British Motor Museum

Coordinates: 52°11′19″N 1°28′50″W / 52.1887°N 1.4806°W / 52.1887; -1.4806
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(Redirected from Heritage Motor Centre)

British Motor Museum
Established1993; 30 years ago (1993)
LocationBanbury Road, Gaydon, Warwickshire, England
TypeTransport Museum
Nearest car parkOn-Site Parking which is free

The British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England holds the world's largest collection of historic British cars, with over 300 cars on display from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust.


The creation of the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BL) in 1968 saw the bringing together of multiple motor vehicle companies and marques (Austin, Jaguar, Morris, MG, Riley, Rover, Standard Triumph, and Wolseley).[1][2] With many of the companies having their own collections of historic vehicles, in 1975 a centralised Leyland Historic Vehicles department was created to manage these.[1] As the collection got ever larger, in 1983 BL created charitable trusts to ensure that these important collections, not only of vehicles, but of company archives too, would be preserved for the nation.[1][2] The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (BMIHT) was created, and under its umbrella, so were the Austin Rover Group Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.[2] In 1990, following the acquisition of Jaguar by Ford, the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust collection was moved to the Jaguar Browns Lane plant in Coventry.[2] The Austin Rover Group Heritage Trust, which with the company by then having morphed into the Rover Group, became the Rover Group Trust, transferred its collection in its entirety to the BMIHT.[2]

The collection, some of which was located at Syon Park, London, and the remainder being kept at Studley Castle, Warwickshire,[3][2] continued to grow, and the BMIHT decided that a new building was required to house it all.[1] With financial assistance from the Rover Group, and other benefactors, a large new facility was built, set in 65 acres (260,000 m2) of grounds, on the Rover Group's Gaydon site in Warwickshire (the former RAF Gaydon airfield), and opened as the Heritage Motor Centre in 1993.[2][3] The trust's complete collection, which included more than 25 vehicles, was relocated to the new centre.[3][2]

The museum became a Designated Collection when it was added to the "exceptional cultural collections" of the Arts Council England in December 2014.[4]

In 2015, the museum was temporarily closed for a £1.1 million refurbishment and rebranding to take place. Additionally, a new £4 million two-storey Collection Centre was built to house the reserve collection of the trust.[5] The museum was reopened on 13 February 2016 as the British Motor Museum.[6][5] The new Collection Centre houses about 250 extra vehicles, and is used for both BMIHT and Jaguar Heritage Trust (formerly the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust) cars.[2]

Following Jaguar's decision to close their Jaguar Heritage Centre, a small selection of the Jaguar Heritage Collection has been on display at the Museum.

In 2003 more than sixty cars from the collection were auctioned off by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust;[7] over forty more cars were sold off from the museum in 2006.[8]

Vehicles in the collection[edit]

1948 the first production Land Rover HUE 166
A prototype Rover SD1 Estate
FAB1 car from the 2004 Thunderbird film
621 AOK the very first Mini off the production line.

This is not an exhaustive list — a complete list is provided on the centre's website. Due to space limitations, not all cars are exhibited at all times.

Research services[edit]

The British Motor Museum offers a research and registry service for several British car marques. The Archive houses authentic historical records by many of the major car manufacturers, including a range of original factory ledgers which record the details of individual vehicles as they came off the production line. For a small fee, owners may send in their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN - aka chassis number) 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 is a 'Certified Copy of a Factory Record' or more commonly known as a Heritage Certificate. 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. This can be useful when applying for tax exemption or to obtain an age-related Registration Mark.


  1. ^ a b c d Hadley, Paul (21 January 2019). "British Motor Museum - Pure Automotive History". Moto Verso. Retrieved 11 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Henson, Kim (22 February 2016). "Fresh-faced, magnificent British Motor Museum opens its doors". Wheels-Alive!. Retrieved 11 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Heritage Motor Centre". Transport Museum. Retrieved 11 November 2022.
  4. ^ "Gaydon motor museum on 'exceptional cultural collection' list". BBC News. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Heritage Motor Centre renamed as British Motor Museum". BBC News. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  6. ^ "British Motor Museum Re-Launch". Classic Car Passion. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2022.
  7. ^ "A Sale of Selected British Motor Cars By Order of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust". Bonhams. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Best of British Festival". Bonhams. Retrieved 18 May 2021.

External links[edit]

52°11′19″N 1°28′50″W / 52.1887°N 1.4806°W / 52.1887; -1.4806