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Feature: Museum with classic cars travels visitors through time in Athens

GREECE-ATHENS-MOTOR MUESEUM

Ferrari cars are displayed during an exhibition for the 70th anniversary of Ferrari at the Motor Museum in Athens, capital of Greece, on Nov. 9, 2017. The Motor Museum collects 110 car models covering a history from the late 1800s to the end of the 20th century. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

by Alexia Vlachou

ATHENS, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Strolling in the Motor Museum in Athens is like travelling in time. Its collection of 110 car models covers a history that begins at the late 1800s until the end of the 20th century.

The oldest exhibit is a 1895 Hunnia horse drawn carriage with water pump which was used as a firetruck, while among the most recent ones in the collection is a 1980 Ferrari 308 GTSi.

At a short distance from the National Archaeological Museum in the center of Athens, the "Capitol" complex, which houses the museum, has a collection of cars which emerged over time as milestones in the history of automotive industry, the general director of the Museum, Marina Filipoussi told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Visitors can admire unique exhibits of famous brands from the past that no longer exist such as Avion Voisin, Adler, Delage and Dino, models of famous brands such as Bentley, Bugatti, Astron Martin, Bristol, Ferrari, Maserati and other historical models of highly popular manufacturers.

"The idea behind the museum belongs to Theodoros Charagionis, founder of the museum. Everything started from his love for automotive industry and car races," Filipoussi said.

He acquired among others a Maserati Mistral, a Rolls Royce Wraith, a couple of Jaguar of E-type, a couple of Austin Healey 3000 and three Dino cars of which one was a Ferrari, so since the early 1990s he had a collection of 25 cars.

Dedicated to technology and four wheels evolution, the museum opened its doors in March 2011 in an area of 4,000 square meters in the last three floors of the building.

Each exhibit has a different story to tell.

"Among the popular cars of the collection is the pink colored Imperial Crown Convertible Chrysler which belonged to the front man of the rock group 'Led Zeppelin', the legend Robert Plant," Filipoussi noted.

It was built in 1959 and only 555 units of this model were produced at a price tag of 5,774 U.S. dollars which was considerably high for the period.

"The Bugatti models are also very important, since they were very unique and custom made. Also, Ettore Bugatti, the former owner, would sell his models only if he liked the buyer," she explained.

Acquiring through auctions abroad or in Greece, all the models belong to the museum.

Every exhibit is priceless, as Filipoussi highlighted. "You can say that they are like paintings. Their price depends on how much anyone is willing to pay in order to acquire it. But, in the last years many wealthy markets have emerged, willing to pay a lot of money in auctions to have them," she said.

The significant size of the collection allows its continuous renewal, not only by way of thematic exhibitions, but also by replacing the museum pieces, she added.

"For the 70th anniversary of Ferrari, the museum hosts an exhibition of 14 Ferrari cars, also we celebrate the 60 years of FIAT 500 and the 50 years of NSU," Filipoussi marked.

In a special place in the museum, visitors can also find the permanent exhibition "MADE BY HELLAS" for cars manufactured, assembled or designed in Greece.

As a private funded organization, the museum cannot be supported only by the tickets, Filipoussi said. "We lease the areas of the museum for company and social events. Since 2011, we have had over 30,000 visits through special events, not including school and individual visitors," she stressed.

[ Editor: zyq ]