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Dedicated to an invention that changed the world

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More than just an impressive collection of cars, a museum in Limassol offers a world to glorify all things automobile finds PAUL LAMBIS

It may not be the world’s largest automotive collection, but it certainly felt that way when I visited the Cyprus Historic and Classic Motor Museum in Limassol. Whether an automobile enthusiast or not, the staggering number of restored classic vehicles and collectibles on display is impressive, and takes the visitor on an incredible journey through time.

Located within an industrial area of Limassol, the Cyprus Historic and Classic Motor Museum is the island’s only automobile museum, with 3,500 square metres of exhibition space showcasing antique, vintage, classic and modern modes of transportation, including one of the original classic green Minis driven by Rowan Atkinson in the popular Mr. Bean sitcom.

It was in 2014, when Dimi Mavropoulos, a veteran of international and local rally racing, opened the doors to a museum in Cyprus exhibiting his ever-growing, privately-owned collection of automobiles, delivering a one-of-a-kind experience to all classic car enthusiasts. “The museum houses vehicles from the United Kingdom and around the world, as well as some limited editions, while also showcasing Cyprus’ history and its relationship with vehicles,” he said.

dom2One of the exhibit’s centrepieces is a life-size replica of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which was manufactured in 1886 and is generally regarded as the world’s first automobile propelled by an internal combustion engine. “When Karl Benz applied for a patent for his vehicle with gas engine operation, little did he realise that his invention would change the world,” Mavropoulos told the Cyprus Mail. “The vehicle is regarded as the birth of automobiles.”

Other highlights include a 1912 Ford Model T Roadster, widely regarded as the first affordable automobile and made travel accessible to the average middle-class American, the original Rover P5 used to transport former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as well as the armoured presidential Cadillac designed specifically for President Makarios in 1977. “The car is relatively heavy, weighing over four tonnes, and, although it was never used by Makarios, this classic vehicle was utilised by the presidential guard and subsequent governments,” he explained.

Mavropoulos’ enthusiasm for cars began as a teenage rally driver, which resulted in him winning several local races by the age of 20. He began driving for Ford, Mitsubishi, and then the Chrysler (Talbot) Cyprus team in 1969, where he remained the team’s leading driver for many years, achieving and retaining his standing as one of the best drivers and entrants in the Cyprus Championship.

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Dimi Mavropoulos

In the late 1960s, Mavropoulos relocated to London to establish the European headquarters for his family’s fruit export business. As a result, he entered the British and European Rally Cross scenes and began what would turn out to be a highly successful rallying career while still returning home to compete in the Cyprus Rally. “I drove a variety of vehicles, including factory prepared Ford Escorts, Lotus Esprit S2, Talbot Sunbeam Lotuses, and finally Audi Quattro and Mitsubishi Evo 9,” he said.

After winning the Cyprus Championship for the first time in 1986 and finishing second in the Rothmans International Cyprus Rally later that year, Mavropoulos’ rallying career went from strength to strength, resulting in him having the best finishing record of any Cypriot driver in the Rothmans International Rally and overall placing in all Cyprus Championships to date.

“My vision of opening an automotive museum began in 2000, 14 years before we opened our doors to the public. After a lot of hard work and perseverance, my dream came to fruition, and today the museum offers a lot more than simply an impressive car exhibition,” he said.

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The Benz patent Motorwagen

The Cyprus Historic and Classic Vehicles Club was established to provide a space for automobile enthusiasts to express their passions and share their interests in a like-minded community. “The club is a non-profit organisation that donates all its revenue to charitable organisations in Cyprus and many other worthy causes.

“The Cyprus Historic and Classic Motor Museum is a place for creating memories while living out your dreams. People can rent one of our cars, buses, or motorbikes for their wedding, city tour, or special day photoshoot to ensure their event is remembered for years,” he added.

“We also have many educational programmes and guided tours for schools for students, where they can visit the museum and gain knowledge through interactive and meaningful participation.”

The Cyprus Historic and Classic Motor Museum offers a one-of-a-kind, spectacular panorama that glorifies the automobile industry from its inception to present day. Whether it is the sleek lines and sparkling surfaces of the cars or the stories they tell about human inventiveness and engineering prowess, this meticulously curated display of automotive beauty will capture car enthusiasts and casual visitors for generations.

 

To find out more about the Cyprus Historic and Classic Motor Museum, visit www.cyprusmotormuseum.com.cy

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