Guy who ‘discovered’ abandoned Mercedes gullwing aims to open UAE car museum


Miguel Llorente in the abandoned Mercedes 300SL Gullwing in Cuba

Miguel Llorente in the abandoned Mercedes 300SL Gullwing in Cuba

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One of the most car-obsessed countries in the world may soon have a new—and rather intriguing—showcase for the automobile if Miguel Llorente gets his way. 

Llorente, who is perhaps best known for meticulously tracking down and discovering a Mercedes-Benz 300SL hiding under a banana tree in Cuba, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to build a car museum in the United Arab Emirates that would be the "Louvre of the Automobile." 

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By that, Llorente says that he intends for the museum to blend both automobiles and a healthy dose of automotive culture in an effort to properly immerse visitors in the world of cars. By contrast, the country's two main automotive museums are more showcases of fancy cars that don't give a lot of context.

The best known is the collection of the so-called "Rainbow Sheikh," an eclectic member of the royal family who houses an array of cars like brightly colored Mercedes-Benzes and a mass quantity of Toyota Land Cruisers in an oversize warehouse in the desert. 

Llorente is the former curator of the classic car museum in Al Ain, a popular tourist city about an hour's drive from both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 

For now, Llorente's Kickstarter is focused on raising money for a 10,000- to 15,000-mile road trip across the United States, where he plans to visit 80 museums. He hopes that experience will make him one of the foremost automotive museum experts.

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