The museum houses the car collection of the late King Hussein (yesterday was the 14th anniversary of his death) and was built by his son, King Abdullah II as a memorial to his father's life with vehicles. King Hussein was a car guy in the Jay Leno tradition. He amassed a truly massive and eclectic collection of cars, motorcycles, bikes and memorabilia over a lifetime. He was a racer when time permitted, though, being king, that was tempered somewhat by his responsibilities.
I think you could break his collection into two basic groups. Cars that got used in his position as head of state and cars that he enjoyed personally. To say that he enjoyed cars personally is quite an understatement.
Among his cars of state was a group that I'd classify broadly as 'sleds'; big, mostly American iron. Take a look and you'll see what I mean.
Of course, he had Caddilacs as well. This one is a beauty.
King Hussein had another car in his collection that can only be described as the ultimate German sled. Mercedes custom built these 600 series limousines for heads of state for the most part. Idi Amin, Mao Tse-Tung, and many others had their own and they were all one of a kind. I was fascinated by the diamond plate running boards/fender skirts on Hussein's
Now for the personal side of his collection.
My favorite car in the whole exhibit is this next one. It is a 1936 Cord 810 Westchester coupe. Cord was an American manufacturer that built some of the most technologically advanced cars of its day. This one featured front wheel drive, retractable headlights, and an electrically pre-selected four speed transmission. It is also drop dead gorgeous in my humble opinion. In my younger days I built a plastic model of a Cord 812 and I've never forgotten how much I liked it. I was amazed that almost 50 years later I got to see a Cord in the flesh. First time!
You may have noticed in previous photographs that the walls of the museum are loaded with period photos of the cars in their element. The one on the right taken in a courtyard with a horse just behind it is pretty cool and shows the lines of the car well.
King Hussein loved British cars and had many in his collection. He had several Aston Martins including a 1952 (the year I was born!) DB2
And a particularly brutish looking 1985 DBS V8
He had several older British sports cars. I think this one is a Singer, but don't have any details. I just know I liked the look of it and its two-tone paint job.
He, of course, had Jags and this XK-140 was particularly nice.
The late king also had a number of modern exotic cars. Let's take a look.
The king's collection afforded me the opportunity to see some cars in the sheetmetal that I had only ever seen in photographs in magazines or videos on websites. This is one of them, the technological tour-de-force that was the Porsche 959. I really like it in the dark green with the tan interior.
Sometimes the details on the cars are as interesting as the whole car is. I was amazed at the center-lock hubs on the Carrera GT.
Now, I had seen examples of these next two cars before. I saw an F50 at Park Place Motors in Bellevue and an F40 on the street in New Orleans!, but these exotic stallions from Maranello are a visual treat any time.
The entire body of the F50 is done in carbon fiber, but the finish looks like liquid.
Notice the family resemblance?
The king was a racer, so he had a fire suit and helmet. The helmet had the symbol for the Hashemite Kingdom front and center, just in case the visor was down and you didn't know who was in there!
King Hussein loved rally racing. Here are a couple shots of two of his rally cars. The first is the engine bay of a Renault R8 'Gordini" A small four banger, but with those dual Webers and headers I bet this baby just screamed!
Another rally car, a Mercedes 190 E 2.3 -16, the Benz answer to the E30 M3.
Some of the details on the cars were just exquisite. I love this hood ornament.
The King had a huge collection of motorcycles which he loved to ride around Jordan. He seemed to be a particular fan of large American V-twins, but he had an amazing variety of bikes. I didn't concentrate on the bikes, but did take some shots to give an idea of the variety.
He loved Milwaukee's Finest in many varieties.
He had a couple of unusual bikes in the collection as well. Bet you've never seen this particular BSA before. It is a folding bicycle made by Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) as a military application. It was meant to be used by paratroops as ground transport after they parachuted in. They'd strap it to their back and then jump out of the plane.
Outside the musuem there was a truck that had been painted in the Pakistani fashion on display. It was just too funky to resist a couple of pictures.
If it isn't glass or chrome, it got painted!
What a fabulous collection. I really enjoyed my visit.