As season is changing to fall and the weather is getting colder, the Antique Vehicle Club’s “Klasika” enthusiasts marked the ending of the season with a purposeful trip to Latvia. On November 5th, Saturday, club members and their families stopped for a brief time in Pasvalys, and there we invited a few friends to join us and headed to Riga‘s Motor Museum. Latvia welcomed us with a wintry weather and snow… The trip was not chosen by an accident. First of all – we went to see the newly reconstructed classic automobile museum, visited our colleagues working there, and a little later we took a walk along the Riga old town famous for its distinctiveness.
Riga Motor Museum (Rigas Motormuzejs) – the first auto-moto museum in the former Soviet Union, was founded in 1989 and continuously operated up until 2013. After three years of renovating the museum, it re-opened the doors quite recently – in 2016, 1st of July. By the way, our club members Dalius Linkevičius and Egidijus Einoris were invited and attended the museums opening as the guests of honor.
So, during the reconstruction, the museum not only had the architectural renovations and structural changes in the landscape, but also radical renovations and computerization in the museum exposure, and additional cars to the collection. The museum is proud of the oldest in the world 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen – motor carriage replica, Czech’s pride – Tatra 87, car produced in 1949, joint Austrian and German production cabriolet Steyr 220 Glaser Sport Cabrio, produced in 1938, the inter-war Latvian President’s K. Ulmanis representational twin car Cadillac V8, the world’s only remaining Krastin Auto car, made in 1903.
By the way, this car has an interesting story. Augusts Krastinš, born in Liepoja, in 1892 emigrated from Latvia to the USA and there, founded a company in 1902 and started developing and producing cars. Although, at that time the manufactured Krastin Auto cars technical solutions were very innovative and surpassed the times, before 1904 there were sold only 4 cars. Throughout the company’s existence there were made only a dozen or so of these cars. Finally, the skillful inventor’s and designer’s business was ruined by a fire that broke out in the workshop in 1904 and he went bankrupt the same year. It was believed for a long time that there was no specimen left of Krastin Auto, until in 2012 it was relieved that miraculously, one of them is preserved in United States, Nebraska. After long and difficult negotiations, the car was bought by Latvian collector, and later the restorers of Riga Motor Museum workshop restored the car.
So, on arrival at the museum, the “Klasika” crowd was greeted by our good acquaintance, head of museum exhibitions Linards Zandovskis, who kindly agreed to be our tour guide. By the way, Mr. Linardas was awarded with Club “Klasika” badge of honor for Latvian and Lithuanian classic automobile enthusiast cooperation and friendship.
The excursion was started from the invention of the wheel. After all, the progress motor of all mankind is a wheel, which to this day is used in mechanisms and vehicles. And speaking of, this museum of wheeled exhibits, has over a hundred of them. And all of them are located in a spacious, three storey 4000 square meter room, which takes a long day the detailed observation. To tell the truth, the time spent being interested in exhibits, their evolution and history by listening to an interesting guide – flew by. Some were interested in locally produced minivans and were astonished to learn that during the interwar period, Latvia produced Ford Vairogs cars, some were surprised by Soviet Union Kremlin car collection. Some were just looking at the motorcycles. And others enjoyed the computer simulation views, participated in training programs and games. By the way, you could have seen not only wheeled ancient vehicles but also telephone and radio collection. It was really interesting! The only obstacle that was worrying us – lack of time, soon reminded about itself… Unfortunately, a pithy and an interesting stay in Riga “Motor museum” was over. Now, all we had to do was to thank our friend and guide of the day – Linards, take a picture and say goodbye.
After it was done, we got on an awaiting bus and headed towards the old town of Riga. We admired the old architecture and history of Riga for a short time and went back home. Time has made us to rush because in Biržai, in J. Vireliūnas guest house, there was a delicious dinner waiting for us, heated bathhouse and the discussions of our club members.
Right after we came back and had dinner, we took into a consideration our Club “Klasika” current matters: listened and approved director’s report, discussed Club calendar publishing and implementation issues and the format of 2017 season’s opening event. Of course, we shared our trip excitements, which for sure will not only persist in the photographs but also in our memories.
Getting started… Jolita Greviškienė photos
Riga Motor Museum… Gediminas Aleksandravičius photos