Is This Where The Best British Cars Are Kept?
Photography by Nat Twiss
You might know that the UK’s Midlands region is something of an automotive hotspot in the UK—between the many carmakers that have called the region home over the past century, and the countless motor racing teams who operate in the area, it’s probably fair to say it’s the home of the motor car in Britain.
There’s a particularly special village in the Midlands called Gaydon. As the home of Aston Martin, as well as Jaguar Land Rover’s design and engineering site, it’s currently responsible for the production of some of the most prestigious cars in the country. It’s difficult not to notice the camouflaged development mules running on the local roads, as well as a bunch of other incredible machines that the employees drive. It’s a small nirvana for car enthusiasts.
It would only make sense for there to be a museum nearby, right?
Well, would you believe it, there is! The British Motor Museum isn’t entirely new – it originally opened as the Heritage Motor Center in 1993, but after deciding to expand with a new building and a refurbishment of the original building, it only made sense to rebrand.
I was given the chance to have a small preview ahead of opening day, and came away impressed. We’ll be the first to admit that we’re a very lucky bunch, and we get to see some frankly stunning machines up close and personal, but your average event goer often finds themselves kept at a distance, and sometimes it’s the same at museums and auto shows. At the British Motor Museum though, there aren’t any barriers. You’re welcome to inspect the finer details of the huge collection.
Yes, even the really rare stuff.
And there’s a lot to see: it’s the largest collection of British cars in the world. There are literally hundreds of cars in the collection, from production vehicles, to racers, to prototypes, charting the rise (and a couple of falls) of the motor industry in Britain. Even if the more pedestrian cars aren’t your cup of tea, there’s plenty to see. We particularly loved watching mechanics actively maintaining the cars in the Collection Center.
Museums can feel stuffy very fast—it can be really easy to take classic cars a bit too seriously, and this is such a refreshing way of experiencing history. Other collections might be a bit more beautifully presented, but spending a few hours in Gaydon felt a bit like a warm embrace from an old friend—which is probably how it should feel.