The British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire holds the worlds biggest collection of British historic car. Displayed in two distinct buildings, it has become of the UK’s must visit places for car enthusiasts. The site itself is of huge interest too, as Gaydon also houses development areas for JLR but has an interesting past connected to both the RAF and the motor industry.
The site started out RAF Gaydon in 1942, and was operational until the mid ’70s when it was decommissioned and due to its intact runways and its close location to the M40, it became a test and proving ground for British Leyland vehicles. Towards the end of that decade it became the site for the Heritage Motor Centre and over a period of time, car collections from other sites were moved over. It became the British Motor Museum in 2016, following the absorption of the Jaguar collection in a new purpose built building.
Asides from the collection of British made cars over the last 100 years, it also houses a selection of one-offs, prototypes and develop vehicles from the BMC, BL and Rover era. Each car is maintained, and in most cases are often seen at events. The collection is constantly rotated and often sees new additions.
Not all prototypes are production models, this is a GRP buck of a concept known as the Austin Zanda.
An impressive array of prototypes have been saved over the years, making it the biggest collection fo BL cars in the world.
The upstairs section of the museum rotates different themes, this one capturing the many permutations of the Mini.
Much of the Jaguar content has been sourced via the Castle Bromich collection.
Two examples of Jaguars first super car, the XJ220. The car in the middle is a prototype.
A 1/3 scale mock up of the ADO16, beautifully created in steel.
A Marina and Mini Safety car, created to test the survival of pedestrian accidents.
A 1972 Michelotti proposal to update the Dolomite.
One of the many attractions for the mechanically minded is this impressive section cut of an 1965 MGB GT. It was originally used for the British Motor Show in the same year and upgraded to MK II spec for the Turin Motor Show in 1967.
This was used a factory car inside the Longbridge plant. Put aside after it was damaged, it remained in the factory until its closure.