Blog : Heritage – you can’t get too much of a good thing

Keith Adams


Great news today that the Heritage Motor Centre is to be extended with a new building that’s been part-funded by the National Lottery, Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and The Garfield Weston Foundation – this secures a brighter future for what is the closest thing we have to a motoring archive for Rover and its many antecedents. However, it’s interesting that the press release didn’t make more of the really significant news that we will now have a home for the reserve collection – the cars we know BMIHT has, but which are kept behind closed doors. But either way, it means that more of the treasures which many people only know through this website will finally be publicly viewable.

Additionally, the fact that this is a joint venture between BMIHT and Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, means that we’ll be seeing the two collections being brought closer together – as they really should be – which can only be good news. Actually, this has brightened up my day, because after returning from the Techno-Classica, I was beginning to feel that our heritage was looking increasingly under-represented at this most important of European shows. After all, when Mercedes-Benz spends tens of millions to get a small chunk of its multi-million pound collection to the show and then builds a bespoke display for them, you’ll see where I am coming from.

We had representation at Techno-Classica, of course. Jaguar Heritage occupied a substantial stand and showed off some of its most important cars, but – and this is a big but – where was Land Rover? After all, isn’t the parent company now called Jaguar Land Rover? Given that Land Rover both has an official collection of its own, as well as the Dunsfold Collection close to hand, it feels like the two marques should come closer together and stand shoulder to shoulder. Who here would love to see Jaguar Heritage become Jaguar Land Rover Heritage? I know I would.

Beyond that, as my long-time friend, AROnline Deputy Editor and BMC-loving petrolhead, Alexander Boucke said after our trip to Techno-Classica together, ‘I know they technically own Rover. Could JLR embrace Rover at such a show? I assume most former Rover drivers on the continent are now JLR drivers…’

Alexander has a good point. I suspect that many management types at JLR would hate to hear this, but the company – which is currently enjoying great success – could do worse than to step forward and become the official custodian of the all of the companies from its family tree over the years. Perhaps that’s what’s happening already with the emergence of the joint building at Gaydon. Just imagine, though, if we enjoyed such joined-up thinking next year at Techno-Classica, or perhaps ever this year at the NEC Classic Motor Show… There’d be a Heritage motor show stand where we could see a line-up that included something like a 1970 Velar, Royal Rover P5B and Jaguar XJ Series 1 – hardly off-message, is it?

Please tell me this is the future for British Motor Heritage – if that’s the case, I really can’t wait!

And if not, why not?

Keith Adams


  1. While there may be cultural differences between Jaguar and Rover over the years, as you say the latter marque is now owned by the company running the former, it would be nice to see XJSs alongside SD1s

  2. It would be lovely of Land Rover to acknowledge their past ina greater manner and that until 1978 they didn’t actually exist as anything other than a badge on stuff built at Solihull by Rover (and BL). Folk forget that the Range Rover was sold alongside the P5B and P6 originally so displaying them all together would be appropriate.

  3. I remember talking to a member of staff at the Heritage Motor Centre about two years ago and they told me about the attitude of a long standing Land Rover employee when it came to making material available. “By all means loan ‘Mr X’ any Land Rover images they require for their research. However, if they want any Rover images, there will be a fee.”

    I would love to see Jaguar Land Rover take a more proactive approach to being custodians of associated dormant marques such as Rover, but I somehow doubt this will happen. Several heritage-based press releases they have released over the last eighteen months have made reference to vehicle production at Solihull starting in 1948 and no mention was made of the Rover Co. Ltd. To the uninitiated neither the Rover Co. Ltd nor the Rover marque itself ever existed.

    It would be good for Jaguar Land Rover to show a moral responsibility towards Rover’s heritage, even if they have no plans to resurrect the name. Why? Because one day a Rover buyer might be encouraged to buy one of their more recent models, which can only be good for business.

    Rover does have an interesting and innovative heritage which should not be forgotten, just because the name is no longer active. Aronline is clearly active is reinforcing the achievements of this marque and others.

  4. Us proper Rover owners (I have a P6B) owe a debt of gratitude to the Land Rover product as it is the money made from sales of these that funded design and production of the P5 and P6. I just wish Rover (or BL at that time I suppose) had stuck a Rover badge on the original Range Rover.

  5. Great news. I hope the same thing can be done to improve resources for the British Commercial Vehicle Museum at Leyland (be nice to see one for the British agricultural engineering industry as well but maybe that’s going a bit too off-topic!)

  6. That extra building is superb and makes a massive difference to the whole museum, and the number if vehicles it can show

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