Heritage Motor Centre
Established 1991 (Current site)
Location Gaydon, Warwickshire, England
Type Transport Museum
Website www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk

The Heritage Motor Centre is a British motor museum and research centre, located adjacent to the Jaguar Land Rover Gaydon Centre near Gaydon in Warwickshire, England. The centre is open to the public, and houses a collection of important vehicles, celebrating Britain's motoring heritage. It is affiliated to the British Motorcycle Charitable Trust.[1]


The collection, now cared for by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, was developed in the 1970s when a new division of the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC) was formed to preserve and manage the company's collection of historic vehicles. In 1979, the company became BL Heritage Limited, adopting a new headquarters at Studley, Warwickshire. Two years later, a museum was opened at the London Transport Museum's former home of Syon Park, west of London, where some 100 vehicles from the collection were put on display.

During the early 1980s, closer ties were made with other British motor manufacturers. In 1983, the collection was granted charitable status, and became the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, and although there were now several manufacturers involved, the collection still carried a large bias towards the former British Leyland companies. Austin-Rover continued as the primary backer of the Trust, and gradually the other companies withdrew their support. Meanwhile, the collection continued to grow.

In the late 1980s, it became evident that larger premises would be required as the collection developed. Several new sites were considered for a purpose built museum. The present location was chosen, on the site of the former RAF Gaydon airfield in South Warwickshire, which was home to the Rover Group's design, technology and testing ground. Plans were drawn up and construction began in 1991 for the new Heritage Motor Centre. Set in 65 acres (260,000 m²) of grounds, the Centre brought together all of the Trust's operations for the first time, providing exhibition and storage space for the collection of over 250 vehicles and archive of over 2 million photographs, business records, brochures and drawings. The site also includes conference facilities.

When Rover Group was taken over by BMW in 1994, the Heritage Motor Centre came under their ownership. Six years later, BMW sold the Rover Group, which meant that the Centre changed hands yet again, this time under the ownership of the Ford Motor Company. This latest change of ownership means that the Trust now had the opportunity to expand its collection to include all of the companies that have formed part of Britain's motor manufacturing history.

Vehicles in the collection

A prototype Rover SD1 Estate held in the collection

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish as part of the collection

This is not an exhaustive list — a complete list is provided on the centre's website. Some cars are on loan to the collection for exhibits, with others on long term loans. Due to space limitations, not all cars are exhibited at all times. Some may be undergoing restoration or be in storage or other museums


1923 AEC S-type London General Omnibus





Aston Martin/Aston Martin Lagonda


1907 Austin 30hp oldest surviving Austin known, originally a Birmingham Parks bus, used as an ambulance in WW1

1968 Austin 1800 rally car London-Sydney Marathon car, driven by Hopkirk, Nash and Poole


Bedford (Lucas)


1886 Benz replica






Note: most of these cars are in a special Jaguar Heritage exhibition (June 2013)

Jaguar XJ220 Concept Car

Land Rover + Range Rover

Note: Most not currently on display (June 2013)

