American Muscle Cars in Qatar, sponsored by Mawater, is on view at the NMoQ’s Mawater Gallery until 15 February 2022, as part of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.


The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) has unveiled American Muscle Cars in Qatar, an exhibition charting the increase in the supply of American automobiles to  Qatar during the 1960s and 1970s. American Muscle Cars in Qatar, sponsored by Mawater, is on view at the NMoQ’s Mawater Gallery until 15 February 2022, as part of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture. The gallery, previously called the Vintage Car Gallery, was renamed following Mawater’s sponsorship.

The exhibition opening was attended by HE Salah bin Ghanem al-Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports; Ahmad Musa al-Namla, CEO of Qatar Museums; Natalie A Baker, Deputy Chief of the US Mission to Qatar; Dominic Genetti, President and General Manager of ExxonMobil Qatar; and Salem Saeed al-Mohannadi, President of the Sealine Sports Club – Mawater.

Ahmad Musa al-Namla, CEO of Qatar Museums, said, “The exhibition provides a nostalgic showcase of Qatar’s fascination with American muscle cars, in the 1960s and 1970s, which was, at the time, a reflection of changing cultural needs and aspirations of the country and its people. We are honoured to be able to host this exhibition as part of the Qatar-United States 2021 – an initiative promoting cross-cultural collaboration and celebrating the longstanding ties between both nations.”

Salem Saeed al-Mohannadi, President of the Sealine Sports Club – Mawater, said, “We are pleased to organise the exhibition at the National Museum of Qatar, especially in the Mawater Gallery, hosting the first exhibition after changing its name from the Vintage Car Gallery. We have been keen to devise an organised agenda for exhibitions that add value to Qatar’s youth and its cultural and historical scenes. Held within the framework of the Qatar-USA Year of Culture 2021, we are also proud that the exhibition exclusively features American cars.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the ‘American Cars in Qatar’ exhibition and was fascinated to learn how American cars played a role in Qatari culture in the 1960s and 70s. I was also pleased with the opportunity to drive into the exhibition in my I965 Ford Mustang Convertible, which holds a lot of meaning for me,” said Dominic Genetti, President and General Manager of ExxonMobil Qatar, who was invited as a VIP guest as part of ExxonMobil Qatar’s sponsorship of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.

“The first car my father bought was a 1965 Ford Mustang when he graduated from university that same year. Shortly before I was born in 1972, my parents were involved in an accident in the car and decided it wasn’t worth fixing and sold it. My father regretted the decision and often spoke about his Mustang experience, so in 2015, I decided to buy one that had the same engine and color and began to restore it to its original condition. Today, the Mustang is a special reminder to me of my father, and now my sons enjoy it with me,” he added.

American muscle cars – a fast, mid-sized vehicle with a large V8 engine, extended hoods, low-profile cabin, and lots of horsepower – on view include the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Special Edition 305 Turbo 1981, the Oldsmobile 4-4-2 and the Chevrolet Corvette 1972. The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Special Edition 305 Turbo 1981 is a classic American sports car launched as a high-performance rival to the Mustang. The Firebird gained popularity among Qataris after it appeared in the movie Smokey and the Bandit (1977), sparking sales to skyrocket locally. The car on display features the iconic ’Screaming Chicken’ hood decal, the largest and most recognizable graphic in automotive history. Locally, the “Screaming Chicken” was called a falcon, reflecting the importance of falcons in Qatar.

The Oldsmobile 4-4-2, initially produced in 1964 through to 1967, was purely a performance package that could be added to the F-85 or Cutlass midsized Oldsmobile lines. With the muscle car era at its peak in 1968, the Oldsmobile 4-4-2 was sometimes overlooked simply because there were few on the road in comparison to some of the more popular muscle cars of the time. Regardless, the car was commonly believed to offer the best balance of drive and performance of any muscle car.

The Chevrolet Corvette 1972, widely known for its performance, distinctive fibreglass bodywork, and powerful engine, has gone through eight generations of models, designated C1 through C8 since its first launch in 1953. A genius promotional campaign popularised the Corvette on a national level – and many Qataris studying in the United States became equally fascinated with the car.

Earlier this year, NMoQ presented ‘Mal Lawal 3 Cars’, the classic car edition of the Mal Lawal 3 exhibition. Mal Lawal is a unique platform that celebrates the art of collecting and brings together private collectors from Qatar to showcase their collectibles. The car edition of the exhibition featured a selection of cars from the private collections of Salem Saeed al-Mohannadi and Omar Hussain Alfardan.

For more information about American Muscle Cars in Qatar, please visit https://qm.org.qa/en/calendar/american-muscle-cars-qatar/