Three Dutch friends Dik Boosman, Jan Mol and Pim van der Veer hit the road from Dordrecht in the Netherlands on Sunday 22 June, heading south towards Neuenburg, near the Black Forest (680km) to visit 9 motor museums and in the process drive 3,059km in one week. So we pick up their story from there:
“The purpose of the adventure was to acquaint ourselves with the hitherto little known motor museums and collections for the purpose of collecting documentation, taking photographs and writing articles. Our first museum the next day, after a leisurely drive across the border into France, was the Musée de l’Aventure Peugeot in Sochaux. This is a large modern museum with an artistic interior in Art Deco style. The motor vehicles and components exhibited were explained with informative panels in both French and English. Surprising to us was that Peugeot had its origin, more than 200 years ago, in rolling steel to strip steel. From this they supplied main springs to the clock industry. Another product was a saw blade of a new design with the teeth in-line, but the blade of unequal thickness. Many glass cases showed the development of the product range of tools and implements for industry, workshops and households. Coffee grinders, pepper mills and sewing machines are just a few examples, but also shown were the steel bones instead of the uncomfortable wooden hoops used to keep the wide shape of women’s frocks of the day. During the 19th century the inventions and product range developed rapidly until 1892 when Armand Peugeot concentrated on the bicycle which started with the “Grand Bi” the big wheel with pedals, followed by the motorcycle and motorcar. The early cars on display are very instructive for students of the early history of the automobile. The better known models, both for daily road use and competition in rally and racing, are all on display in full regalia.
On the 24th of June 2014, after a beautiful drive through the heart of Switzerland and the beautiful alps covering a distance of 570km, we reached our next destination, the Museo Nicolis in Vilafranca di Verona, Northern Italy. This motor museum was opened in 2001 thanks to industrialist Luciano Nicolis, allowing other people to enjoy his technical collection. In a large modern building with a lot of glass an overwhelmingly large number of exhibits of high quality and rarity is located on three levels and 6,000 sqm. In addition to the historic development of motor cars, motor cycles and cycles, attention is also given to the history of photographic equipment, musical instruments and typewriters. Motor sport on 2 and 4 wheels is abundantly represented. It is a truly impressive museum with ample facilities for group visits and with a conference centre for up to 350 people making this a venue with many purposes. It is part of Lamacart, the largest (paper)recycling company in Italy, and of international award winning prominence. Their slogan is “La Passione per il recupero in tutte le sue forme” – The passion for retrieval in all its forms. All vehicles on display are restored in-house and in working order. They are loaned out for classic car events as well as for other occasions.
One of the favourite and valuable collection pieces is this Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 AS of 1928. The Coupé de Ville was built with a body of Castagna. Luciano Nicolis spent a lot of time and effort to obtain the car and restore it to its original glory. In 1990 it was awarded with the Prix Puiforcat of the international Louis Vuitton Concours
The same day we managed to visit the Museo Panini (Colezione Maserati Umberto Panini) in Cittanova Modena. After the large-scale museums of Peugeot and Nicolis it was a surprise to arrive at a big farm “Hombre” in the countryside and to be greeted by a large cow herd. Their milk is biologically pure and processed for the production of Parmesan cheese. In the temperature-controlled store lie 6,400 of those 35 kgs heavy cheeses, called “wheels”, and these are exported to countries all over the world. The automobile collection was started by Umberto Panini and the brothers Matteo and Giovanni Panini have inherited the farm and collection. Today the farm is managed by Matteo while Giovanni takes care of the collection. Fortunately the family Panini has a friendly relationship with the Maserati factory. In order to relieve financial problems Panini bought Maseratis which eventually amounted to a substantial Maserati collection, alongside the other historical vehicles. Part of the collaboration with the factory is that cars are loaned out for events such as the “100 years Maserati” events all over Europe. A very worthwhile museum to visit.”
Read all about the other six motor museums and the rest of the journey in part 2…
Written by: Pim van der Veer
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Pim van der Veer