Car history, Shanghai Auto Museum

The Car history Museum is located on the first floor of the Shanghai Automobile Museum. The history pavilion is based on the development of the history of the car for centuries. It integrates all important stages of the car development process into preface, exploration and birth, practical and mass production, streamline and speed, diversity and excitement. Eight theme exhibition halls, sports and driving, energy saving and electronics, and China’s automobile industry, showcase the history of world automobile development through the selection of more than 20 classic representative vehicles and important events, reflecting the significant impact of automobiles on the development of human society.

Nearly 30 classic cars are on display in the History Museum, accompanied by a presentation of landmark events, showing the history of world car development, divided into a common sequence, exploration and birth, practical and mass production, diversity and excitement, streamlines and speed Sports, driving, energy and electronics, China’s auto industry, a total of eight exhibition halls. Some exhibits are reproductions.

In each exhibition hall, the invention of the internal combustion engine, the scene of the early hand workshop to manufacture the car and the production method of the assembly line were displayed, and introduced according to the theme of the art design, speed and energy saving of the car. In the exhibition hall of the Chinese automobile industry, the Chinese car was displayed. The history of the industry and the representative models of each period.

Mercedes-Benz No. 1 is the world’s first internal combustion engine car

The Ford Model T is the first car to be produced using an assembly line.

The CA72 launched in 1959 is the first car of the red flag.

The 100-kilometer test of the fuel consumption of less than 3 liters is a well-known fuel-efficient car.

Testa Rosa is Ferrari’s first mass-produced model

Driving fashion

As one of the most important mechanical inventions in the past one hundred years, automobile profoundly transformed the human society. Driving culture and fashion has been affecting women’s dress, social activity and lifestyle. Ladies enjoyed the speed and passion that car brings, and as time goes by, the two influence and change to each other.

Since 1886, when Karl Benz applied for a patent for the tricycle motor vehicle, various prototypes of automobiles had emerged.

In the 1920s, horse carriages were still popular in the upper class, however automobile was a pastime just for a few adventurers. But as time went on, men finally accepted cars and gradually became fascinated by the joy of driving, while women also realized the excitement of riding in a car.

Looking at the Vogue magazine back that time, you will find as if the automobiles had already become the most advanced high-tech product at that time, showing the most avant-garde lifestyle together with fashionable women.

Accordingly, women’s clothes were becoming simpler and more comfortable because of the wide use of automobiles. Coats designed for women driving or riding cars had emerged as the times required: single-row buckles, loose pattern, matched with shoes of flat soles or medium heels. For the first time, women wore clothes evolved from men’s clothes, which also meant the birth of modern fashion. The knee-length skirt and loose suit designed by Coco Chanel became the most fashionable dress of the time. Unfettered, self-reliant new women became undoubtedly pioneers in the era of war and economic depression.

Gorgeous Return

After the fierce war, cars began to re-enter people’s lives as the main means of transportation. Jeeps and SUVs have become a scene in the backyards of Americans’ home, and driving them for long distances was considered very stylish. The prosperity of the economy, especially the vigorous development of the American market, had also led to the production of more elegant and fashionable appearances of family cars.

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Not only was the appearance of cars becoming more streamlined, but women’s fashion was also gradually restoring its pre-war luxury and elegance. Women’s dresses began to show more exquisite curves. Women’s skirts were no longer as bulky as they were before the war, although they once again have an “A” outline. The wide use of elastic fabrics made these skirts more suitable for cars.

In 1953, when Audrey Hepburn was filming “Sabrina” in the New York City, the photo of her leaned against the car window had became one of the most beautiful moments in her acting career. In addition to Hepburn, wearing a head scarf, sitting in a convertible car and galloping with a loved man on the way to the countryside, also became a common part of many romantic comedy movies at that time.

The change that cars bring to women is not only the change of fashion trend, but also the change of social status and role. Women who can drive are no longer passively waiting for others to drive for them, but can go out of their homes and participate in a wider range of work at will. Driving not only enables women to control their lives more autonomously, but also brings many new and fresh ways of life.

Since the 1960s, automobile design had begun to develop in two directions: the concept of future science and technology and daily practical life. For the young people at that time, automobiles were synonymous with freedom and rebellion. Punks pulled up their beloved girls and drove far away in shabby cars in search of Utopia existing in their hearts.

