Leica Virgin: British Motor Museum

I spent the 2017 Christmas holiday break in the UK, staying with good friends Mike and Hilary. We did a couple of wonderful day trips, one of which is the subject of this story – the British Motor Museum.

My knowledge of British marques is not what it should be. I’m familiar enough with the cars that were seen in Australia through my youth – Jaguar, Mini, Land Rover, MG. It’s the domestic Brits that weren’t so well known in Oz that I struggle with – all those British Leyland companies that were either dead or dying by the time I started carspotting.

Given that I don’t know my Brits as well as I should, I’ll refrain from much of the commentary that’d typically accompany a piece like this.

Instead, I’ll cut straight to the images and simply recommend a visit. If you’re ever near Gaydon, around 2 hours north-west of London. The museum itself is great value. The added bonus is that the Jaguar Heritage Centre is located right next door.

I’d like to thank Mike a) for taking me to see the museum, and b) his patience while I spent faaaar too much time learning how to use a rangefinder and shooting these images.

I hope you enjoy them. Click to enlarge.

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A clutch of firsts – the first Land Rover, the first Mini, the first E-Type definitely not the first E-Type and (I believe, maybe) the first Roller under BMW’s ownership.

While we’re here, at the Mini, here’s a look inside Mr Issigonis’ mind:

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The prototype room….. so right and so wrong at the same time.

Note the amazing T-top sealing hardware and the bubble-on-the-back…..

Not bad for 1969. Ahead of its time….

For my mate, Jim. Here’s your car’s insides……

One of my dream cars, the Morgan 3-wheeler…..

More Morgan goodness:

Lotus Mark VI – Colin Chapman’s first ‘production’ car….

…and it’s successor, the legendary Lotus 7:

Overview of the off-road section:

And some individuals:

I believe this is the first Range Rover, from the early 1970’s

Range Stormer concept car, much of whose styling eventually made its way into the Evoque:

The Brits love their caravans.

Now THIS looks like an adventure. Any takers?

Let’s go racing!!

Note the wire wheels…..

The Jaguar XJC – soooo sexy.

Various odds and sodds seen before heading over to the Jaguar Heritage centre:

The Jaguar Heritage Centre

I last visited the Jaguar Heritage Centre with my Jaguar-driving mate, Dave. That was 5 or 6 years ago, when the museum was still located in Coventry. There was a certain quaintness to that facility that lent it some charm, but this new building at Gaydon is streets ahead when it comes to presentation.

This is a must-see for Jaguar fans.

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7 Comments

  1. Some really excellent photos of some wonderful (and woeful) cars. That SD1 wagon and TR-Coupe…wowza!

    Like you Steve, my entre into British motors was what I’d see as a child in our foreign car loving corner of Southern California, topped up with James Bond films and the occasional trip to Blighty.

    It was only as an adult that I began to take an interest in long defunct brands like Singer, Riley, Wolseley, and Alvis. And I’m sure that it’s that same love of the obscure that led me to Saab, Tatra, NSU, and Simca.

  2. Nice, I am of an age, that I can remember many of them, actually on the roads…

  3. I remember all those concept Jags in Autocar like yesterday – particularly loved the X300 convertible, which had beautiful proportions. If anyone’s interested, there’s a good video on YouTube of this place on Hubnut’s channel.

  4. Awesome, clear photography. I don’t know why but this reminds me of the Lane Museum in Nashville, TN where i visited on the way to the SOC, at Stone Mountain, GA, in 2016.

    The Lane Museum has some very unusual , mainly European cars, including on of my favorites, the Tatra from Czech Republic.