Emirates National Auto Museum

Museum in Al Dhafra

Like a kooky mirage, a pyramid-shaped structure rises from the desert sands some 45km south of Abu Dhabi on the lonely highway that leads to the Liwa Oasis. It holds the private car collection of Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, aka the 'Rainbow Sheikh': some 200 vehicles – from prototypes to concept cars to American classics – the oldest being a steam-powered 1885 Mercedes.

The newest addition is a wall of glass-encased SUVs outside the facility, though all was under renovation last time we passed. In 1983 Sheikh Hamad bought seven Mercedes 500 SELs, painted in the colours of the rainbow for each day of the week. The car park is the resting place of several iconic vehicles, including the sheikh's monster truck, an eight-bedroom motorhome complete with balcony, and the Globe Trailer dubbed the 'earth on wheels'.

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