The Heritage Motor Centre is located at Gaydon in Warwickshire, England. The centre is open to the public, and houses a collection of important vehicles, celebrating Britain's motoring heritage.
The History Edit
The collection now cared for by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust was developed in the 1970's when a new division of the British Leyland organisation was formed to preserve and manage the company's collection of historic vehicles. In 1979 the company became BL Heritage Limited, adopting a new headquarters at Studley, Warwickshire. Two years later, a museum was opend at the London Transport Museum's former home of Syon Park, west of London, were some 100 vehicles from the collection were put on display.
During the early 1980s closer ties were made with other British motor manufacturers. In 1983, the collection was granted charitable status and became the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, and although there were now several manufacturers involved, the collection still carried a large bias towards former British Leyland companies. Austin-Rover continued as the primary backer of the Trust, and gradually the other companies withdrew their support. Meanwhile, the collection continued to grow.
In the late 1980s it became evident that larger premises would be required as the collection developed. Several new sites were considered for a purpose built museum. The present location was chosen, on the site of the former RAF Gaydon airfield in South Warwickshire which was home to the Rover Group's design, technology and testing ground. Plans were drawn up and construction began in 1991 for the new Heritage Motor Centre. Set in 65 acres of grounds, the Centre brought together all of the Trust's operations for the first time, providing exhibition and storage space for the collection of over 250 vehicles and archive of over 2 million photographs, business records, brochures and drawings. The site also includes conference facilities.
When Rover Group was taken over by BMW in 1994, the Heritage Motor Centre came under their ownership. Six years later, BMW sold the Rover Group, which meant that the Centre changed hands yet again, this time under the ownership of the Ford Motor Company. This latest change of ownership means that the Trust now had the opportunity to expand its collection to include all of the companies that have formed part of Britains motor manufacturing history.
Vehicles Currently In The Collection Edit
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. A complete list is provided on the centre's website. It must also be noted that due to space limitations, not all cars are exhibited at all times. Therefore, if you intend to go to see a particular car, a call to the centre to check on its status is highly recommended!
- The first and last production models of the Land Rover Freelander
- The first and last production models of the Rover 75
- The last Rover Mini Cooper produced
- FAB1 from the Thunderbirds movie
- An Ascari KZ1 show car from 2000
- The Minis that won the Monte Carlo Rally during the 1960s
- Various Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles used by the British Royal Family
- An SAS Land Rover
- The very first Land Rover
- Various MG Speed Record cars
- Rover Gas Turbine cars
- Various Mini based prototypes, such as the Minissima
- Rolls-Royce Phantom
- The Last Aston Martin DB7
- Aston Martin V12 Vanquish
- Sinclair C5
- The Metro 1.3 HLS as shown at the 1980 Motor Show
- Ford RS200
- Metro 6R4 Rally Car
- Ford Escort mk.1 as used in the 1970 London - Mexico rally
- Jaguar 2000 F1 car
Hopefully this will give an indication of the varied vehicles in the collection.
Research Services Edit
The Heritage Motor center offers a research and registry service for several British car marques. For a small fee, owners may send in their VIN, chassis and/or engine numbers and they will research the original production records for that vehicle and send back whatever information on the vehicle is available. This can include such details as a list of the options the car was ordered with, the original paint colour and any identification numbers that may be missing.
Contact Information Edit
Heritage Motor Centre
Telephone: 01926 641 188
Fax: 01926 645 103
Prices correct as at 20 August 2006
Children (ages 5-16): £6
Children (under 5): Free
Family Ticket: £25 - admits two adults and three children
As of August 2006, visitors who use Gift Aid to donate when paying their entrance fee are eligible for 12 months free return admission, although there are five days in the calendar when this is not allowable.
Admission to the café, gift shop and grounds are free.
Outdoor activities (4×4, go karts, and miniature roadway) are in excess of the entrance price, but are reduced for visitors. Non visitors may participate in outdoor activities, but pay more.