From ancient Italy, inside Car Museums

Italy’s Car Museums are filled with finely displayed examples of car memorabilia and machinery, just as would any museum. But there are, fortunately, also notable features like Salibourgeois fashion, a simple ailing organ, stacks…

From ancient Italy, inside Car Museums

Italy’s Car Museums are filled with finely displayed examples of car memorabilia and machinery, just as would any museum. But there are, fortunately, also notable features like Salibourgeois fashion, a simple ailing organ, stacks of unlikely exhibits from urbanites’ homes, and a smashing, glass sculpture like the one seen above.

The Turin-based Pace Amsterdam gallery recently opened the third chapter of its exhibit on supercar origins. The exhibit is made up of 1,600 (retro) vehicles, representing a wide range of manufacturers including Ferrari, Bugatti, McLaren, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, and more. It also features motorcycles, modern race cars, special vintage examples, as well as carefully selected and curated display cases and vignettes. The concept is a lot like a traditional car museum, but the aesthetic is more futuristic and contemporary.

“The fundamental objective of the Pace Pagani exhibition is not merely to trace the present history of supercars, but also to show where these traits come from,” said Pace curator Sam Pessin in a statement. “More specifically, Pace aims to show how influential the supercar is in classical Italian architecture, cars are in the townscapes, neighbourhoods, traditions and celebrities.”

A booth on the opening of Pace’s supercar exhibit

On the central floor, there are endless displays of vintage supercars in various states of disrepair or splendor. Many showcase just an imperfection or piece of equipment, just as some dealer showrooms do when charging ludicrous prices for purely functional showroom features. The section of classic and modern cars includes brands like Astra, Bally, Buick, Ferrari, McLaren, McLaren SPA, Opel, Subaru, and many more.

Other sections highlight their meaning within Italian cityscapes and culture. One display of McLaren’s legendary Superleggera starts by showing how it drove on the Balmoral run on the British motorway system in the late ’70s, proving just how exquisite it was. Next, the exhibit draws attention to how German customs like no speed limits and long stopping distances have made supercars classic and appealing in that country.

Kitty Hawk Supercar Lane

A piece of an El Paseo motorbike in the exhibit

“We chose to place an extra long skate ramp and many everyday items of people’s lives, like their mobile phones, TVs, laptops, books, coffeemakers, smoothies, microwave food, etc., in the center to show them that they are not alone in this world,” says Pessin. “In the middle is an untouched ‘skate’ ramp for people who come to connect with the car and the world around them, while at the same time we also invite visitors to take part in some of the real engines they build out.”

Vast 80-foot suspended ramp like that is not the most common place to find people strolling around, but this exhibit is actually rather unusual in that it includes a demonstration track, where patrons can learn from experts how to drive each car on a vacant track. The course includes a business office, drive school classroom, and multiple laps driven by the driver.

The exhibit also includes displays of new prototypes and unique how-to videos of each supercar maker on how they created their own limited-edition makes. There are also plenty of views to admire.

Visitors get an authentic view of McLaren’s Superleggera track

There are also the modern-day supercars that give the exhibit its impact. McLaren also has its own interpretive displays, which highlight the company’s 70th anniversary and history of making its cars. Tourists can stop at the Tapa bar for organic cocktails made with Tapa ice cream, which features art inspired by a McLaren supercar and was created by artist Elisa Antello, who is local to the city.

Other companies like the Daimler Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari each have entry-level concepts and offerings (read: basically Ferraris). As does BMW. After all, you don’t get bogged down by all of that any more. These companies are doing exactly what Ferrari did all those years ago: making cars that people want to buy, and only get to drive.

“Over the last four decades, the automobile has become a major influence on modern culture in Italy, and Pace is trying to reflect this,” says Pace CEO Joop Brantz. “We are taking a worldwide approach that aims to make this kind of fashion relevant around the world and bring this vibrant collection closer to the maximum public.”

Story by design&build’s Kayla Osborne.

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