Introduction: Situated near Tehran, the National Car Museum of Iran is a treasure trove of nearly 60 regal vehicles, ranging from the early 20th century to the late 1970s. This impressive collection features cars commissioned by major global companies and those acquired from specific clients, providing a unique insight into the automotive history of the region.
Restoration Project: The meticulous restoration and reconstruction of these historical cars commenced in May 2020 at Khazaneh Khodro, aptly named the Car Treasury. The ambitious project aimed not only to restore these classic vehicles but also to showcase their authenticity, preserving the essence of a bygone era.
Upon the museum’s inauguration, criticisms arose regarding the restoration methods, particularly changes in the appearance and color of some cars. In response to these concerns, Mohammad Afrafar, the curator of the museum, provided insights into the restoration process.
Preservation Methods: Afrafar explained the two commonly used preservation methods globally: occasional starting and moving the car or the “dry” method. The Iran Historical Car Cultural Museum Center opted for the dry method, ensuring that displayed cars have no fluids. This approach involves removing all fluids, preserving the vehicles in a state of dryness.
Restoration Stages: The restoration of historical cars involves several stages, addressing specific needs like upholstery. Many cars in the museum feature natural leather interiors, which, over time, may require restoration to prevent cracking and loss of flexibility. Dents are repaired using precise techniques like Paintless Dent Repair (PDR), ensuring a smoother finish with minimal underlying paintwork.
Quality Materials: Afrafar emphasized the use of high-quality materials for painting, contributing to greater brilliance and longevity. The careful selection of materials plays a crucial role in preserving the paint and overall aesthetics of these classic cars.
Access to Expertise: The curator welcomed the expertise of specialists in the restoration and reconstruction of historical cars. The museum actively encourages collaboration with knowledgeable individuals to enhance the preservation of these treasured vehicles.
The museum’s collection includes exceptional vehicles such as a gold-plated limousine, the world’s only Panther-Laser car, a Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce once owned by Qajar King Ahmand Shah, and a royal carriage belonging to Nasereddin Shah of Qajar.
Exhibition Halls: The museum is thoughtfully divided into four halls, each dedicated to specific categories. Hall No. 1 showcases the oldest vehicles, including the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost owned by Ahmad Shah Qajar. Hall No. 2 focuses on American and Mercedes-Benz vehicles, while Hall No. 3 highlights official and ceremonial cars, including Rolls-Royces and Mercedes. Hall No. 4 is dedicated to sports and super sports cars.
Impressive Collections: The National Car Museum of Iran proudly houses the world’s largest collection of Mercedes-Benz 600, with 21 units. Additionally, it possesses 21 classic Rolls-Royces, securing its position as the second-largest treasure trove of these vehicles after the Rolls-Royce Museum.
In essence, the National Car Museum of Iran stands not only as a testament to automotive heritage but also as a testament to the meticulous efforts in preserving and showcasing the rich history of these classic automobiles. Visitors are offered a unique opportunity to travel back in time and witness the glory of an era encapsulated within the walls of this extraordinary museum.