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A Trip Down Memory Lane for Father’s Day

If you’re searching for a unique and unforgettable gift for Dad this Father’s Day, why not take him on a nostalgic trip down memory lane? At our museum, the Great British Car Journey, we boast an impressive collection of over 150 cars, with more than 50 available on the Drive Dad’s Car driving fleet for Dad to actually get behind the wheel and drive! Each car is a piece of automotive history, ready to reignite cherished memories and create new ones.
 
Whether you’re planning to visit us on Father’s Day itself or prefer the flexibility of a voucher for a future adventure, we believe this is the perfect opportunity to give Dad a truly nostalgic gift that he’ll treasure for years to come
 
So why settle for the ordinary when you can gift him an extraordinary journey through time?

Special Offer to Drive 2 Cars for just £99

This Father’s Day, make memories that will last a lifetime with this very special Drive Dad’s Car offer! Treat your dad to an unforgettable nostalgic experience with our Double the Memories special and enjoy the ultimate trip down memory lane together!

He can drive any 2 cars: Let Dad choose from our prestigious driving fleet of over 50 classic cars. Once purchased the voucher is valid for 12 months so can be used any time 

Share the excitement together! Dad can take you along for the ride as a passenger in both drives for free and you both get free museum entry too.

Sold separately this would normally cost £156, but for Father’s Day, it’s yours for just £99!. So don’t miss out and order today as offer ends midnight on the 15th June 2024

WARNING – we cannot be held responsible for your Dad’s actions if the following words are uttered during the drive:  “Are we nearly there yet?!” Or “I need a wee!”

All Dads Get Free Admission on Sunday 16th June

Make this Father’s Day truly memorable with our exclusive online only offer! 

Our special Father’s Day Family Ticket admits up to 4 adults and 3 children for just £38! so you can all enjoy a day filled with nostalgia as you all reminisce over old family cars and days gone by. We even have a child-friendly tour to keep younger members of the family entertained. The Filling Station Cafe is open too providing meals & snacks

Dads Go FREE: Show your appreciation for Dad with this special offer! Save £32 on the normal price as up to two 2 Dads can enjoy complimentary admission on Father’s Day with every family ticket.

This offer is valid only for pre-booked family tickets booked for admission on Father’s Day – 16th June 2024.

Give Dad the gift of a memorable experience this Father’s Day with Great British Car Journey. Book your tickets now and embark on a fun trip down memory lane

This fun video might bring back some memories and explain why we think a drive in one of our cars might make the perfect Father’s Day gift 

We also have an online shop with other great gift ideas for Father’s Day 

  • Gifts for over 100 different makes of car
  • 25+ different types of product available
  • Vouchers & Gift Cards
  • Fathers Day Cards 
  • Posters from the Museum
  • Upload your own car photo gifts 
  • Personalised signs & gifts

Founders Blog: My Missed Weekend of British Car Bliss – Reflections and Celebrations

Missing out on the most bustling weekend in the history of Great British Car Journey was a profound disappointment for me, especially as both days featured events showcasing cars from my home City about which I have become increasingly enthused.

Firstly, I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the passionate Rover and MG owners who graced us with their presence on Saturday. The venue was brimming with the iconic and often overlooked vehicles built at Longbridge and Cowley before the tragic events of April 2005. The fact that so many of these cars have survived is a pretty fair indication of how good they actually were and their exceptional quality. While I cherish my trusty daily drive, a Diesel Rover 75, the allure of taking a spin in an MG ZT, particularly in its V6 iteration, is undeniable. Kudos to Pete Stevens for his outstanding restyling work, transforming these cars from timeless and safe (not a criticism) to hot and desirable. The enduring appeal of models like the ZR stands as a testament to their greatness.

However, despite my eagerness to partake, I found myself unavoidably detained in London due to a scheduled operation planned some months ago. Consequently, I missed out not only on Longships and Octagons but also our Austin Extravaganza, our inaugural “Masters of the Marque Awards Powered by Wera Tools“.

The idea behind this series of events promoted by Great British Car Journey in 2024 is to encourage owners of a single marque to gather together, enjoy the experience and facilities at Great British Car Journey, and celebrate the complete history of whatever marque is highlighted on the day. While predominantly focused on Great British Marques, there are also (in the spirit of the six nations Rugby) events for both French and Italian cars too.

Wera Tools who make some truly amazing, innovative hand tools have generously agreed to sponsor these events so as well as provide nice trophies for the winners. There are also valuable and useful tools to be won by those cars who catch the Judges’ eyes. With upcoming events tailored for both Rover and MG enthusiasts (with Rovers Return – 120 years of Rover on Sunday 12 May and MG Summer Festival on Sunday 14 July), we very much hope that many of Saturday’s guests will make a welcome return soon. Find the complete list of upcoming Master of the Marque events here.

Yesterday, we celebrated the cars which were fortunate to be born Austins including of course Austin Healey, Nash, Princess and other brands full of Austin DNA. A great turn out saw some very worthy winners and I think the great man would have been watching with some satisfaction from a lofty viewpoint. Congratulations to all the winners and I hope to meet and greet you in person as soon as possible. Find the winners here.

