Tbilisi Automuseum

Address: 7, Auto Museum Str., Isani-Samgori district, lane # 79a gr. From Lortkipanidze (former Cairo) str., Tbilisi
Phone: (+995 59) 954-56-28
Working hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 11:00 a.m. till 06:00 p.m.
Closed: on Monday

Tbilisi Automuseum is nothing short of paradise for car enthusiasts, yet it remains well off the radar of most tourists to Georgia. Fittingly located on 79 Auto Museum Street, this underrated discovery is just a 5-minute drive from the landmark East Point Shopping Mall.

Tbilisi Automuseum has one of the most astonishing collections of vintage cars in the region, ranging from the small, colorful Zaporozhets to the chunky Zil. Most of the cars and motorcycles featured were produced in the USSR and belonged to influential people, including a 1978 Gaz-14 Chaika which belonged to Georgia’s second president Eduard Shevardnadze (1995-2003) and the Patriarch of All Georgia’s 1977 Gaz-13 Chaika. Many other automobiles on display were owned by high-ranking Soviet officials, and if these cars could talk they would doubtless have many stories to tell!

For some, visiting Tbilisi Auto Museum will revive old memories, while for others the elite vehicles serve as a time machine to transport you back into Soviet Georgia. The fun does not have to stop when you finish the tour, however, for the museum even offers guests the rare opportunity to rent one of the posh vintage cars and drive it through the streets of Tbilisi.

History and Founder

Tbilisi Automuseum is relatively new, having opened its doors to visitors on October 25, 2014, during the annual Tbilisoba city festival. It was founded and is still owned by Georgian businessman Giorgi Mamulashvili, who began amassing his unusual collections more than 25 years ago with the purchase of a bright green Moskvich 403.

Initially, only 25 cars were on display, yet since its grand opening the number of exhibits has multiplied. All of the vehicles have been restored with factory parts so as to retain their original appearance. Mamulashvili has accrued a vast amount of knowledge on vintage cars and motorbikes during his quarter century of collecting and repairing them, and he is more than willing to share his insights with curious visitors.

Special Exhibits

The two exhibition halls of Tbilisi Auto Museum include up to fifty cars and ten motorcycles, a highly unusual collection which looks as though somebody nabbed all of the signature Soviet-era vehicles they could find and assembled them together for you to enjoy.

The first exhibit that will capture your attention is the Pobeda-phaeton, produced in 1947 in the city of Bronnitsy (now in Russia). When the car proved unsuitable for the harsh Russian climate, its production was quickly halted. The Pobeda-phaeton remains the most popular exhibit of the museum, as visitors are allowed to sit inside and take pictures.

How about KGB on wheels?! In the museum, you will see a black GAZ-M1, a make and model which was widely used by the KGB in the 1930s. This particular car served Lavrentiy Beria, Marshal of the Soviet Union.

The 1928 Ford Model A has a special place in the museum, for it was the first Ford to use a standard set of driver controls with a conventional clutch, brake pedals, throttle and gearshift. Although not a Soviet car, it still has a fascinating background. Giorgi Mamulashvili bought it for the museum at an American auction, and when the car arrived in Georgia with its documents, he discovered that it was shot in the popular 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. Interestingly, Ford Model A and Ford Model B were used as prototypes to create the GAZ A and GAZ-M1.

Other widely-used USSR car models on display in Tbilisi Auto Museum include Zaporozhets ZAZ-966, Moskvitch 403, Lada 1200 and Lada 1500. In 2017, two extremely special cars were added to the collection: GAZ-M1, also known as Emka, and a GAZ-4 pickup truck. Both cars are one of only five such vehicles remaining in the world today, so do not miss the chance to check them out for yourself!

While touring the museum, do not forget to check out the motorcycle collection, which includes a Ural-2 M-63 motorcycle, Dnepr K-750 and a Dnepr MV-750 with updated brakes, suspension and electrical system.

Visiting Tbilisi Automuseum can also be a fun family activity, as kids will enjoy seeing all of the shiny, colorful cars. Take your time to enjoy this place, as it is a rare find that is well worth your time.