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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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1966 Rover/Alvis GTS prototype

This prototype two-door fastback coupé was styled by the Rover designer David Bache. Although the car carried the Rover name, the design became the prototype replacement for the ageing Alvis 3-litre TF model (Rover had bought out the Alvis company in 1965). In fact, the full-scale clay was badged Alvis GTS.

The car is based on the chassis of a contemporary P6 2000S, in itself special, as only 15 of the ‘S’ model were built, 12 for the home market and three for export. All but one of the home market cars went to Rover’s engineering department and this is the last of the 12. It is powered by a four-cylinder, 1978cc, 90bhp engine.

Much of the lower panelling of the car reflected the standard P6 but the bonnet, roof, windows, front and rear end were new. The car was built by Radford coachbuilders of London in late 1966 and the car was registered in early 1967.

It earned the nickname ‘Gladys’ at Rover, perhaps because of its heavy skirted look! The Alvis name was lost with the Leyland takeover of 1967 and no more came of the GTS project, although many of the interior features of the car found their way into later production P6s.

After the project lapsed, David Bache kept the car as his personal transport and also for his wife.


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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