News : Heritage Motor Centre’s lottery help

Tim Bryan and Stephen Laing, Curator.
Tim Bryan and Stephen Laing, Curator.

The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, based at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Multi-Story: Museum’s Collections Centre project. The £2.5 million project aims to create a new building to store and display the Trust’s reserve collection of historic British cars.

Following the award of a first round pass* by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), development funding of £51,100 has been awarded to help the Trust progress their plans to apply for a full grant in 2012. If second round funding is awarded and match funding is also obtained, building work on the new project could begin in 2013.

The Trust has a collection of almost 300 cars, telling the story of the motor industry in Britain from the 1890s to the present and although more than 160 of these vehicles can be seen on display at the Heritage Motor Centre, the rest of the collection remains hidden in store. This project will enable people to see the whole collection for the first time in a purpose-built facility that will also include a vehicle restoration and conservation workshop. In addition the Trust will launch a new volunteer programme allowing people to get more involved with the collection by helping with its conservation and interpretation and will also run a series of events and other activities as part of the project.

Tim Bryan, Head of Collections & Interpretation at the Heritage Motor Centre said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has pledged their support for our project which will help us make our collection far more accessible than before and enable people to learn more about the motor industry which has played such an important role in the West Midlands”.

Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands said: ‘We’re extremely pleased to give initial support to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust for their project to develop a new and improved display venue for this wonderful collection of historic cars. We look forward to receiving their application for a full grant in the future.’

New building should ensure that precious heritage vehicles will be stored outside like this - even temporarily.
The new building should mean no more outdoor storage like this, even temporarily.
Keith Adams


  1. @leslie – it’s an aluminum bodied prototype used during the ECV-3 development process…….I need to get out more……:D

  2. It’s a damn shame they hadn’t perfected the Aluminium body construction that Jaguar later adopted for the XJ, the ECV-3 and Metro were foreruners to this I believe. The Aluminium Metro would have been fantastic on fuel and would never ever have got a reputation for Rot! can you imagine how many would be on the roads today – they nearly all ended up scrapped due to rot! I’d love that car, could drive in all weather and not care a jot!

  3. This is extremely encouraging news as I was one of those who berated the Heritage Motor Centre for a) leaving exhibits exposed outside to the elements, and b) selling off some of their exhibits in 2003 which are now in private hands rather than in a museum where the general public can get to see them.This news hopefully means that all the exhibits whether on display or not, will finally be cossetted in the manner they so richly deserve.

    However, beyond this is the need to start making duplicate copies of production records in a more long-lasting format sooner rather than later, as original microfiches for some of the Triumph models from the 1970s have now faded quite badly through age. Also, hand-written ledgers are also looking increasingly worn and are starting to fall apart for some marques and models. As with the vehicles themselves, these records also need preserving in a supplementary format such as DVD, to ensure that future generations of enthusiasts will be able to continue to view and appreciate them when visiting the Heritage Motor Centre.

    This news really does show that there are some deserving causes out there for receiving lottery money. Good luck to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust in their bid to receive the full £2.5 million.

  4. Great news that Heritage Motor Centre are expanding (Fingers crossed).  With the nearly recent demise of MG Rover we need a museum like this as much as ever.

  5. The Aluminium Metro would have been fantastic on fuel and would never ever have got a reputation for Rot!”Probably about as good as a 2CV in a crash though. Most of the Metro’s rot problems were from design rather than materials though. The rear arches rotted because LIKE FORD’S they had an exposed seam there and rotted just as badly AS FORD’S. Front jacking point was another rot spot, and mainly down to a water trap and lack of cavity wax. There are plenty of modern cars made from steel and they don’t rot simply because more thought is given to panel joins and paint prep.

  6. Excellent news, it’ll be interesting to see what the collecting policy will be going forward, as there will still be important new vehicles that will need preserving, not least from their neighbours at Land Rover and Aston Martin!Is there a link where we can support the proposal, as public support way sway the decision to proceed with full funding or not?

  7. Superb news, and it makes a nice change for something properly deserving of funding getting it rather than some women in comfortable shoes trying to save hamsters in Outer Mongolia!Be interested to hear more about this volunteer programme too.

  8. ery good news, I had an excelent time I visited in July, and it was good to see cars I remember from yester year. Just one thing though, I did enquire about cars not on display, and in the reserve collection there are some notable holes so it would seem, no Maistro’s (I think) no Montego’s and no Marina’s or Maxy’s or am I wrong? surely these cars are important and deserve to be on display instead of the fascination with James Bond cars and the like, Please more of the above and an alegro on display too  

  9. @ Angus Hunley – I agree, some museums are snobbish and only put in what they think is worthy, yet something such as this should try to paint as full a picture of the motoring world during each decade, which is why a lot more cars like Maestro, Monto, Allegro etc needs to be represented. It is a “British” moto museum afterall…

  10. @Angus Huntley:

    The museum has floorspace to accommodate just 160 cars out of the 300 cars is has ‘ownership’ of, with some of the vehicles not on show often being loaned out to other mueseums.   Of interest, a lot of Land Rover’s vehicles are no longer at the Heritage Motor Centre but instead are at the Solihull Plant instead.What use is this? After all we can’t turn up at the Solihull Assembly Plant unannounced and ask to look round the  Land Rover heritage exhibits, can we?

    The wider public are being denied this opportunity to see these vehicles. Please return these vehicles back to the Heritage Motor Centre, Land Rover, especialy the last Range Rover Classic, 1st generation Discovery, last first generation Freelander…

  11. i really must go! but i am glad we will be able to restorations in action thats what i like about the NRM in york its nice to see big trains being rebuilt 🙂 

  12. Good news! I hope they take good care of the unique and fascinating stuff they own, rather than fill the place with stuff that can be seen elsewhere (Astons, Fords, etc.), after all, if Gaydon doesn’t preserve the “BL”-family stuff, no-one else will.  It’s essential to provide a balanced and accurate representation of motoring history.

  13. Anyone know how you can get private research done at the HMC? For those of us not in the UK it is impossible to search the archives because they are not online (paper-based), and HMC will not do private research. Anyone know of an archivist that would like to get paid to do this…

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