There are many more important museums in Belgrade, but I go where I am welcome, and I am welcome where there are no steps, floors that my wheelchair cannot fly over …
Now, don’t let it be said that I went to a crappy place. Precisely the fact that I didn’t have much choice allowed me to find a real gem in the street Majke Jevrosime No. 30. There lies a well-hidden Car Museum that showed me that Belgrade was also sacred.
A real treasure is housed in a public garage in the city center. We went inside as if we had been invited to some secret party. A small discreet sign that you see only if you tilt your head well tells you that you are in the right place.
Inside you first have to get used to the darkness, and when you pay the ticket, the road takes you to the garage.
There is one stair, but only one, and that is nothing for us addicts of “adrenaline” and “Voila”, you are inside.
Slick, polished, I don’t know what description I would use to portray the ‘pets’ of Bratislav Petković, who carefully collected, serviced and brought these specimens to perfection.
They look like they just got of the car track. I better not know what condition they were in before. It would break the spell.
Although these ‘beauties’ now earn their living as actors, they used to be the pride of their owners. How could they not?
Let me tell you the story of the first car in Belgrade. In 1903, a prominent Belgrade merchant and banker Boža Radulović decided to import the first car to Serbia.
At the time, it was common practice for a manufacturer to send its driver along with a car tasked with training a future driver to drive a vehicle within 45 days. That is why the future owner turned to Sreten Kočić, who was engaged in a very sensitive craft and was therefore recognized as a man with calm hands who was sent for training and thus the first driver in Serbia was born.
You can also see his documents in a nearby display case.
When the car arrived, the German driver was the one who made the first car ride around Serbia while the people watched amazed.
Three years later, the proud owner of the first car in Serbia went bankrupt but opened the door for others to wish to have their own . It cannot be said that Serbia was an automobile force at that time, but even the few cars that were left were requisitioned by the army, so nothing was left for a car show.
The first driver of Serbia, Sreta Kostić, changed bosses, so from 1911 to 1915 he was the personal driver of King Petar I Karađorđević, and the car that went down in history went from owner to owner and was last seen in Skopje, where every trace is lost. Queen Marija Karadjordjević was also a passionate driver.
I walk on and admire. There is something from our times as well. Anyone who has watched ‘Only fools and horses’ will immediately recognize Del boy’s three-wheeler with leopard seats.
I didn’t manage to find out how he got here, and that may be the only thing I would complain about, that every car has its own story to tell.
Maybe I’ll find out later when the museum moves to a better place, as the kind owner told us, who, when we left, opened the main door for me, which opens only for his pets. I felt like a VIP person.
There are also the inevitable Tito’s Mercedes, one of which was made in a series of only 55 copies.
Of course, the “greatest son of our people” owned it. He used to trade them for Cadillacs.
There is also an old gas station from 1938 made for the car exhibition at the Belgrade fair.
Nothing special today, but if you know that in those days, gasoline was bought in pharmacies in small bottles and was extremely expensive, then every gas station gains in importance.
The cars were assembled on the conveyor belt for the first time, which made it possible to produce one vehicle every 40 seconds.
In the mid-1920s, the car became a mass phenomenon in America, so that 80% of all cars in the world cruised in the United States alone. And almost one in five Americans owned a car.
It should also be known that the seat of the Museum is in a building that represents a characteristic monument of technical culture of the time in which it was created. Named Modern Garage, it was built in 1929 as the first public garage in the city center, according to the plans of the Russian architect Valery Stashevsky. It also housed the cars of the participants in the first Belgrade International Automobile and Motorcycle Race, held on September 3, 1939.
So let’s see what else is there:
“Buick Opera Coupe” from 1928. Only 11 of these specimens were exported from the United States and only 2 reached Europe. One Buick is in Sweden and the other is in our Belgrade, in front of you.
It cost like a villa in the most expensive part of town.
The first sports cars to be shown were imported by diplomats who served in our city, such as the “Jaguar 340”, the first four-door sports model or the first Porsche 356.
We also have a “Ford T” model from 1925, which was the first in the world to be serially produced.
Then “Lancia” from 1929, it was already 20 years ahead of its time. The first had a built-in camshaft as well as all-wheel braking. In fact, it braked so fast that it needed to put some kind of warning for other drivers.
Formula DMB, Yugoslavia, 1969 powered by Fica’s engine, made of aluminum and weighed only 380 kg, with a maximum speed of 160 km per hour. A copy of the Serbian Formula 1, which failed famously because the quality of the Serbian roads at the time did not allow racing, while the speed of these vehicles was high for the city streets.
What happened next?
I’m not a fan of cars, but even a layman like me can say that these examples are exceptional.
I drive in a 20-year-old van and my wheelchair is already entering “puberty”. Since we have already determined that I am “attached” to things, it may be that I am also a collector.
Maybe I’ll open a museum of devices close to me. Would you come to visit?
Have you been to the Belgrade car museum?
Did I miss anything?
Traveled and enjoyed,