National Automobile Museum of Tasmania

While I was in Launceston earlier in the week, I visited the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania.   This is a nice little museum quite close to the centre of Launceston.   I had driven down to Tasmania in my 300TE, and had a few hours to kill before picking up my family from the airport.   The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania was a perfect way to do that.

The museum seemed to have a dual theme of Australian Motorsport and cars that were significant to Tasmania in some way.    It also had a huge collection of Motorbikes.   As I understand it, the museum does not own most of the collection – they are on loan.   This probably means the collection rotates over time.

There were a couple of highlights for me in the collection.

The first was the 1974 Citroen DS.  This was the winning car from the London – Sahara – Munich World cup rally.   Citroen DS’ had a surprising amount of success in long distance endurance rallying.  Not only was this car a winner back in 1974, but it was also entered in the 2013 Peking to Paris rally too.   The car had 47,000km on the clock from these two events.  The London to Sydney rally is probably the more famous, but cars did not win in that event.

National Automobile Museum of TasmaniaAnother car I found particularly interesting was the actual car that was rescued from the 1975 Tasman bridge disaster.   A ship hit the bridge causing a section of it to collapse.  Four cars went into the Derwent River and the occupants lost their lives.   This one almost joined them, but the automatic transmission pan caught the edge of the remaining section of bridge.    After the miraculous escape, the family never sold the car, and it remains in original condition.

National Automobile Museum of TasmaniaIt was also interesting to see the 1976 BMW 530MLE, a South African built predecessor to the M cars.  I hadn’t been aware of this car, and apparently only six survive.  Another car it was surprising to see in a Tasmanian car museum was the Rolls Royce Phantom VI which had been the official car for the Governors of NSW.

As well as the exhibits, the museum had quite a good gift shop and I picked up a few interesting magazines to read.   The museum is well worth a visit for anyone in Launceston.

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