My Visit to the National Automobile Museum in Turin, Italy

Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile

Or you could call it by its real name – Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino – that way when you’re wandering around the outskirts of Turin, Italy without a map trying to find the place, the Italian-only speaking locals won’t look at you with a blank stare when you ask for directions. Hint: get off at the Lingotto Metro stop and walk towards the river a few blocks. Turns out it’s not as difficult as I made it out to be.

A little bit of background: the car brand Fiat, who is huge in Europe but only sell the 500 minicar in the States, is an acronym for “Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino,” or in English, that’s “Italian Automobile Factory of Turin.” So Turin is quite well known for the auto industry and specifically the FIAT group, which started as far back as 1899 and includes Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Abarth, and parts of many more that would require more explanation than I have room here.

Skip ahead a few decades, and enter the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino – one of the biggest and best automobile museums in the world. After a complete restructure in 2011, the museum now hosts nearly 200 vehicles representing eight countries over 20,000 square feet over three rather large floors. The tour begins on the second floor (that’s the third floor for Americans,) and starts with the very beginning of the automobile, from the earliest Fiats and Mercedes-Benzes and plenty of brands we’ve never heard of that catered to the wealthy, to a 1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash (first mass produced vehicle ever built) and Ford Model T (first affordable mass produced vehicle.)

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1901 Fiat and Oldsmobile Curved Dash

1901 Fiat and Oldsmobile Curved Dash

1916 Ford Model T

1916 Ford Model T

Delage AB-8

Delage AB-8

Jamais Contente - 1899

Jamais Contente - 1899

Moving through the decades, and we see some of the earliest Ferraris, race cars, Rolls Royce, and a great display on the history of the internal combustion engines and evolution of the wheel and tire:

1914 Rolls-Royce

1914 Rolls-Royce

Internal Combustion Engine, Tires, and Wheels

History of the Internal Combustion Engine, Tires, and Wheels

1973 Ferrari 365 GT4

1973 Ferrari 365 GT4

A 1941 Jeep sits on a special US military display and brings back memories of watching Hawkeye Pierce and Hotlips Houlihan going at it. The Jeep features a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 60 hp:

1941 Jeep

1941 Jeep

Next to the Jeep, the Trabant has a cool display, showing the history of how terrible a car it was, but after the falling of Berlin wall, becoming a bit of an icon:

Trabant 601

Trabant 601

I couldn’t finish this article without mentioning what is commonly regarded as one of the prettiest cars in the world: the Jaguar E-Type:

1968 Jaguar E-Type

1968 Jaguar E-Type

Next up is a cool section that allows people to sit in their own display and watch car commercials from the ’50s up until those of today:

Car Commercials

They also have a large display showing race cars from the beginning all the way up to today:

F1 Section

F1 Cars, Old and New

Ferrari F2005

Ferrari F2005

Mercedes Benz

Alfa Romeo 33 TT 12

Alfa Romeo 33 TT 12

1980 Ferrari 312 T5

1980 Ferrari 312 T5

Then we come across future cars and concepts, including some commentary on alternative fuel and waste:

Solar Powered Cars

Display about waste from cars

Display about waste from cars

Solar Powered Car

Cars do grow on trees

Cars do grow on trees

Electric Car Display

Electric Car Display

And an awesome collection of rare concept cars:

Vittoria Concept

Vittoria Concept

Pininfarina Sintesi

Pininfarina Sintesi

Giugiaro VadHO Concept

Giugiaro VadHO Concept

Giugiaro Namir Concept

Giugiaro Namir Concept

BMW Concept Coupe

BMW Concept Coupe

2011 VW Tex Concept

2011 VW Tex Concept

And a concept F1 car called the Fioravanti LF1, which is not only gorgeous, but is built using the new upcoming F1 regulations and features a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine:

Fioravanti LF1

Fioravanti LF1

And last but not least, one of my personal favorites, one of eight Ferrari F40 Competiziones:

F40 Competizione

F40 Competizione

Keep scrolling and you’ll find a gallery of all the pictures I took while at the museum.

If you’re ever near Northern Italy, it’s more than worth it to stop by the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino and spend a few hours looking around. It’s fascinating to see the history of the automobile from the very beginning into the future all in one building over three floors.

Weird opening hours:
Monday: 10am – 2pm
Tuesday: 2pm – 7pm
Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday: 10am -7pm
Friday and Saturday: 10am – 9pm

Ticket are 8 Euros for adults, 6 for seniors or children 6-14, or free for kids under 6.

All images taken by Chris Burdick, except the one with all the F1 cars in a row (I couldn’t find a source to cite for that picture)

Check out the gallery below:


Filed Under: Cool StuffFiatGalleryMuseumsProduct Reviews


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