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A Day Out at the British Motor Museum

Words & Images - James Ross

I've finally crossed off somewhere that I've wanted to visit for a while, the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. Whilst I've never taken a particular interest in the UK car industry and the British Leyland umbrella, I do have a bit of a passion for retro cars, although admittedly more from the Ford stable.

The museum is split into two main parts, the ground floor of the main building houses the main exhibits, and the adjacent two floor warehouse stores the overspill upstairs and Jaguar heritage collection downstairs.

Jaguar XJS Police Car
1983 Jaguar XJS 3.6 Litre straight 6 County Constabulary Police Car

The Motorsport exhibit was particularly interesting, with a pair of competition prepared ex Rallye Monte Carlo Minis, and a Computervision liveried Group B MG Metro 6R4.

Rallye Monte Carlo Mini
A pair of Rallye Monte Carlo Minis
Computervision MG Metro 6R4 Group B rally car
Group B MG Metro 6R4

Another icon of motorsport is this sports-prototype Silk Cut Le Mans Jaguar XJR-9 race car which i believe secured around 6 victories during the 1980s.

Jaguar XJR-9 Le Mans winner
Jaguar XJR-9 Le Mans sports prototype race car

Outside I spotted a boyhood favourite, I used to have a poster of this Jaguar XJ220 supercar.

Jaguar XJ220 Supercar at the British Motor Museum
Jaguar XJ220 Supercar
Jaguar XJ220 Supercar wheels
Jaguar XJ220 Supercar close up

This one I recognised straight away despite not knowing it was part of the museum, this is the infamous Longbridge Mini Clubman that was found in the tunnels under the former factory site. I think the story goes that it fell off the production line and was then 'hidden'. No matter what the truth of it is, it was great to see it in the flesh.

Mini Clubman from the Longbridge tunnels
The 'last' Longbridge Mini, a Damaged Clubman from the factory site tunnels

I'll be honest, I've got absolutely zero interest in Formula 1, I'm not sure why, perhaps that I cant relate them to a road going vehicle, however for our readers who enjoy F1, here is Eddie Irvines 2002 Grand Prix season Jaguar R3.

Eddie Irvines Jaguar R3 F1 car
2002 Season Jaguar R3 F1 Grand Prix racing car