac is named as the world’s richest retired athlete and his collection of cars is pretty vocal.

 

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The Tiriac Collection keeps more than 250 cars and motorcycles. The oldest is manufactured in 1899 which is pretty spectacular. The collection holds vehicles of more than 30 brands, including Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Ford, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Harley-Davidson, Indian Scout, Jaguar, etc. It is the only private collection featuring all the Rolls Royce Phantoms made before 1972. Good to know that if you are a muscle cars fan, you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Supercharged fact: Tiriac Collection is the first Romanian private museum to be opened to the public.

 

Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile // Italy

Located in Turin, northern Italy, this independent car museum has a collection of almost 200 cars built by 80 automotive brands. It is full of Italian beauties with an accent on racing cars so expect a lot of Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Cisitalia, FIAT, Lamborghini, Maserati, Isotta Fraschini, Autobianchi, and Ferrari vehicles.

Also, it is pretty close to Lingotto where the FIAT main production facilities were located. You can almost hear the roar of the Italian made cars tested on the rooftop racetrack of the Lingotto factory.

 

 

Supercharged fact: This is a place where you can see a replica of Nicolas Cugnot`s steam car. Believe it or not, it was created in 1769 and was the first working self-propelled mechanical vehicle, also known as the automobile.

 

 

Monaco Top Cars Collection // Monaco

We love royalties because of their impeccable automotive taste. Prince Rainier III of Monaco is not an exclusion, and this is obvious at Monaco Top Cars Collection which is full of incredible vehicles restored to mint condition. The full collection is displayed on five levels of specially tailored exhibit space overlooking the Terrasses de Fontvieille.

 

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This car museum is a must see because it gives you a chance to contemplate Bugatti Type 35 driven by William Grover-Williams that won the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix in 1929. On the opposite corner is the Citroen DS3 WRC which led Sebastien Loeb to the victory of 2013 Monte Carlo Rally. You`ll also find an impressive gathering of motorless carriages, luxury limousines, racing cars and pure automotive beauties created by extinct brands.

Supercharged fact: Visiting this automotive museum will cost you just 6 EUR. Bottle of water at Café de Paris in Monte Carlo will cost you more.

 

 

Museo Juan Manuel Fangio // Argentina

Juan Manuel Fangio is without a doubt one of the greatest legends in motor sports. This museum, located in Balcarceee, Buenos Aires just a few blocks apart from the place where he was born is dedicated to his exceptional achievements and fascinating story.

 

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The museum opened in 1986 in the presence of Fangio, and it keeps a collection of over 50 cars, trophies, photographs and other memorabilia. Visiting this venue will give you a glimpse to McLaren MP4/3B which is the first McLaren chassis powered by Honda. Speaking of McLarens, you couldn’t miss the MP4/10 driven by Hakkinen in season 1995. Do not miss the flawless Mercedes-Benz W196, Maserati 250F, Lancia-Ferrari D50, Alfa Romeo Tipo 308 and Mercedes C111.

Supercharged fact: This place was visited by racing legends like Sir Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Phil Hill, Caroll Shelby, Clay Regazzoni, etc.

 

 

National Motor Museum // Australia

Aussies are proud of their own automotive culture which is preserved by the National Motor Museum located in Birdwood, South Australia. It was established in 1964 as a private collection which was purchased by the South Australian Government a decade later.

A visit there will give you a meet with a Shearer Steam Carriage from 1899 and a couple of years older Peugeot Type 17. Automotive connoisseurs will be able to enjoy cars like ancient De Dion-Button, 1910 Daimler Landaulette, 1914 Dixi R12, 1919 Lincoln Six Tourer, 1925 Rolls Royce with Vanvooren bodywork, 1956 Land Rover S1, 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air, naturally a bunch of Holdens, Ford Falcons, etc.

 

 

Supercharged fact: National Motor Museum in Australia is offering not just cars but also a motor bike, including but not limited to classic Harley Davidson, Indian Scout, Minerva, Mazda Three Wheeler, Honda, BMW, Kawasaki, Benelli, etc.

 

 

Automuseum Prototyp Hamburg // Germany

Focused mainly on postwar German racing cars, Automuseum Prototyp located in Hamburg is something like a chest full of motor treasures. It is located in Hamburg`s Speicherstadt district, and it was opened in 2008.

It is a place where you can see the Porsche Type 64, an ancestor of the beloved 356. Only three Type 64 were built, and they were used by the Nazi propaganda race from Berlin to Rome. The car on display is one of the two survive. You`ll be able to see the first F1 racer driven by Michael Schumacher – Jordan F1 191 as well as genuine Porsche 356 driving simulator.

 

 

Automuseum Prototype is also offering in-depth coverage of the career and private life of Otto Mathe and Wolfgang von Trips. Beyond the cars, there is interesting photo-exhibition and a wind tunnel on a scale which will give you a glimpse of how aerodynamics works.

Supercharged fact: Since we are deep into fine car art, we would not hide from you that there is a gallery with the original drafts of Volkswagen` ad graphics which are nothing less than iconic.

 

 

Museum of the 24 Hours of Le Mans // France

The highest level of motorcar competition deserves its museum, and you can find it within Circuit de la Sarthe. You won’t be disappointed if you visit this place because the Le Mans history is presented right and it is illustrated by the significant amount of phenomenal vehicles.

The great experience is derived by a lot of French racers dominated the competition in the early 20`s and 30`s like Chenard & Walker, Lorrain Dietrich, Bugatti, Delahaye, Talbot Lago and many more. Modern days endurance racing cars like Audi R18 e-tron Quattro are also on display so is the rotary Mazda 787B just like the Porsche 917 LH, the original Bentley 3L Sport Torpedo Vanden Plas which won the competition in 1924 as well as Ferrari 166MM identical to the winner of the 1949 race.

 

Museum of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

 

Supercharged fact: After your museum visit do not miss to make a few tours at the adjacent karting track run by Alain Prost. We wish you good luck to meet him there!