  • The very first 'Pre-production' Land Rover: HUE 166
  • 1948 Land Rover 80”, number one first Land Rover produced
  • 1948 Land Rover 80”, station wagon rare Tickford designed estate, one of only 651 built. Fewer than 20 survivors
  • 1954 Land Rover 86” royal ceremonial ‘State I’ - Queen’s review vehicle
  • 1955 Road Rover prototype for a more ‘comfortable’ Land Rover product (akin to Range Rover but 10 years earlier)
  • 1958 Road Rover series II attempt, along the lines of the American station wagon. This is the last of nine prototypes
  • 1958 Land Rover Cuthbertson conversion fitted with large tracks for forestry work
  • 1958 Land Rover 88”, royal review vehicle Queen’s review vehicle ‘State II’
  • 1962 Land Rover series II 129” pick-up one of two surviving from five prototypes
  • 1963 Land Rover 112” FC recovery wagon - experimental 112” forward control, used as Land Rover’s own breakdown truck:
  • 1966 Land Rover series IIa 109” station wagon HM Queen’s personal car and an early 6-cylinder model
  • 1967 Land Rover Shorland armoured car armoured car for Northern Ireland
  • 1968 Land Rover ‘Pink Panther’ SAS desert specification vehicle, painted in pink camouflage
  • 1969 Range Rover first vehicle off the line
  • 1971 Range Rover, ‘Darien Gap’ MoD expedition from Alaska to Cape Horn via difficult Darien Isthmus crossing
  • 1974 Range Rover royal ceremonial Queen’s review vehicle which replaced 1954 Land Rover State I
  • 1975 Land Rover 101, forward control with powered Rubery trailer
  • 1976 Land Rover 88” station wagon the one millionth Land Rover produced
  • 1981 Land Rover 110” station wagon, sectioned
  • 1982 Land Rover 88”, aluminium unpainted body, aluminium is polished
  • 1983 Land Rover 110” station wagon HM Queen’s personal car and an V8 model
  • 1983 Land Rover ½ ton
  • 1984 Land Rover Discovery, Jay 5 prototype oldest prototype, used for Hot Environmental Validation
  • 1986 Land Rover series III estate last vehicle off line
  • 1986 Land Rover Llama box van
  • 1987 Land Rover 90 ‘crocodile’ exhibition vehicle with body hinged off chassis
  • 1987 Land Rover Llama, box van prototype forward control L/R for Army, never put into full production
  • 1988 Land Rover 100”, submergible with floats, capable of crossing water
  • 1988 Land Rover 90, 40th Anniversary model
  • 1989 Land Rover Discovery Tdi first production first series vehicle off the line
  • 1989 Land Rover Discovery prototype
  • 1991 Land Rover, ‘Camel Trophy’ special equipment for gruelling Camel Trophy rally
  • 1994 Range Rover P38A first of the second generation Range Rover off the production line
  • 1994 Land Rover CB40 mule prototype with Maestro van body
  • 1994 Land Rover CB40 prototype Freelander design prototype
  • 1994 Range Rover 4.2 LSE the late Queen Mother’s personal car
  • 1994 Land Rover 90 NAS soft top V8 for the North American market
  • 1995 Land Rover ‘Judge Dredd’ City Cab silver utility car from the film
  • 1996 Range Rover ‘Classic’ last of the original Range Rovers, a specially built no. 26 of 25 special edition vehicles
  • 1997 Land Freelander 5-door 1.8 Xi first Freelander off the line, signed by all the line workers

1997 Land Rover LCV2/3 all-aluminium Defender concept vehicle 1997 Land Rover Discovery Paris-Dakar Rally highly modified motorcycle support racer. 31st in Rally 1997 Range Rover police car - ex Strathclyde Police armoured tactical response vehicle 1997 Land Rover Discovery II Td5 ‘Tempest Trek’ 30,000km expedition to launch the new Discovery 1998 Land Freelander 5-door Td4 Fifity-50 Challenge, travelled through 50 countries in 50 days 2001 Range Rover L322 first of the third generation Range Rover off the production line. German spec. model 2001 Land Rover 110HCPU "Tomb Raider" Lara Croft’s action vehicle from the film 2002 Land Rover Discovery series II G4 Challenge organisers’ car used on Australian Stage 2004 Land Rover Discovery 3 first production third series vehicle off the line, LR3 American spec. 2004 Range Stormer spectacular design concept that paved the way for the Range Rover Sport 2005 Land Rover Discovery series II Td5 Premium last production second series vehicle off the line 2005 Range Rover Sport TDV6 SE first Range Rover Sport off the production line 2006 Land Freelander 3-door hardback last original series Freelander off the line and last from Solihull factory


1924 Leyland Trojan tourer 1927 Leyland Straight Eight - Parry-Thomas’ eight cylinder racing car 1972 Leyland Crompton Electricar - unusually styled prototype electric powered small city car


1925 MG ‘Old Number One’ Cecil Kimber’s special, not the first MG as such 1931 MG 18/80 Speed model one of the last 18/80 mark I produced (of 500) 1934 MG PA Midget, sectioned 1936 MG NB Magnette 1938 MG EX135 record car Goldie Gardner’s record car, reached 200 mph+ on the Dessau Autobahn, Germany 1953 MG YB saloon Len Shaw’s ‘semi-works’ rally car 1954 MG EX179 record car Eyston’s record car, achieved 170 mph in 1954 at Utah Salt Flats 1954 MG TF 1957 MG EX181 record car Stirling Moss/Phil Hill record car, reached 254.9 mph at Utah Salt Flats 1958 MG ZB Magnette

