China is a land with an absolutely incredible number of amazing places to visit, and the truth is that even a single city (especially one as important and historical as Beijing) will have plenty to offer residents and tourists a like. While not nearly as well known as some of the historical landmarks, the Beijing Automobile Museum is a stunning sight and definitely worth a visit during your time in Beijing!
What To Expect
Officially opened its doors to the public on September 23, 2011, this is the largest car museum in China, and features an impressive 50,000 square meters (over 150,000 square feet) and features over 80 vintage cars made both in China as well as many special ones that have been made abroad. This is an especially large exhibit that covers five floors and really dives into the design of some of the old vehicles not only showing a fully put together and functioning model – but some displays include the disassembled car set up in a way so you can study all the parts and get a visual idea of how they would come together to create the finished car.
Many displays focus on primitive engines and the predecessors to the earliest cars, providing a top notch educational experience that lets visitors see first hand how the technology evolved from the very beginning. This approach to the subject is part of the reason the Beijing museum, despite not being open all that long, has already surged in popularity. It really does strive to provide a full educational experience that is kept interesting and balanced.
Classic Famous Vintage Cars
There are many really truly remarkable vintage cars that can be found in the Beijing Automobile Museum. This includes some of the truly famous vintage car models of all time that have long been considered among the cream of the crop no matter what country you’re from or what level of excellence that you expect.
This might be one of your only chances to see these amazing models all in one place, and they are each an amazing piece of automotive and engineering work.
Just three you can find there include:
– The XK-120
– Ferrari Dino
– Bugatti Type 38
Little Known Chinese Models
Perhaps even more fun for many visitors is to get a serious look at many of the lesser known Chinese models from decades ago, at a time where not nearly as much information was at the tip of the fingers about China or what was going on there. Examples of this include a variety of little known historical Chinese automobiles, the range of which is frankly amazing.
There are the Hongqi (pronounced Hong-Chee) which are some of the earliest widespread models in China, and although this company is known for luxury cars today, they are the longest running car company in China as they started mass producing vehicles as far back as 1958 including the famous black sedans that would be used by government officials and high ranking members of the party.
Add in oddities like early Gazas, see the immense differences in design and you really will get a really remarkable look at how much the auto industry has changed historically throughout China.
Primitive three wheel designs that are more like specialized scooters to the full sized black sedans that could be easily imagined to be cruising the streets of 1950s or 1960s America.
Don’t Forget The Interactive Displays!
Really it should come as no surprise that in a nation as strongly pro growth and pro technology as China that some of that would make its way into a relatively new museum and a barrage of enjoyable interactive driving displays helps further create an enjoyable format that appeals to a broad number of individuals.
If you love cars, you are going to be hard pressed to find a more impressive public museum or collection than the one you will find at the Beijing Automobile Museum. While they brag about displaying 80 cars it feels like so much more. From interactive displays to classic cars to educational displays…and a few that seem bizarre but all in good fun (like the firetruck bursting through a wall for some reason?), this is a trip that is definitely worth making.
Address: 126 South Fourth Ring West Road, West of Huaxiang Bridge. The museum is right off the outer lane of the Fourth Ring Road.
Address in Chinese: 南四环西路126号,从花乡桥往西，博物馆就在南四环外边
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm (last ticket sales 3:30pm)
Admission: Adults 30 Yuan, Children 20 Yuan (2017)
Recommended length of visit: 2 hours
How to get there: take Subway Line 9 to KeYi Lu and get out of the subway from Exit C, walk eastward for 300 meters passing by the footbridge, then you will find the Museum.