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Car Porn: A Daytrip to the Shanghai Auto Museum

All the wonderful things we saw and learned about cars, cars, and cars at the Shanghai Auto Museum.
By Sep 1, 2017 Activities

TELL EVERYONE

The SmartShanghai staff photographer is a huge car bro.

I'm looking at him right now, he's a few tables over, munching on Doritos, blasting Slipknot in his headphones, reading some car bro blogs about new V8 engines or something. He's reading blog think-pieces about Formula 1 or electric cars or whatever. What a car bro.

Said photographer's been trying to get me to go to the Shanghai Auto Museum for months because "he heard it's wicked" and nothing's ever been written about it apparently. I don't know anything about cars. I've got nothing to say about cars. I don't care about cars. What am I? 6?

I AM into museums though. I AM a museum bro. I'm INTO museums. Love a good museum. Love me some hot museum action. So yeah. The Shanghai Auto Museum... sure, what the hey.

So we went to the Shanghai Auto Museum. It's... wow. Surprisingly well done. Yeah, it IS pretty wicked! Even if you don't know anything or care anything about cars. Damn. It's pretty great! Here, I'll show you.

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Nice, eh? The Shanghai Auto Museum. Good times. Who knew? Surprisingly decent. It looks like this:

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Some space age-looking building in bumblefuck nowhere that looks like like it was designed by Mega Man. It's waaaaaaaaay out there in "Anting Town" in Jiading District, which is the very north western corner of Shanghai. Basically, you have to get on Line a million and get off at Subway Stop a million to get to this place. Seriously, it's like an hour and a half on the subway.

Question: At which point does a subway cease being a subway and just turn into a regular train? Listen, if I'm riding this thing for more than 15 minutes, this is no longer a subway, this is a NORMAL TRAIN situation we're are now in. Let's be real.

The Breakdown - This is What's in the Shanghai Auto Museum



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The Shanghai Auto Museum is split across five floors and five exhibition spaces: the History Pavilion traces the history of human transportation and the development of the automobile in the 20th century; the "Shanghai Memories" Pavilion is about China's and specifically Shanghai's automobile development and industry; the Antique Car Pavilion is just a shitload of nice-ass cars in a big room; the Exploration Pavilion is how cars work and are built, and games for kids; and the Brand Pavilion, which is just 15 or so lipstick red Ferrari's from across the decades.

All-in, there's around 80-100 cars on display, dating back to the earliest automobiles from the late 19th century to the modern electric cars of this era. The accompanying documentation is also very well done, in both English and Chinese, and they've even got French and German-language audio guides.

Some Really Interesting Things About Cars I Learned at the Shanghai Auto Museum



This place is so serious they start with a DISPLAY OF A WHEEL. Look, a wheel!

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LOL. "The invention of the wheel was a breakthrough in transportation on land." Yeah? Thanks professor. This one's "life size". The Shanghai Auto Museum gives props to Sumeria for the invention of the wheel and then quickly skips ahead a few thousand years to elucidate China's central role in the development of transportation, namely emperors getting carried on beds, which was a key influence on cars.

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The one that started it all. The Model T Ford. The also have an autographed copy of Henry Ford's book My Life and Work, but it's in a glass case so you can't skip to the chapter, "Hitler: What a Chill Guy".

The history of the car in Shanghai is a particularly interesting section, delineating the history of roads, cars, and traffic in this city.

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Did you know:

-"In the 1920s, automobiles were seen as status symbols for the rich. Fashionable automobiles could often be seen in from of mansions belonging to wealthy merchants."

-"Shanghai had it's own tram quite early. In 1908, the first tramway line was constructed, which extended from Jing'an Temple to The Bund."

-"Shanghai first saw a taxi in 1908. After 1911, taxis were allowed to park on the roadside."

-"In Old Shanghai, rickshaws, tricycles, bicycles, and automobiles all mixed together on the road. The traffic in the city was a mess."

Huh!

This baby right here is the pride of China's modern automobile industry: The 1959 Hongqi CA72.

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"The design team referred to the advanced technology of American cars but integrated Chinese elements to internal and external decoration. The sector shape of a folding fan was utilized for the front grille, tail lights were designed referring to traditional palace lanterns, while internal ornamentation integrated the characteristics of Chinese folk arts and crafts. This car was used for national and foreign affairs on a regular basis, and driving a Hongqi became the most courteous sort of reception for foreign officials visiting China in those years."

Another highlight of the China automobile industry: The 1983 Shanghai VW Santana. Aww yeah! Hello old friend.

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"In 1985, the first Santana production line went into production formally in Anting, starting its difficult domestication process. "With Santana we can go everywhere." Just as the slogan described, the 30-year success of the Santana and its subsequent models became the car with the most inventory in China."

Interesting design trend: In the '60s and '70s, all the cars in China came from the Soviet Union and were primarily produced in this sporty deep green color. Hmmm!

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They also have this, which is the first electric car every produced.

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This is a big deal because only like 10 of these were every made, or something like that, I dunno, the photographer was telling me about it but I blanked out and wandered off before he finished talking at me. It's an important car or something.

Fun and games for the kids on the third floor, and also this, a disassembled car suspended in the air like a Damien Hirst installation.

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They round out the thing with pure Ferrari porn on your way through the gift shop. The museum is honoring 70 years of the Ferari company and is showcasing the majority of their models throughout the decades. They come replete with 20-something Chinese guys staring at them, moaning softly, a trickle of drool escaping the corners of their mouths.

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I like the 1980s one's the best. It's like you can just feel Michael J. Fox sprawled out playfully on the hood of this thing.

On the display screen, they're showing all the movies Ferari has popped up in.


Bad Boys...

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Ferris Bueller...

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...AND CHECK IT OUT: SHOWGIRLS!

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Love that movie! Love you Shanghai Automobile Museum! Vroom vroom!

Getting There



It's far. It's in Anting Town. Which is Jiading Distrit. From the city center, an Uber cost 160rmb. Taking the subway, you're looking at an hour and a half or so ride. It's the Shanghai Automobile City stop on Line 11, two stops past the Shanghai F1 Circuit. Entry fee is 60rmb for adults. They're open six days a week (closed on Mondays) from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. They stop letting people in at 3.30pm.

Good one for fans of cars of all ages and fans of museums as well.

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1 comments.

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  • 2 years ago Simbamak

    Hey how do i submit images that you can consider using ?

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