Galeria Sri Perdana located in Kuala Lumpur is a museum which was once the residence of Tun Dr. Mahathir and his family when he was the 4th Malaysian Prime Minister.
It is one of the popular tourist locations for outsiders as well as Malaysians. After retiring in 2003, Tun had moved to his home in Putrajaya, and made the home provided by the government into a museum.
If evaluated based on his status, his car collection is quite simple but interesting.
Based on previous interviews, Tun Dr. Mahathir’s first car is the Fiat 500. This used car was purchased by Tun with the money he made through writing while he was still a medical student in Singapore.
The car has an engine on the back and a soft canvas over the roof. But according to Tun, the Fiat car wasn’t in the best condition at the time and he was forced to hold the canvas cover over every drive from Singapore to his hometown in Alor Setar.
Then, Tun bought a convertible car that was issued by a British car manufacturer Standard Motor Company.
However, Tun did not reveal the model of the car, but according to sources, Standard Motor Company did not issue any convertible cars and the only convertible car was a re-launch model released by Triumph after they acquired the company.
Most likely the model owned by Tun is the Standard-Triumph Herald.
Who would have thought a young doctor who then challenged western power and raised his country status, once strolled around Alor Setar in a sporty car?
And on September 1, 1985, Tun Mahathir had bought a metallic blue Proton Saga car with a Proton 1001 registration number.
The car given to his wife Tun Siti Hasmah was purchased using his own money, and with this, Tun Mahathir became the first buyer of the first national car in Malaysia.
There is a small collection of Tun Mahathir’s cars parked in the backyard of Galeria Sri Perdana. Some of them are his own and while others are gifts by car manufacturers.
This first generation Proton Perdana V6 Executive car has a Proton 2020 registration number being used by Tun Mahathir as the official car when he became Malaysia’s 4th prime minister.
It was awarded to him by EON, one of Proton’s car dealers in the 1980s and 90s before joining Proton Edar.
The Perdana V6 is only sold to government offices and extended by EON’s subsidiary, Automotive Conversion Engineering.
Tun then relocated the Proton 2020 registration number to its official automobile, the second generation Proton Perdana Limousine produced on the 9th generation Honda Accord.
Next up is the Mercedes-Benz S600 SEL W140 number plate number WG1. This car was given to him by Cycle and Carriage, the previous dealer of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Malaysia, before being taken over by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia.
And at this point, this car is one of the most sophisticated and prestigious vehicles, with a 6.0-liter V12 engine that is a marvel of technological times. During the early 1990s where Rolls-Royce was still struggling and unstable, this car was a luxury car.
W140’s over-sophisticated engineering triggers rigid cost control measures to be determined by Daimler’s accountant, as part of the merger of DaimlerChrysler. Since then, no other class-S car has been developed with a similar approach.
However, Tun did not seem to use this car too much because the car’s odometer was only at 11,487 miles, and was in a very depressing situation in the Galeria so that the Mercedes-Benz logo on the back was damaged and the wiper rubber had rotted.
As you know, Mitsubishi Motors is a Proton’s technical partner. Two Mitsubishi models Mitsubishi FTO plate number WEC 3335 and Pajero Mini with plate number WDU 3367, was awarded to Tun Mahathir.
The Mitsubishi FTO is very trendy at that time which was popularized in the Jackie Chan movie but this unit has a lower automatic transmission.
The mini Pajero is a compact size SUV and mostly sold in Japan. This unique dimension and a small 660cc engine are intentional as it is necessary to comply with Japan’s tax rules where the “minicar” will be taxless.
There are also cars marketed in Japan namely Daihatsu Move, most likely a gift from Perodua’s technical partner, Daihatsu Motor.
In the collection, there are also two electric vehicles, one of which is the initial EV project by Citroen based on Saxo. And another is a project by Tenaga Nasional built on Subaru Domingo.
Citroen’s car is a left-driving model and has a “push” button in place of conventional gear, and Subaru has only two seats with the entire cabin space full of batteries. Its odometer shows less than 1,000 kilometers.
Both vehicles are registered, WGH 4037 at Citroen and WEU 2640 for Subaru.
What is known is that the first electric car registered in Malaysia is Mitsubishi i-MiEV with the WVY 159 plate number in 2013. Prior to that, the JPJ could not register the electric car because the system could not accommodate a vehicle with no particular engine capacity.
Nissan President’s car and Lexus LS 400 plate number WAF 1 and WBY 1 do not have any explanation text included but it may be Tun Mahathir’s personal car.
The Nissan President’s odometer is over 30,000 kilometers showing it used quite often as an active prime minister. This car is the main sedan of Nissan and never sold in Malaysia.
Together with Toyota Crown, Nissan President is a car used by statesmen and Japanese dignitaries. Nissan President is no longer in production.
The car was in a sad state where the roof was severely damaged and the tires began to tear due to exposure to sunlight. Lexus LS is one of the automotive industry icons and in 10 years Lexus has beaten Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the US market.
Tun Mahathir was said to be a big fan of the Lexus brand and his Lexus LS was imported for his personal use in the 1990s long before the Lexus brand was officially introduced in Malaysia in 2007.
It cannot be ascertained whether this is the first Lexus car imported by UMW Toyota Motor, but it is certainly among the earliest. And the great probability of Tun has more cars in his home in Putrajaya.
He is also seen driving the Audi A8L which is exchanged with Proton “Acoordana” Perdana. At one time, Tun Mahathir also owned a Volkswagen Phaeton and a Volkswagen Touareg given by Volkswagen when Proton is in the process of thinking about having a partnership with the German carmaker.
After the partnership did not work, Tun returned the two cars.
The metallic blue Proton Saga with the number plate Proton 1001 that is hard to find, is believed to still be in Tun’s possession as it certainly is very high in value. Also there should be a Proton Waja car with a plate number Waja 1.
Rumors have it that Tun has the first generation Honda Insight given by Honda to him it is either in Putrajaya or Cyberjaya.
What do you think of Tun M’s car collection? Pretty neat huh?
(Source: Ais Kacang)