Private Chinese car museum gains FIVA membership

Private Chinese car museum gains FIVA membership

Sanhe Classic Car Museum has 230 vehicles dating throughout the 20th century

“China’s growing love of historic vehicles is good news for us all,” the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens says as it announces that the Asian country’s only private classic car museum has joined FIVA.

“The Sanhe Classic Car Museum, in Chengdu, boasts a collection of some 230 historic cars, with more than 30 marques dating from the early 1900s to the 1990s,” FIVA said in its announcement.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of welcoming a Chinese museum to the international community of classic vehicle enthusiasts,” added Mario Theissen, FIVA senior vice president. “A passion for historic vehicles, and for the culture that lies behind automotive history, is a relatively new phenomenon in China. This makes it a particular pleasure to share our mutual interests with the Chinese, and we look forward to exchanging valuable ideas.”

“While we already have Chinese members of FIVA, such as the Classic Vehicle Union of China, the addition of the SCCM is a huge step forward,” said FIVA president Patrick Rollet.

“Given the country’s size, population and enormous global influence, establishing a closer relationship with China is likely to be very good news for the future of historic vehicle preservation. This is right at the heart of why FIVA exists.”

Hongqi CA72 leads parade

While the Sanhe museum is privately owned, there also are two state-owned classic vehicle museums in China, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai, FIVA said.

The international historic vehicle association noted that Chengdu is home to 8 million people, with another 22 million in the region. The city traces to 300 BC.

The Sanhe museum “is lavishly constructed and beautifully illuminated, and features a ‘retro street,’ children’s entertainment area, art gallery, theatre, library, plus a coffee shop and souvenir center,” FIVA said.

It is owned and curated by Huang ZongMin (or Jason Huang, as he prefers to be known), and its collection includes a Benz Patent Motorwagen replica, 1906 Cadillac M, 1910 Napier 15HP, Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, Auburn 851, Packard Super 8, Maserati 3500 GT and Aston Martin DB4. 

“Even more interestingly, however, the museum houses a good collection of Chinese-built Hongqis, the car used by senior members of the Communist Party and government officials. In 2008, SCCM exchanged a 1965 Hongqi CA770 with Blackhawk Museum’s Benz Patent Motorwagen. 

“In 2015, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France, Chinese carmaker FAW, which owns the Hongqi brand today, and SCCM donated a CA770 to Cité de l’Automobile – Collection Schlumpf, at Mulhouse, France.”

Huang is considered to be China’s leading classic car collector and is chairman of the Sanhe Group which has dealerships selling Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Lotus, Morgan, Audi, Volvo, Infiniti, Toyota and Honda vehicles. In 2016 he became the first Chinese collector to display a vehicle at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, his 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. In 2018, his Hongqi CA72 won the Chairman’s Award at Pebble Beach.

Earlier this month, the Sanhe musuem gained permission to stage a road tour, a caravan of 22 historic vehicles opening the Chengdu Motor Show. Five of the vehicles remained at the show, giving rides to show visitors.

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