THERE’S been a lot of talk about Jaguar and Land Rover in the wake of the historic £1.15m sell-off to Tata Motors of India, and how it’s going to be something of a brave new beginning for the specialist end of the British motor industry. Certainly, there’s room for some optimism, and as we’ve already seen, Ratan Tata is unafraid of investing hugely in the UK economy…
Future model plans have been ticked-off, branding strategies approved, and even continued co-operation with Ford given the go-ahead. So everything in the garden’s looking rosy? Well, frankly as far as new car production is concerned, the answer has to be definitely yes. However, although we know that the historic nameplates have also been handed over to the Indian company, what about those cars which they’re screwed to?
Yes, I’m referring to the Heritage Motor Centre, in Gaydon, and its priceless collection of cars that mean so much to us. Has this fantastic facility also been given a lifeline by the Indians? It would seem that there has been nothing in the way of announcements just yet, and that leads me to wonder whether this jewel in the crown of UK musuems is actually part of the deal – or whether it’s staying in Ford’s hands…. or perhaps it’s being sold elsewhere.
I’ll ask the question as soon as I can, and no doubt will be reporting back. Because if there’s going to be a new custodian of the Heritage Motor Centre, then let’s hope that they’re serious about our history… and that means continued investment, no more Gaydon-by-the-bins style abandoning of engineering prototypes, and more access to the archives so jealously guarded by the museum. The place is already becoming increasingly corporate – through the necessity of being able to survive as a charitable trust – and the focus of the place really needs to be turned back to the cars, and the clubs that support them.
As soon as I know the score, you can guarantee you’ll be reading about it here.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.