Model cars are displayed at the Billy Karam museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon, Sept. 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

Nabil Karam, a former Lebanese racing car champion, started his hobby of collecting mini sports cars 30 years ago and has collected around 50,000 miniature cars from around the world, which are on display at the Billy Karam Museum , a destination that entered the Guinness Book of Records. thrice.

by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — Lebanese racing car champion Nabil Karam started his passion of collecting mini sports cars 30 years ago. Today, the 65-year-old has collected around 50,000 model cars from around the world.

Nabil, better known by his nickname Billy, presents his collection at the Billy Karam Museum of mini-cars in Lebanon, which has become a tourist destination after entering the Guinness Book of World Records three times, the last in 2016.

Nabil Karam shows the trophies he won in car races at the Billy Karam museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon, Sept. 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

Additionally, his largest collection of automobile stamps and largest collection of dioramas earned him three more Guinness World Records in 2011, 2016, and 2018.

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

“It all started as a hobby,” Billy told Xinhua. First, he collected mini cars and model cars inside his house, but since the place couldn’t accommodate any more cars, he decided to allocate a room in his carpentry workshop for them. cars, which has gradually turned into a museum.

Helmets are displayed at the Billy Karam museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon, Sept. 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

Covering 1,500 square meters over two floors, the museum displays thousands of mini sports and collector cars, as well as civilian and military models.

“Additionally, I also have a collection of over 700 Diorama models that I made myself,” he added.

In addition, the museum also houses the Formula 1 car, which belongs to the Red Bull team and won the world championship title four years ago while driven by German driver Sabastian Vettel and driver Spanish Carlos Seinz.

Model cars are displayed at the Billy Karam museum in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon, Sept. 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

Billy turned his passion for cars into a successful racing career by winning the Lebanese Championship eight times in a row in rallies and speed races.

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

Billy’s past injuries encouraged him to use the museum as a message to young people that it is important to follow road safety rules and take steps to reduce car accidents in Lebanon.

“I have visitors from schools and universities, and we discuss road safety measures and the importance of using seat belts,” said Billy, who is also Vice President of Automotive and Touring Club of Lebanon (ATCL).

Billy says he aims to continue collecting cars for the rest of his life, hoping his museum will continue to attract tourists from around the world.

“It’s like a ‘virus’ that never stops. Every time I see a nice car, I want to have it, and I would go anywhere in the world to buy these little treasures,” he said. he declares.

Billy explains that his plan to keep the museum stems solely from his passion for non-profit cars.

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

Lebanese Tourism Minister Walid Nassar announced earlier this year that Lebanon’s tourism sector generated around $4.5 billion in revenue this summer by hosting more than 1.5 million tourists.