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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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1955 Road Rover prototype

As early as the 1950s, the idea of a vehicle to bridge the gap between Rover cars and the Land Rover was under consideration. According to Land Rover’s designer, Maurice Wilkes, it should be a cross-country vehicle adapted to road use, in contrast to the ‘workhorse’ Land Rover, hence the choice of the name ‘Road Rover’.

The 1952-55 Road Rover design was based on a modified P4 car chassis, fitted with a Land Rover engine. Initially, four-wheel drive was planned but later prototypes had rear-wheel drive only. The austere and simple body was nicknamed ‘Greenhouse’ and the prototype car on display is of this type.

More stylish versions were later developed showing an American influence. The last prototype resembled a Chevrolet station wagon and was to have been fitted with a six-cylinder engine. The project was finally abandoned in 1959 and the idea lay dormant until the mid-1960s when Spen King and Gordon Bashford started to work on the vehicle which emerged as Range Rover in 1970.


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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