The Malta Classic Car Collection, in the north east town of Qawara, don’t pronounce the Q, was founded by property developer Carol Galea who found his genetic pattern contained a deep rooted head over heels passion for cars which he has admired, driven raced and collected.
The impressive split level museum houses a cosmopolitan collection of vehicles including this 1957 BMW 250 Isetta bubble car a forerunner of the contemporary Smart Cars, the brainchild of Renzo Rivolta who was behind the Iso Grifo Super 7 I looked at some months ago.
Built by the Stuttgart coachbuilders Baur on the 2 stroke Auto Union 1000 chassis the 55hp Auto Union 1000 Sp was launced in 1958. Known in the German Press as “baby Thunderbird” 6,640 of these 2 door Coupés were built when production ceased in 1965 by which time ownership of Auto Union had been transferred from Mercedes Benz to Volkswagen.
Although forst seen in 1957 the ALFA Romeo Giuleitta Sprint Speciale was only in production from 1959 to 1966. With a 112hp double overhead cam motor and a drag co-efficient of just 0.28, same as a C6 Corvette the ALFA Romeo Giuleitta Sprint Speciale provided stiff competition for the Porsche 356.
The classic four taillight arrangement on this Chevrolet Corvette C1 were first seen in the 1961 – 1962 models and have featured on Corvette’s ever since up to and including the present day. The single colour paint scheme suggests this might be a 1962 model.
Another vehicle in the collection coincidentally launched in 1957 is the Borgward Isabella Coupé built in Bremen Germany. Unfortunately despite the success of the whole Isabella range Borgward went bankrupt when the German economy dipped in the early 1960’s.
Based on the lumpy but loveable Jaguar XJS coupé the vehicle above is one of 67 shooting brake conversions by Lynx known as the Eventer built during the mid 1980’s. IMHO the Eventers looks exceed the standard XJS by some considerable margin.
The name Panhard goes back in the motoring world to the late 1880’s, Citroen acquired a 25% stake in the company in 1955 since when Panhard production appears to have been phased out in order to avoid competition with Citroen’s products and in order to increase production facilities for Citroen’s product lines. The Panhard 24 bt manufactured between 1964 and 1967 is a 2 door five seater powered by an horizontally opposed air cooled twin cylinder motor. Unfortunately with Citroen refusing to countenance the development of a four door model Panhard’s days as a motor car manufacturer were numbered, the company still exists as a military vehicle manufacturer.
Among the pick up’s in the collection is this cool Morris Minor 1000 which is fitted with a load space bedecked in varnished wood !
I am not sure why Austin’s marketing department took a liberal interpretation of the word coupé which usually applies to a hard top vehicle when they named the 42 hp Austin Somerset Coupé, which is actually a convertible, but 7,243 of them were manufactured between 1952 and 1954 by Carbodies, better known these days as the manufacturer of London Cabs. This particular car is said to have been used by HRH The Queen of England during her visit to Malta during a Coronation visit in 1952.
Finally in foyer the fun roadster above looks like an original FIAT 500 but is actually based on much later FIAT 126 mechanical components from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
If you find your self in Malta I’d highly recommend paying the Malta Classic Car Collection a visit.
Thanks for joining me on this Head Over Heels edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !