A row of classic cars parked in bright daylight for the Mal Lawal exhibition
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Mal Lawal 3: Classic Cars

1 July 2021

By Loubna Zeidan

Mal Lawal 3 showcases the private collections of two esteemed Qatari car collectors: Mr Salem Saeed Al Mohannadi and Mr Omar Hussain Alfardan.

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Within Qatar there is a small group of collectors who seek out vintage automobiles, considering them to be part of their cultural heritage. They preserve them, pass them on to future generations and house them in their private museums. They also very kindly lend them to museums to provide visitors with a glorious gateway to the past. And it is because of that generosity that the exhibition Mal Lawal 3 exists.

Hosted by the National Museum of Qatar, the exhibition is now considered one of the most comprehensive of its type within the Arab world. In December 2020 it opened its third edition – showcasing some of the rarest, oldest and most sought-after cars ever put on public display in Qatar. 

The cars exhibited bear the brands of international companies such as Rolls-Royce, BMW, Jaguar, Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge, Toyota, GMC and many others, displayed in the museum's Mawater Gallery and in the museum's outer courtyard, known as Al Baraha.

A 1955 vintage BMW car parked in front of a pale-orange building with massive, detailed arches and a palm tree on the side

©Letbelah. BMW 502 1955. Production: 1954-1966. Colour: White. Engine: 2.6ltr V8. Made in Germany.

Mal Lawal's Stringent Selection Process

The cars exhibited in Mal Lawal 3 were selected from more than 150 classic vehicles, loaned to the museum by two prominent local collectors. Mr. Salem Saeed Al Mohannadi, Director of Mawater Center, has a private museum; the oldest of his cars dates back to 1908. Mr. Omar Hussain Alfardan, President and CEO of the Alfardan Group, is the other key contributor to Mal Lawal 3. He is donating vintage automobiles from the Alfardan Museum, where he keeps 130 classic and vintage cars.

A shot of 1963 vintage Rolls Royce with a bright red sheen and gold details around the bumper and roof

A 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III, loaned to Mal Lawal 3 by ©Letbelah, the private museum of Mr Omar Hussain Alfardan

Many of the cars at the Alfardan Museum have achieved international recognition. Some have won first place in international competitions such as the International Concours d'Elegance and Mile Miglia – and Mr. Alfardan's 1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50 HP is the oldest car in the exhibition.

As well as a nod to a bygone era of automobiles, the exhibition also seeks to embed a link to major historical figures such as sheikhs, rulers and other notable figures within the Arab world. Each car has a history, which is documented for visitors to delve deeper into these remnants of the past. On top of that, the cars are presented in their original and authentic condition, untouched by modifications to their bodywork and colour. A true trip down memory lane – and a glimpse into another world – awaits.

Art and Engineering in Unison

Mal Lawal 3 not only shares the passion of car enthusiasts but also seeks to go beyond; to narrate the passion of the collectors behind the cars. A special virtual exhibition features Qatari collectors and private individuals who have shared pictures of their personal collections.

Learn more about the exhibition

Loubna Zeidan is an Editorial Specialist at Qatar Museums.