Car museum opens in West Bay

The Cayman Motor Museum, the brain-child of racing enthusiast Andreas Ugland, Sr., rolls into action next weekend.

What’s believed to be the first
motorcar museum of its kind in the Caribbean is scheduled to open Saturday, 1
May, in West Bay.

The Cayman Motor
Museum is part trip
through automotive (and Caymanian) history and part opportunity for Andreas Ugland,
Sr. to show the world that power boat racing isn’t the only sport he has a keen
interest in.

The museum is located on North West Point Road
in West Bay – just past the Boatswain’s Beach
facility on the land side of the road.

The facility is one of several
attractions that have opened up in the immediate area, including Dolphin Discovery,
Boatswain’s, the Cracked Conch Restaurant and Macabuca Bar, as well as the
Turtle Reef dive shop. And just a bit further down the road is Lighthouse Point
dive operation.

Mr. Ugland said he is pleased that
his personal passion for classic cars is now included in the rest of the
attractions West Bay has to offer.

Car guys (and girls) will not be
disappointed.

We’ll give you a hint – there are
nearly a dozen Ferraris.

There are 55 classic cars and 18
motorbikes in total at the Cayman
Motor Museum.
It’s a collection a life-time in the making.  

“I started collecting cars when I
was 15 years old, I bought my first MGA and…restored it myself actually,” Mr.
Ugland says. “It’s not here because I gave it to my youngest son.”

The full collection of motor
vehicles, now on display in West Bay, was shipped in from several places including
Norway, England and Canada. Mr. Ugland at one time had an antique car museum
operating in Norway
with his brother. The building has since been purchased and he decided to move
the cars down to Cayman.

“Now I can see them at least, they
were tucked away here there and everywhere,” he says.

Mr. Ugland wants a lot of other
people to come share his hobby.

The motor museum allowed the
Caymanian Compass to visit for a sneak peak in early April, and things were
still being sorted out. Mr. Ugland said his collection should be polished and
ready now.

He also asks visitors to check out
the new gift shop in the front of the store – to be managed by Mrs. Ugland.

His intention is to charge $15 for
adult tickets and $7.50 for kids. The museum is basically a large open space
jam-packed with cars, but there are also mementos of boat racing on the walls
and some authentic pieces of Cayman’s history.

Those pieces include a miniature
catboat and photographs of old cars and streets in Cayman from the pre-1960’s
era. Mr. Ugland said he is interested in putting more photos and even art from
the period on display if anyone wishes to donate.  

As for the vehicles, Mr. Ugland has
written a description for every one that has been placed on a sign post in
front of them.

“There a story for each one,” he
said.

Visitors can look as long as they
wish, but no sitting behind the wheels of most of the cars because they are in
a tightly packed space.

It may be hard to resist
temptation; especially for the kids – being that there is an original Batmobile
used in the 1960s American television show starring Adam West. It’s a relatively
recent purchase for Mr. Ugland, who picked it up in the UK a few years
ago.

A 1929 yellow Rolls Royce, the very
same vehicle used in the 1960’s film The Yellow Rolls Royce, starting Ingrid
Bergman and Rex Harrison is also on display.

And there are 11 different Ferrari
models dating from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.  

A 1905 Cadillac sits in the
north-west corner of the museum a little apart from the rest of the cars. It’s
the same make and model as the very first car ever driven in the Cayman Islands.

“It was imported to Cayman from Cuba in 1914,
by Dr. Henderson,” Mr. Ugland says. “And I found exactly the same car in Canada. I
thought I wouldn’t ever find it but I kept looking.”

Another 1905 vehicle on display is
the classic Ford Model-T. Mr. Ugland reckons he can still get it to start.

“This has a one cylinder engine,”
Mr. Ugland said. “When you start it, with one cylinder it goes poof-poof-poof
and is all shaking; it’s terrible to drive as you can imagine.”

“But its good fun, you know?”
 

And that is what the museum is
about for Mr. Ugland, who is not looking to make a huge amount of money on the
attraction.

“I didn’t do an economic study or
anything before I opened it,” he joked.

This being the Caribbean,
there is always the threat of storms, but Mr. Ugland said the collection is as
well-protected as may be. The thick walls of the museum have no windows in the
section where the cars and motorcycles are being kept. The entire facility is
about 24 feet above sea level.

“If it floods that high, we’re all
in trouble,” he said.  

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An original Batmobile used in the 1960s Ameri-can television show starring Adam West.
Photo: Stephen Clarke
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