Montevideo Motor Museum

This item appears on page 52 of the November 2011 issue.

In Montevideo, Uruguay, the Museo del Automóvil (Colonia 1251; phone 902 47 92), at the corner of Colonia and Yi streets, is a hidden gem in more ways than one.

1910 Hupmobile at Museo del Automóvil — Montevideo. Photo: Addison

First, none of the tourist information my wife and I collected in Uruguay mentioned the museum. My wife and I learned about it from the Uruguay chapter in the 2010 Lonely Planet guidebook “Argentina.”

The museum is also hard to find. It’s located on the sixth floor of a parking garage at 1251 Colonia Street. Head toward the middle of the garage and take the small elevator behind the gas station and near an office of the Automóvil Club del Uruguay, which runs the museum. If there was a sign anywhere nearby for the museum, we didn’t see it.

The museum has a wide range of vintage cars, most fully restored. I estimate the total collection to number three to four dozen.

The friendly gentleman who hosted our November ’10 visit didn’t speak English but managed to cover the highlights and convey his enthusiasm for these old cars. He showed us the attached shops where the restoration takes place and allowed us to see cars in the process of being restored. I was even allowed to have my photograph taken while sitting in a Ferrari.

Some of the more unusual cars in the museum include a 1910 Hupmobile, a 1948 Riley, a 1935 Morris, a 1920 Stutz and a 1910 Panhard Levassor. A 1939 Cadillac, a 1930 Ford Model A and a 1923 Ford Model T are among the classic American autos displayed.

The museum is open 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 3-9 weekends. Admission is free, with donations appreciated. I consider this humble museum to be the highlight of our three-day November ’10 visit to Montevideo.

Charlotte, NC