Some vehicles have moved from the original museum to the Collections Centre, but HUE 166 and gems such as the Darien Gap Range Rover Classic and 1999 Defender SVX concept remain in the museum. They’re now grouped into a dedicated Land Rover zone, some perched on a display ‘mountain’, with new films and interactive features helping to bring their stories to life.
The Collections Centre
On the ground floor of this new £4million and 4500m2 building: historic Jaguars only, taken from the Daimler Heritage Trust’s reserve collection. Up top: four long columns of automotive landmarks, dozens of them Land Rovers. LRO spent a wistful afternoon shuffling between the acres of polished metalwork.
One of the first to catch your eye is Ranulph Fiennes’ tracked Defender 110 (and former LRO feature vehicle) built for the fabled Global Expedition.
Wander along the avenues towards the influx of natural light, and you’ll encounter a Discovery 1 used as a support vehicle in the 1997 Paris-Dakar Rally, a Range Rover Classic Tdi formerly owned by the Prince of Wales, as well as the very first Freelander 1 and the very last Freelander 2 (spanning a complete epoch for Halewood). At the far end, a Camel Trophy Discovery 1, and one of two Discovery 2s that drove around the world on as part of Land Rover’s 1998 ‘Tempest Trek’.
But arguably the greatest landmark of them all is one that looks least like a Land Rover. Nestled behind ‘Buttercup’ (a huge, a bright yellow one-off Forward Control recovery truck) and totally overshadowed, is a rather faded, dusty blue contraption known as the Road Rover.
It’s one of possibly three rather ham-fisted experimental vehicles that Rover made in the late 1950s but never put into production. The project quietly died, only to be reborn in the ‘60s in the guise of the Velar programme that gave rise to the original Range Rover. That humble Road Rover is the ultimate ancestor of greatest luxury 4x4 in automotive history.
On your way out, have a peer over the balcony into the new workshop bays below. On our visit the museum’s technicians were busy fitting a new brake master cylinder to a 1983 Series III Lightweight, while tinkering with a 2002 Rolls Royce. Probably not a bad job, that one…
Access to the Collections Centre is by guided tour only, which is included with your ticket to the Museum (Adults £14, kids £9). There are four tours per day, the last being at 3pm.
For more details, visit the British Motor Museum's website.
Fancy receiving the latest Land Rover news direct to your inbox? Sign up to our FREE newsletter here.