  • 1958 MGA twin cam, sectioned

1969 MG MGB roadster 1969 MG MGB, sectioned in two halves 1972 MGB GT, SSV1 safety systems vehicle, research car 1979 MG Midget 1500 last vehicle off line 1980 MG MGB roadster last vehicle off line 1980 MG MGB GT last vehicle off line 1983 MG Metro 6R4 prototype test car for development of the 6R4 rally car 1983 MG Metro ‘Alum’ prototype with aluminium body 1985 MG Metro 6R4 Clubman version of Austin Rover’s successful Group B rally car 1985 MG EX-E stunning concept car for a large sports car to take the V6V 6R4 engine; styling buck 1986 MG Metro 6-cylinder turbo engineering prototype with experimental 6-cylinder engine 1989 MG DR2/PR5 one of the rejected concepts from the design stages of the MGF, designed by Roy Axe

  • 1994 MGF prototype ‘camouflaged’ in a Metro van body, used to test running gear
  • 1998 MG EX255 record car car that aimed (and failed) to beat EX181 record. Driven by Andy Green


  • 1959 Morris Mini-Minor Number One (621 AOK) first production Mini-Minor off the line

1959 Austin Mini ‘Downton’ Daniel Richmond’s racing conversion 1962 Mini ‘Twini’ Moke an engine at each end and two gearboxes 1962 Austin Mini van ‘John Cooper Garages’ replica of the famous Cooper works van 1963 Morris Mini-Cooper S Monte Carlo (33 EJB) Paddy Hopkirk’s 1964 Monte Carlo rally winner 1964 Morris Mini-Cooper S Monte Carlo (AJB 44B) Timo Makinen’s 1965 Monte Carlo rally winner 1964 Mini, ADO 34 prototype small sports car, designed to replace the MG Midget but never produced 1965 Austin Mini, LHD sectioned 1966 Morris Mini-Cooper S Monte Carlo (LBL 6D) Rauno Aaltonen’s 1967 - Monte Carlo rally winner 1968 Morris Mini-Minor glass fibre body prototype experimental plastic bodied car 1969 Mini 9X prototype (blue) Issigonis hatchback design to replace the Mini 1970 Mini, ADO 70 small open car built on a Mini Clubman chassis, bodied by Michelotti but never produced 1971 Mini Cooper S mark 3 one of the last Cooper S models 1974 Mini Clubman, SRV4 safety research vehicle 1976 Mini 9X gearless prototype (green) Issigonis designed Mini prototype with experimental gearless transmission 1984 Mini Moke Portuguese built Moke

1992 Mini Cord Venezuelan built car with plastic body 1995 Mini ‘Minki 2’ prototype Mini with increased track and K series engine 2000 Mini Cooper the very last of the original Mini design. Driven off the Longbridge line by Lulu. 5,387,862 produced. 2001 MINI Cooper early BMW manufactured MINI


  • 1935 Morgan Supersports three-wheeler Matchless engined


1929 Morris Minor tourer

1886 Benz replica



Rolls Royce


Rover 6hp

Sinclair Research

Sinclair C5

Standard Motor Company


Triumph Motor Company

Vanden Plas

  • 1965 Vanden Plas 4-litre R
  • 1973 Vanden Plas 2200 prototype one off design for a VDP version of the BL Princess range



Other vehicles

Bicycles and pedal cars

A Starley 'Rover' safety cycle

Loan cars

Several cars on display are on long term loan from the manufacturers

Research services

The Heritage Motor centre offers a research and registry service for several British car marques. For a small fee, owners may send in their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN - aka chassis number) and/or engine numbers, and they will research the original production records for that vehicle and send back whatever information on the vehicle is available. This can include such details as a list of the options the car was ordered with, the original paint colour and any identification numbers that may be missing.


The museum site host regular motor industry related events wit various shows for individual marques or specific types of vehicle in the extensive grounds surrounding the Museum building. The location near the motorway network ijst south of the West Midlands being in a two hour drive of a large part of the population.

Past events
  • Heritage Commercials show


External links

Coordinates: 52°11′19″N 1°28′50″W / 52.188695°N 1.480577°W / 52.188695; -1.480577

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