Svedino’s Automobile and Aviation Museum

Svedino’s Automobile and Aviation Museum is located in Sweden and features one of Europe’s most extensive collections of vintage automobiles and aeroplanes. When it officially opened in 1961, it was the first automobile museum in Scandinavia. The museum contains 140 cars and thirty aeroplanes together with a variety of engines, household gadgets and miscellany. Yet the entire museum was largely the work of one man, Lennart Svedfelt. Svedfelt, in addition to being a car collector was also an actor whose stage name was Svedino, the origin of the name of the museum. Svedino supported the museum by playing roles of a ‘pickpocket’ and conjuror at circuses, on stage and on TV. He joked about his performances as a “pickpocket” saying “I began to “steal” my way toward getting my museum. Svedfelt, who was born in 1924, built model airplanes as a young boy in school and had an exhibition in the Stockholm Library when he was seventeen. He started his first business in October of 1942 manufacturing model airplanes kits that were sold throughout Sweden.In 1949, he bought a 1919 Model T Ford and soon after he began to appreciate the historical value of vintage automobiles. By 1953 he had collected five cars that were the subject of an article in the local newspaper. As a result of this article, people started contacting him telling him where he could find old cars and his collection increased. However, he now had a problem finding a place to store the vehicles. In 1957, he rented his collection that now amounted to twenty cars, to an open-air museum. Then film companies started to rent them. In 1958 he moved his collection to a circus tent.Finally in 1960, after exhibiting the cars at Expo North, Svedfelt acquired a plot of land in Halland country where he could now erect a building. The museum finally opened in 1961 on June 20th. At that time it received considerable interest from the local press as it was Scandinavia’s first automobile museum. Thirty-five cars were displayed in an area of 550 square meters. A Swedish 1905 Tidaholm was the oldest car in the collection. It had a chain-drive, wooden wheels with huge tires and could be driven at a top speed of 15 miles per hour. There was also a 1928 Volvo. The most luxurious car on display was a 1918 American Pierce-Arrow that, at the time it was built was the equivalent of an English Rolls-Royce.In 1964 Svedfelt was able to increase his display area from 550 square meters to 800 square meters. He now had fifty cars and added the first airplanes, a 1925 German Heinkel and a 1926 English De Havilland Moth.Then in 1970, the museum was again enlarged to 2000 square meters and the cars and airplanes that had been stored in barns due to lack of space could now be displayed. The collection now comprised ninety cars and fourteen airplanes together with old bicycles, motorcycles and some horse drawn carriages.Another extension of 1000 square meters was done in 1980 more displays were added. In 1986 the collection then included 140 cars, 31 airplanes plus motorcycles and carriages.

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