China’s first and only private historic vehicle museum has joined the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) and it looks amazing.
The impressive Sanhe Classic Car Museum (SCCM) is based in Chengdu and boasts a collection of some 230 historic cars with more than 30 marques dating from the early 1900s to the 1990s.
Dr Mario Theissen, Senior Vice President of FIVA said:
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of welcoming a Chinese museum to the international community of classic vehicle enthusiasts.
“A passion for historic vehicles, and for the culture that lies behind the 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.”
A growing interest in classic vehicles has been gathering interest for some time now with only three museums in the country that reflect this newfound passion. Two of these museums are state-owned while the newest FIVA member is privately owned by Huang ZongMin (or Jason Huang, as he prefers to be known).
The museum joins the register as the 40th ‘Professional Member’, while most of the remaining members – representing nearly two million enthusiasts – are historic vehicle clubs from around the world.
Chengdu, with more than 8m inhabitants (and another 22m in the wider Chengdu area), is a city of considerable historical significance, able to trace its roots back to 300 BC. The SCCM covers some 20,000 square metres, 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 centre.
Sanhe Classic Car Museum Exhibits
Sanhe Classic Car Museum exhibits include 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.
FIVA president Patrick Rollet said also:
“While we already have Chinese members of FIVA, such as the Classic Vehicle Union of China (CVUC), the addition of SCCM is a huge step forward. Given the country’s size, population and enormous global influence, establishing a closer relationship with China are likely to be very good news for the future of historic vehicle preservation. This is right at the heart of why FIVA exists.”
Jason Huang, China’s leading classic car collector, is also chairman of Sanhe Group, retailing Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Lotus, Morgan, Audi, Volvo, Inﬁniti, Toyota and Honda cars.
In 2016, Huang became the ﬁrst Chinese collector to participate in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with his 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, winning the runners-up award in the Silver Ghost class. Two years later, in 2018, Huang’s Hongqi CA72 was awarded the Chairman’s Trophy at Pebble Beach.
On 6 September 2019, SCCM obtained permission to put historic vehicles on the roads of Chengdu, organising a drive of 22 beautiful historic vehicles to the start of the Chengdu Motor Show. Five cars remained at the exhibition grounds, giving short rides to visitors – the majority of whom had never experienced a historic vehicle before.