The Great British Car Journey – a new visitor attraction with an interactive twist – has just taken delivery of its 100th car, and is on course to open this April. It’s an exciting addition to the ranks of classic car destinations in the UK, as well as offering an an interesting new twist of nostalgia for Derbyshire Peak District visitors.
The latest addition to the collection is a 1987 Vauxhall Astra with 4400 miles on the clock. It joins this unique collection of British manufactured cars, which are all low-mileage or exceptional-condition examples of everyday family cars. The Great British Car Journey centres on the UK automotive history – starting with the Austin Seven – and aims to reignite visitors’ love of cars such as the Ford Cortina, Hillman Avenger, Vauxhall Chevette, BMC Mini and the Austin Metro, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year. More feted classics, such as the Morris Minor will also be highlighted – led by the collection’s 1961 Morris Minor 1,000,000 (below).
The new visitor attraction is the brainchild of former Auto Windscreens and Blyton Park owner Richard Usher, and it’s set to basically be a timeline of the rise, fall and rise of the British car industry told in nine chapters. A unique interactive device has been created by event technology specialists Imagineear and describes how the mass-production of the motor car between 1921–1995 made social history.
Don’t just go and look, drive them too!
Visitors with a strong sense of nostalgia can also book one of GBCJ’s Drive Dad’s Car experiences. In these, you will be able to take one of 30 vehicles on a six-mile on-site driving route. Drivers will be accompanied by a qualified instructor and their drive will be captured on video. Visitors will be able to watch the cars being worked on.
Great British Car Journey will be based on a converted industrial site near Matlock in the Derbyshire Peak District. It will be the newest addition within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site corridor and will add to the Peak District’s growing tourist industry, especially of historical or early industrial interest. The new venture, with its emphasis on innovative British car manufacturing, will complement the stories of Derwent Valley Mills, Crich Tramway Museum, and Heights of Abraham.
Richard says: ‘Cars were a major part of family history; they took us on holiday, they ferried kids to parties and they were lovingly washed and polished on the driveway at the weekend. Wind-up windows, chokes and old car smells will bring a smile to all who come and visit. We want everyone to get involved in the run-up to our opening by sharing their early car memories. We’ve created #mycarjourney on Twitter, and want stories and photos from family albums any year between 1920 and 2000. Just tell us where you went and what you can remember of that journey.’