On my way home the other day I took a wrong turning off the M42 and decided to continue along the M40 to the Heritage Motor Center at Gaydon.
I arrived just in time for a tour with a guide being a mid week afternoon it was a one to one tour. Among the exhibits are many prototypes from the British Motor Corporation / British Leyland / Austin Rover / MG Rover conglomoration prior to it’s collapse in 2005, above is a Prototype MG built on the 1970 Mini 1275 platform by Michelloti.
There are a smattering of cool racing cars going right back to Austin’s earliest day’s, above the 1970 March 701 chassis #701/4 which Jackie Stewart drove to 2nd place finishes in the Dutch and Italian Grand Prix.
In 1922 Austin launched the Seven as an economy working mans model, in 1927 William Lyons founder of the Swallow Side Car company decided to build an upmarket convertible version and the following year followed that with a saloon, the one above was built in 1933, Swallow Side Car eventually became Jagaur, some other brands that the Austin Seven unwittingly helped to establish are BMW, Bristol and Lotus.
Among my favorite categories of vehicles at the Heritage Motor Centre are the adventurers the 1955 Austin A90 above was driven 17,500 miles by Richard Pape from North Cape in Norway to Cape Town in South Africa between July and October 1955. The White 1922 Austin twenty in the background was bought by a Mr Filby for £33 in 1932 and then driven 37,000 miles to Cape Town and back.
There are several vehicles which have appeared in films in the Heritage Motor Centre collection, above a Land Rover City Cab that appeared in the 1995 movie Judge Dredd.
Rover was thrust into the white heat of technology in during 1939 – 45 was when it was asked to turn Sir Frank Whittle’s prototype gas turbine jet engine into a production unit, a project Rolls Royce had to turn down because it was too busy building the Merlin V12’s. After hostilities Rover built 5 road vehicles powered by gas turbines including the 1961 T4 above. The car eventually went into production in 1963 as the P6 marketed as the Rover 2000 regrettably with a 2 litre / 122 cui 4 cylinder motor replacing the gas turbine.
My thanks to Dave my tour guide for a highly entertaining 45 min tour.
Thanks for joining me on this “Best of British Edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !