A Lebanese racer turns his hobby into a car museum - Xinhua

A Lebanese racer turns his hobby into a car museum – Xinhua

This photo taken on September 12, 2022 shows model cars on display at the Billy Karam Museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon.

Lebanese motor racing champion Nabil Karam started his hobby of collecting small sports cars 30 years ago. Today, the 65-year-old has collected about 50,000 car miniatures from all over the world. (Xinhua/Bilal Gawish)

Written by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — Lebanese auto racing champion Nabil Karam started his hobby of collecting small sports cars 30 years ago. Today, the 65-year-old has collected about 50,000 car miniatures from all over the world.

Nabil, better known by his nickname Billy, displays his collection at the Billy Karam Museum for Small Cars in Lebanon, which has become a destination for tourists after entering the Guinness Book of Records three times, most recently in 2016.

Furthermore, his largest stamp collection featuring cars and largest collection of dioramas earned him three more Guinness World Records records in 2011, 2016 and 2018.

On Monday, the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism announced the inclusion of the museum as an important landmark on the country’s tourism and sports map.

“It all started as a hobby,” Billy told Xinhua. At first, he collected small cars and models inside his house, but since the place could not accommodate more cars, he decided to allocate a room in his woodworking workshop for cars, which expanded Gradually to a museum.

Spread over 1,500 square meters on two floors, the museum displays thousands of small and classic sports cars, and civilian and military models.

“Besides, I also have a collection of more than 700 diorama models that I made myself,” he added.

Moreover, the museum also hosts Red Bull’s Formula One car and took the world champion title four years ago while driving for German racer Sebastian Vettel and Spanish racer Carlos Seinz.

Billy has turned his passion for cars into a successful racing career by winning the Lebanese championship eight times in a row in rally and sprint.

“I’ve been in every race I’ve heard of, which has left me with multiple fractures,” he added.

Bailey’s previous injuries encouraged him to use the museum as a message to young people that it is important to respect road safety rules and take measures to reduce car accidents in Lebanon.

“I receive visitors from schools and universities, and we discuss road safety measures and the importance of using seat belts,” said Bailey, who is also vice president of the Automobile and Touring Club of Lebanon (ATCL).

Bailey says he aims to continue collecting cars for the rest of his life, with the hope that his museum will continue to attract tourists from all over the world.

“It’s like a ‘virus’ that never stops. Every time I see a nice car, I want to have it, and I’m going all over the world to buy these little treasures,” he said.

Bailey explains that his plan to preserve the museum stems solely from his passion for cars with no aim of making any profits.

“Entry to my museum is free, and it is important to encourage tourism in Lebanon because it is the country’s main source of income,” he said.

Lebanon’s Tourism Minister Walid Nassar announced earlier this year that the Lebanese tourism sector has generated revenues of about 4.5 billion US dollars this summer by receiving more than 1.5 million tourists.

Nabil Karam looks at his collections at the Billy Karam Museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon, September 12, 2022.

Lebanese motor racing champion Nabil Karam started his hobby of collecting small sports cars 30 years ago. Today, the 65-year-old has collected about 50,000 car miniatures from all over the world. (Xinhua/Bilal Gawish)

Nabil Karam poses for photos with the trophies he won in motor racing at the Billy Karam Museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon, September 12, 2022.

Lebanese motor racing champion Nabil Karam started his hobby of collecting small sports cars 30 years ago. Today, the 65-year-old has collected about 50,000 car miniatures from all over the world. (Xinhua/Bilal Gawish)

This photo taken on September 12, 2022 shows model cars on display at the Billy Karam Museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon.

Lebanese motor racing champion Nabil Karam started his hobby of collecting small sports cars 30 years ago. Today, the 65-year-old has collected about 50,000 car miniatures from all over the world. (Xinhua/Bilal Gawish)

This photo taken on September 12, 2022 shows model cars on display at the Billy Karam Museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon.

Lebanese motor racing champion Nabil Karam started his hobby of collecting small sports cars 30 years ago. Today, the 65-year-old has collected about 50,000 car miniatures from all over the world. (Xinhua/Bilal Gawish)

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