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Cars as hot as the sun: Tour the Cayman Motor Museum

On a recent trip to Grand Cayman, Globe Life writer Amberly McAteer tours the Cayman Motor Museum

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Recently, I was lucky enough to escape the long Canadian winter for one week, basking in the Grand Cayman sun. And Grand it most certainly is - luxe spas, luxe resorts, luxe restaurants, and as it turns out, luxe cars. I took a quick break from the beach (for as long as I could stand to be away) and toured the Cayman Motor Museum: a giant showroom of businessman Andreas Ugland’s personal colleciton of rare, classic cars, totalling nearly $100-million in value. Here: A 1954 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2-seater with soft top and side curtains.

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A 1930 Phantom II - a car which made its Hollywood debut as the ‘Yellow Rolls-Royce’, a 1964 film starting Omar Sharif.

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One of the most noted Rolls-Royce features is the distrinctive hood ornament, known as ‘The Flying Lady’ or ‘The Spirit of Ecstasy.’ Legend has it the woman is modelled after Eleanor Thornton, the secretary of John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, a pioneer of the automobile movement. He had a secret love affair with the woman for more than a decade.

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The Mercedes 560 SEC: This one-of-a-kind 1988 convertible was made specifically for the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

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1963 Bentley SIII: A car previously owned by the rocket man himself, Elton John.

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1973 Excalibur Phaeton III: Generally regarded as the oldest manufacturer of upscale, limited edition cars in America, Excalibur is its in 4th decade of production. Founder Brook Stevens started with a napkin sketch in 1964 - the car premiered 8 weeks later at the New York Auto show.

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1905 Cadillac, the first car in Cayman: According to local legend, Carrol Henderson, a ‘distinguished gentleman’ of the time drove this classic car through the West Bay area of the island.

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It was a dry time of year, and likely dusty, so he wrapped himself in a white sheet: the people were so mystified by the machine, and the man wrapped in white, they concluded that it must be Jesus Christ himself, arriving in Grand Cayman.

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My favourite car of Mr. Ugland’s collection: A 1962 MG MGB Roadster, in fire engine red. I learn that an Italian stylist named Frua was commissioned to design a new roadster for MG, which had a very successful MGA car (think typical 1950s car.) Originally only planned to be in production for five years, the MGB was produced from 1962 to 1980 - if cars can have sex appeal, this one gets my vote.

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1938 Austin 10 series, called the Cambridge Saloon: Marketed as the ideal family car in the late 30s, the automobile’s motto was: ‘You buy a car, but you invest in an Austin.’

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1966 Bentley T: I was blinded by the chrome grill on this car, produced from 1965 to 1980. It was Bentley’s answer to the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.

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Jaguar C-Type by Proteus: Unbelievably, this car was built in 2002 by Proteus, one of the only firms reproducing - by hand - new models of classic cars.

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Jaguar hood ornament, circa 1953.

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1965 Mini Cooper S: Arguably the most popular British-made car ever, the original Mini Cooper was a 60s icon. The powerful ‘S’ version, part of Mr. Ugland’s collection, is designed to go fast: with straight-cut gearbox, roll cage, twin fuel tanks, racing seats and racing harness.

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SONY DSC

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The 1964 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2: This car made its public debut at the 1964 Brussels Motor Show - unique because it was a Ferrari that had ample seating for four, plus luggage, a landmark practical sports car.

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The 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso: A rare treasure, this model wasn't around for long, only 18 months between 1963 and 1964, with just 350 cars built. Many deem this model as the prettiest Ferrari of all time.

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The original Batmobile - a Lincoln Futura concept car from 1955 was modified for the first ever Batman TV series.

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