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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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1974 Mini Clubman SRV4

In 1974, British Leyland and the Transport and Road Research Laboratory undertook a joint project that resulted in the production of five experimental safety cars based on existing saloon models, each intended to concentrate on a specific safety feature. The vehicles represented a range of models and sizes - Morris Marina (SRV2), Austin 1800 (SRV3), Mini Clubman (SRV4), Austin 1300 (SRV5).

All these cars had several features in common, such as a strengthened passenger cell that would withstand high-speed impact, impact resistant low-mounted bumpers, completely padded interiors giving secondary impact protection for passengers and smooth, sloping bonnets designed to minimise injury to pedestrians.

Among the special features of the Mini Clubman SRV4 were a longer wheelbase to allow the engine to be moved forward for better energy absorption in the event of frontal collision, high door sills to increase strength during side impacts, collapsible steering column and the fuel tank relocated under the rear seats.


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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