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Top 10: Cars from the British Motor Museum

The British Motor Museum re-opens to the public on Saturday, 13 February, following a £1.1m refurbishment. Formerly known as the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, the new museum promises to be visually more exciting than its predecessor – with more interactive displays and more than 500 cars on show.

There'll also be more space to show off the cars with a new collections centre, which allows public access for the first time to an extra 250 cars from the reserve collections of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust.

For prices and opening times visit the museum website at or call 01926 641188.

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1993 MGF Engineering Mule

Three original design concepts were considered for the MGF: PR1, PR2 and PR3. Each investigated a different layout. PR1 was front (2.0-litre) engine, front wheel drive, built by Motor Panels. PR2, was Reliant-built front-engine (V8), rear-wheel drive. And PR3, the ADC built mid-engine (1400cc), rear-wheel drive. PR3 was the layout that would be chosen as the basis for the production car.

Once the design was chosen, the next step was to test the cars and running gear.  A number of engineering ‘mules’ - running test cars - were built. Perhaps the most elaborate was this Metro van, or at least that is what it looks like.

With a casual glance one might easily be forgiven for thinking it was an everyday, well-used courier’s delivery van. On closer inspection, however, wide wheels and non-standard wheelarches indicate it is no ordinary van. Lift up the whole rear section and underneath you find the mechanics of the mid-engined MGF. The van was able to run on the road and test many MGF miles without being given a second look.


dimdip    on 13 February 2016

Thanks for this interesting and informative article. It's nice to see a piece focussing on the ingenuity and innovation within the British motor industry. Hope to make it along to Gaydon again to see the new developments and new vehicles on display.

Lotus Rebel    on 16 February 2016

What engine powered the Alvis GTS?

Though the likely answer is the 3.5 Rover V8, it would have been interesting to see the Alvis GTS make use of the 220 hp 3.5-litre OHC 6-cylinder from the Alvis TA30 project, especially since Rover developed the related P7 prototype that was already capable of accommodating a straight-6 engine.

bobber    on 2 October 2017

Regarding the Triumph Acclaim - this car was assembled at Cowley (North Works), where Austin Maxis, and Princessses were built. The Acclaim was indeed a Honda Ballade, with Honda supplying all the components - even fixings. The fact that this car was so reliable when Austins were not is down to the fact that Honda's designers made sure that the car could be built on a moving assembly line. Austins were, in Cowley vernacular, "NDH" (not designed here). So the poor quality of BL products could not be blamed on the workforce.

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