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Mal Lawal 3: The exhibition for classic car enthusiasts

7 January 2021

It is no secret that cars play a huge role in many people’s lives in Qatar. A ten-minute walk along West Bay’s Corniche, or a saunter around The Pearl on a Friday evening will also tell you that passion is not just reserved for your ‘everyday’ vehicles. In Qatar, when it comes to automobiles – there is a taste for the extravagant, the exclusive and in some cases, the exceedingly rare. And it’s that last category that the new exhibition –Mal Lawal 3 – celebrates.

Within Qatar there is a small group of collectors. Collectors that seek out vintage automobiles. This small but passionate community acquire old cars, considering them to be part of their cultural heritage. They seek to 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 Mal Lawal exists.

The exhibition is now considered one of the most comprehensive of its type within the Arab world. It is hosted in the National Museum of Qatar, where 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. Three of them will be displayed in the museum's Mawater Gallery, while the remaining 12 will occupy the museum's outer courtyard, known as Al Baraha.


©Letbelah. BMW 502 1955. Production: 1954-1966. Colour: White. Engine: 2.6ltr V8. Made in Germany.
©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 dating back to 1908. While 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.


©Letbelah Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III. Year: 1963. Colour: red and gold. Engine: 6.2ltr V8. Made in UK.
©Letbelah Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III. Year: 1963. Colour: red and gold. Engine: 6.2ltr V8. Made in UK.

Many of the cars at the Alfardan Museum have achieved international recognition. Some have won first places in international competitions such as the International Concours d'Elegance and Mile Miglia – and his 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 story, a history – all of which document for visitors to delve deeper into these remnants of the past. Add to that the fact that the cars showcased are presented within their original and authentic condition, untouched by modifications to their bodywork and colour. A true trip down memory lane awaits for those who visit – and a glimpse into another world.

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. For the second of its three phases, it will host a special virtual exhibition. The exhibition will provide an opportunity for collectors to send in their own pictures, with the eventual collection to be displayed to the public. It will also feature 26 Qatari collectors, in addition to private individuals who share pictures of their personal collections.

As for the third and final phase, a physical platform will be erected for the 26 Qatari collectors to showcase their collectables and artefacts at the National Museum of Qatar.

How to see Mal Lawal 3

Mal Lawal 3 runs until 1 August 2021. You can visit the classic cars exhibition in the outdoor courtyard at any time without prior reservation. However, if you would like to tour the museum and learn more about the other galleries, please make sure to reserve tickets before visiting.

During the first of its three phases, the exhibition will be presenting 15 cars, the oldest of which dates back to the 1950s. Mal Lawal 3 will be updated every two months, providing visitors with ‘new old’ cars throughout the year, until it closes in August 2021.

Find out more news and details related to Mal Lawal 3 by visiting this page.


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