In these 20 years, women’s fashion had also undergone tremendous changes, avant-garde and futuristic design had become a new trend. Mary Quant’s miniskirt, Vidal Sassoon’s Bob Haircut, and Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking became the symbol of that era. With the rapid development of the automobile industry, people’s demand for cars was no longer just a common tool, but a pursuit of speed and passion. The jumpsuit originated from the air force flying suit became the outfit of female racing drivers, and gradually entered the fashion sector. The khakis, straight lines, sports and comfortable clothes allowed women to be as easygoing and energetic as men.

By the 1980s, independent modern women began to pursue freedom, success and quality of life like men, and enjoy driving. The changes in car appearance, interior and safety had attracted more and more women, especially young people, to learn to drive. Women’s social lives had evolved from monotonous tea parties to self-driving tours. Women who were independent, confident and challenge-loving really appreciated the joy of “living elsewhere”. Cars opened a door for women, which took them into the wider world and helped them become the masters of themselves. Driving also trained women’s thinking and made women calm and logical.

Although there are many jokes about women drivers, women drivers who are skilled and steady in driving are more attractive in the eyes of both men and women. Women that drive, understand and love cars will have more common topics with men, and men will be more impressed by their rider friends who are in short skirts. In fact, cars are also being changed because of these. In the eyes of fashion, car is no longer a metal machine for transportation, but a symbol of personal taste and style.

Shanghai Auto Museum, China
The Shanghai Auto Museum is an automobile museum located in Anting, Jiading District, Shanghai, China. It was designed by the Architectural Design & Research Institute of Tongji University and IFB from Germany.

The museum is China’s first dedicated auto museum and opened to the public on January 17, 2007. It features a display of about 70 classic automobiles and automobile history and development. It is divided into three pavilions: History Pavilion, Antique Car Pavilion, and Exploration Pavilion. The History Pavilion houses 27 cars representing milestones in automotive development. The Antique Car Pavilion contains 40 cars from 20 different manufacturers dating between 1900 and 1970. The museum houses Chinese and foreign car models including Fords, Fiat 500, Austin 7, Rover P5, Jaguar E-Type and a GM EV1. The museum is located in the Auto Expo Park of Shanghai International Automobile City.

“Communication and integration of space, visual penetration and communication” is the essence of Shanghai Automotive Museum architecture and a challenge to traditional automobile museums. The internal flow and the shared space between the top and bottom of the museum enable the maximum visual communication of the viewer space inside the museum. Terraces and roof decks at different levels allow visitors to gain access to the most natural spaces. The building’s façade uses a large area of transparent glass, allowing visitors to enjoy the natural landscape of the surrounding parks to the fullest extent. At the same time, a large number of flowing curves are used in the architectural form, which symbolizes the trajectory of the car under high-speed conditions, and has a strong sense of modernity, reflecting the sports theme of the automobile museum;


The Shanghai Automobile Museum system has combed the development history of the world’s automobiles and established its own research institute. Its display content has formed a complete main line centered on automobile history, automobile humanities and automobile technology in the field of automobile science education. And car enthusiasts provide a great place to learn about car history, explore car technology, and interpret car humanities.

The comprehensive brand display has made the Shanghai Automobile Museum the best platform for cultural exchanges among major automobile brands. The collection of many international and domestic automobile brands has also made the Shanghai Automobile Museum a fashion place to experience automobile culture and experience automobile art. A wider range of car enthusiasts provide a platform for communication, gatherings and entertainment.

Visitors can play in the Auto Expo Park located in the Shanghai Automobile Museum. Shanghai Auto Expo Park is a comprehensive park with the theme of car entertainment, car exhibition and car culture. The park creatively integrates the elements of the car into the landscape elements of the park, forming different thematic areas.

The Shanghai Automobile Museum has built a variety of conference facilities for large, medium and small, to meet the leisure and meeting needs of enterprises and institutions. At the same time, the car theme leisure bar in the museum, the roof garden, the car library and other areas allow visitors to enjoy the car culture while relaxing. The museum also provides visitors with car souvenirs, car models, car books, car art and so on that can meet the needs of different levels of tourists.