After a delayed start, the Great British Car Journey is due to open in Ambergate, Derbyshire later this month. The new visitor attraction has a collection of more than 100 British-made vehicles, and they will be on show in an airy and rejuvenated factory building on the banks of the River Derwent – and we’ve had a sneak preview of some of the cars on show.
The site, which is located just off the A6 in between Derby and Matlock, is nearing the end of an extensive refurbishment ahead of the Great British Car Journey opening on 22 May. Originally due to open in 2020, plans for the attraction had to be shelved when two of its founders both had serious health issues. Now back to full health, the Great British Car Journey is out of the garage, back on road and all set to open with even more cars joining the original line up.
The covered exhibition features vehicles from a bygone age, including Austin Sevens and Morris Minors as well as the more modern classics including the original Mini, Ford Cortina and Vauxhall Cavalier. The Great British Car Journey will take visitors on an interactive journey through the golden years of British design and manufacturing from the 1930s–1990s using a unique audio-visual device.
The cars are currently being moved into the museum area, where they will be arranged in an order to tell the chronological story, starting with Herbert Austin and his famous Seven mini car. We were allowed to root around the storage area to have a look at the exhibits before they are rolled out – and what a collection they are. You’ll understand why we’re so excited when you browse the gallery below.
In addition, Drive Dad’s Car will allow visitors to go for a drive with an instructor in a selection of over 30 iconic British cars from the Austin Seven to a Rolls Royce Silver Spirit. That old car smell and an analogue driving experience guarantees a wave of nostalgia for times gone by.
The visitor attraction is the brainchild of former Auto Windscreens and Blyton Park circuit owner Richard Usher. He explained: ‘Signing the lease was a real line in the sand and put us on track for opening in 2021. The enforced break, through both ill-health and the pandemic, means the Great British Car Journey is coming back stronger having given us the opportunity to acquire even more fantastic British made and designed classic cars.’