Abarth Works Museum and VARO join forces!
To call Guy Moerenhout a car freak is an understatement. His whole life simply revolves around cars and racing. During his professional career, Guy was the owner of a garage and as a mechanic and tuner he prepared racing cars for various rally teams. He was also a meritorious rally pilot himself, a sport he still practices today as an active seventy-something. "In 1971, I started collecting Abarth cars," Guy explains. "Abarth, because I fell in love with the unique character of those cars. The first Abarths were built with the best parts from other brands, carefully selected by founder Carlo Abarth. Later, Abarth never opted for mass production. And the fact that the brand was founded in the year I was born, 1949, may have played some part in my fascination."
Guy's collection grew steadily, and thus the Abarth Works Museum was born. In the museum you will find unique Abarths, but also models from Fiat, Lada, Seat and other brands, which have a link with Carlo Abarth or Guy Moerenhout in one way or another. "Since 2007, the museum has been housed in buildings owned by Varo in Lier," explains Guy. "With their brands Powerplus and Kreator, they have always been loyal sponsors of rallying and thanks to their support, the museum has grown into the second largest tourist attraction in Lier. Every year we receive between 3,500 and 4,000 visitors. The unique thing about our concept is that we are a working museum. Our cars are not only on display, but we are also constantly restoring and maintaining models. Visitors can follow that process. Eighty per cent of our cars are still running and with some of the models we still take part in races for historic cars. Our cars are not shielded, visitors can literally feel them for a moment."
Because the collection is constantly growing and finding sufficient space is not easy, Jeroen Nys, Guy's Stepson and the owner of Varo (specialist and one of the world leaders in the import and export of do-it-yourself articles) and Guy Moerenhout decided to join forces commercially. "We have set up a company in which we have placed the entire collection," explains Jeroen Nys. "And with this company we are going to build a beautiful building especially for the museum. The building is designed to be perfect for showing the collection to the general public. But then there will also be workshops, where we - but also other car enthusiasts - can tinker with the cars, a library to house Guy's gigantic book collection on Abarth and other brands, and a shop, where visitors can buy unique memorabilia.
Another new feature is that car enthusiasts will be able to hire a classic car for a special occasion, a photo shoot/film shoot or even to take part in a historic rally. And finally, it will be possible to organise networking events and corporate events in the unique setting of the museum." Thanks to the investment, the Abarth Works Museum is heading towards a fantastic future. "With the new building, we are ready for the next fifty years," laughs Guy. "But most importantly, from September 2022, we will finally be able to display these beautiful cars in the way that does them full justice."
Source: https://www.voka.be/publicaties?customized=true®ion%5B%5D=390 by Kevin Hendrickx