Gaydon Shows British Motor History in 50 Objects

The story of the British car will be told in 50 objects in a major new exhibition opening at The British Motor Museum in Gaydon this Friday.

Gaydon Shows British Motor History in 50 Objects
British Motoring Treasures curator Stephen Laing in a 1 965 sectioned Austin Mini

British Motoring Treasures will celebrate the rich history of an industry that has dominated the economic and social history of the West Midlands region for more than a century.

The exhibition, which is will run at the British Motor Museum until March 2018, will showcase the depth and variety of the nationally-designated collections held at the museum.

Each object will have its own story, whether it is a ground-breaking invention or a piece of social history. The exhibition will include archive material, artwork, publicity material, signs, and tools. One example on display will be an original sketch from 1944 by Alec Issigonis of the Mosquito, a car that would be the prototype for the Morris Minor.

This exhibition celebrates the rich history of an industry that has dominated the economic and social development of the West Midlands region for more than a century. The curatorial and archive teams have worked together to find fifty objects which they feel give visitors a flavour of the many hidden treasures within our collection.
— Stephen Laing, Curator, British Motor Museum

There will be three cars on display – an 1899 Wolseley Voiturette, the first four-wheel car that Herbert Austin designed, and a 1965 sectioned Austin Mini which was a revolution in motoring terms. The third car will be revealed when the exhibition opens.

The displays will also feature lesser known aspects of the story, especially the role of the people who designed, built and used the products of the British motor industry. One example will be a selection of recipe cards for meals served in the 25 staff canteens at Longbridge in Birmingham.

The story doesn’t end there. Running alongside the main exhibition, a ‘People’s 50’ will be compiled. These motoring treasures will be chosen by local community groups, ex-car industry employees, and museum staff, with the chosen object representing their personal part of the story of the British motor industry.  These fifty objects will be displayed in the rotation over the coming year and their stories can be followed on the People’s 50 page.

Entry to the British Motoring Treasures exhibition is included in museum entry. Visit The British Motor Museum to find out more about the museum and the exhibition.



  1. Great I will be down there this week. I have the 50 items in my West Midlands shed!

  2. Ian, If you have any items you think may be good to include in our People’s 50 element of the exhibition please get in touch with the Museum through the website or by phone!

  3. I was there yesterday and enjoyed the exhibit and spent some time viewing the cabinets.
    There are some fascinating objects there although the area used has displaced the small selection of cars from Dr Hulls superb collection and I liked the cars better!
    The Museum is great, The oldest Jaguar E Type 77 RW used at Pippa Middleton`s Wedding last week was back on display in the Jaguar Heritage collection yesterday.
    For American Visitors taking advantage of the great US Dollar exchange rate, The Museum is less than an hour from Heathrow Airport, Come on Over!

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