Abarth Works Museum plans to move by 2023: "Race car collection will be even better in new building".
The Abarth Works Museum in Lier - where more than three hundred antique racing cars are on display - has concrete plans for a new building. "The future building will be bigger, more modern and more multifunctional," say museum managers Guy Moerenhout and Jeroen Nys. In the meantime, the collection is housed in a pop-up a little further down the road.
Half a century ago, car enthusiast and rally driver Guy Moerenhout started collecting old racing cars with a link to legendary Italian car builder Carlo Abarth. In 2007, Moerenhout moved his now impressive fleet to the former premises of the Varo company in Lierse's Industriestraat. Another eight years later, the Abarth Works Museum officially opened its doors. The next important step is the construction of a brand-new exhibition space.
4 000 visitors
"In a normal year, we receive 3 500 to 4 000 interested people in our museum. These include people from all over the world," says founder Guy Moerenhout. "We have had visitors from countries such as Chile, Japan and Australia. In the future, we want to receive our guests in even better conditions. In the old building, we were faced with considerable renovation costs. We came to the conclusion that it would be more interesting to demolish the existing building and replace it with a new one."
Meanwhile, the plans for the future museum have been drawn up and the environmental permit application is out the door. Guy Moerenhout's stepson Jeroen Nys - the owner of Varo - is also involved in the project. "Together with my stepfather Guy, I have set up a company in which we have placed the entire collection," Jeroen Nys says. "It's not that I have a great passion for these cars myself, but I do want to help maintain and develop the museum."
The plan is to go from six thousand square metres of exhibition space to ten thousand square metres. "It is not the intention that the collection will expand seriously, but in a larger area it will be shown to its best advantage," explains Jeroen Nys. "The plans also include a larger workshop for maintaining the cars, eighty percent of which are still in perfect working order. Visitors will be able to look into the workspace through a glass wall. We also want to give the building a multifunctional use. We are planning an exclusive souvenir shop, a specialised library, a cafeteria and rooms for meetings or company receptions.
If all goes according to plan, the Abarth Works Museum will move into the new building in spring 2023. In anticipation, the museum moved a few weeks ago to the former Antilope De Bie printing works building (a little further down Industriestraat).