Buckle up for some wheel funAre you a car buff and bored with the streamlined-similitude of today's models? If so, you would enjoy a visit to a car museum just south of Seoul that displays automobiles from past and present from all over the world.
The Samsung Transportation Museum in Yongin opened in 1998 and is the only museum of its kind in Korea. It has three main exhibition areas on its grounds. First is the indoor exhibition, where significant cars from Korea and abroad are shown along with various auto components, decorations and electric power devices.
This area also has works of art based on automobiles. Second is the lobby exhibition hall, where a replica of the first patented gasoline-powered car, a Benz from 1886, is shown.
The area also features race cars, such as a 1995 Formula Samsung from Korea, a 1993 Minardi M193 from Italy, a 1966 Jaguar D type from Britain, and Ferraris and Maseratis. It also has some old cars, such as a 1924 Buick and one of the Nissan Corp.'s first cars, a replica of a 1936 Datsun.
Also in the second area are displays of several engines, including some that have modern, high-tech energy-efficient attributes. You can also thrill to various engine-starting sounds in a special listening room.
The third section is the main exhibition hall, which contains ancient Korean transportation relics as well as cars, motorbikes, ordinary bicycles and boats.
The assistant manager of the museum, Han Yun-hee, said that the historical importance of the items in the section draws many people. "This exhibition hall is the most popular among our rooms because it is the most educational," she said. Among the older items are sedan chairs, wagons and carts, some dating back several centuries. This hall has 36 cars, grouped in three zones: those from Europe, those from North America and those from Asia. Korea's first mass-produced model is there, a 1976 Hyundai Pony, as well as European rigs such as Rolls-Royces, BMWs and a 1953 Austin Princess limousine.
Originally founded by Samsung Motors, the museum is now owned by Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance Co. The museum holds special exhibitions from time to time.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Mondays. It is also open most holidays.
Admission is 2,500 won ($2) for adults and 1,500 won for children.
For more information, call (031) 320-9900 or check out www.carmily.org.
by Choi Jie-ho