This coming Sunday 21 April 2024 marks Drive It Day, and Great British Car Club has planned a great drive out planned featuring a visit to Derbyshire’s only Doubly Thankful village on some amazingly tiny roads. If you don’t know what I am talking about, use Google to find out! It’s not too late to book a space and help raise funds for ChildLine and support the Federation of Historic British Vehicle Clubs who do a great job ensuring that we can go on enjoying our cars. If you are interested in joining us on Drive It Day, either on the drive or in the attraction, there’s plenty on offer – find out more here.

So, despite the decidedly chilly weather, the classic car season is well underway for us. Though unfortunately I won’t be able to drive for a few weeks but I eagerly anticipate my return to Ambergate very soon. 

Lastly, I extend my sincere gratitude to the staff at King Edward VII’s Hospital for their attentive care during my brief stay. To those reading, especially those over 50, I implore you to undergo the annual PSA blood test—it won’t cost you anything and it may just save your life.

Great British Car Journey launches Masters of the Marque Awards

Masters of the Marque powered by Wera Tools awards and prizes

Honouring people who cherish their classic cars, Great British Car Journey has launched its own Masters of the Marque Awards – the classic car industry’s alternative awards.

The awards have been launched in conjunction with Wera Tools UK Ltd, a specialist tool manufacturer based in Derbyshire. The company has been making high quality hand tools packed with innovative features since 1936. 

 “I am delighted to have fellow Derbyshire business Wera Tools UK onboard with our new Masters of the Marque Awards,” said Richard Usher, founder of the awards and the award-winning classic car museum in Ambergate, Derbyshire.

“These awards are purposefully quirky and quite different to anything else in the industry, very like our attraction. I wanted to recognise the thousands of classic car enthusiasts who love their cars, and have personally restored and maintain them at home,” he explained.

Winners of the awards will receive a glass trophy and items from the Wera Tools range worth up to £90. 

Additionally, all visitors to Masters of the Marque events who arrive in a vehicle corresponding with the event marque, will each receive a commemorative metal plaque.

Richard added: “We get such an array of vehicles at our marque-specific events so I was keen not to have specific categories that would limit entrants or, indeed winners. Myself or the team will personally judge all vehicles and decide on which vehicles and their owners stand out to me.”

With the exception of one, there are no set categories, and the awards can only be entered by attending one of Great British Car Journey’s Masters of the Marque events

One of the awards at each event will include the ‘Car We’d Like to Steal’ title. Richard explained: “Whenever we have events in the carpark, the Great British Car Journey team and I find ourselves wandering around the carpark and saying ‘crikey, we’d love to have that in the exhibition’ to each other.”

There are currently a number of Masters of the Marque events scheduled until the end of the year at Great British Car Journey.

14 April                Austin Extravaganza
28 April               Auto Italiane
06 May                Morgans in May (including all niche British sports car marques)
12 May                 Rovers Return – 120 Years of Rover
19 May                 Voitures Francaises
26 May                Spring Mini Day
02 June               A Fiesta of Fords
09 June               Morris Minor Day (open to all Morris’)
23 June               Reliant Regatta
14 July                 MG Summer Festival
18 August            Show Your Rootes  
26 August            Mini 65th Birthday
08 September     A Triumph of Triumphs

“I welcome owners of all cars related to their respective marques to attend. For instance, latterly produced Metros and Maestros don’t bear the Austin badge but they were definitely part of the marque and so are included in the awards,” added Richard.

Entry into the Great British Masters of the Marque in association with Wera Tools is simple; just turn up to the event in a corresponding marque of car. Winners from the above events will be invited to a Grand Celebration at the end of the year to crown an overall winner.

The cost to enter is just £10 per vehicle occupant, which also gives them full access to the museum and its facilities. 

Find out all the details on how to register to attend the Masters of the Marque events and buy discounted advance tickets here

Find out more about our inaugural Austin Extravaganza Masters of the Marque Event powered by Wera Tools here.

Please Vote for us in the Muddy Awards 2024

Great British Car Journey has made it through to the finals for the Best Family Attraction in the Muddy Awards 2024

Thank you to all who took the time and nominated us – we’re thrilled to learn that we’ve now made it through to the finals for the accolade of ‘Best Family Attraction’ in the Muddy Awards 2024.

It means the world to us to be recognised locally in this category. We have worked hard to develop our children’s interactive tour to keep them entertained and learning throughout the attraction. Plus our themed treasure hunts and recent kids go free offers during school holidays. Keep your eyes peeled for new initiatives and introductions specifically for our younger guests!

Now we need your help!

We’d love it if you could now take a moment to vote for us using the following link, before Thursday April 2024: https://nottsderbyshire.muddystilettos.co.uk/awards/vote

It takes just seconds to vote – you do need to remember to verify your vote by clicking the link in the email you will receive after you vote. Thank YOU in advance! 

Great British Car Journey acquires AROnline

Great British Car Journey has acquired the AROnline website from its founder Keith Adams.

AROnline was established in 2001 by Keith and has grown to become regarded as the ultimate resource for fans of British motoring history, boasting nearly 6,000 published articles.

Richard Usher, founder of the museum, commented: “As a classic car authority and renowned journalist, Keith was a terrific help to us four years ago when we were putting Great British Car Journey together. He has been a stalwart supporter of our vision.

“AROnline is a ready-made archive of the history behind the majority of our exhibits, and it is a site I have been visiting for more years than I care to admit. It made absolute sense to acquire the site and give our visitors and club members access to even more of the UK’s very rich automotive history.”

Keith Adams said: “I am delighted that the future of AROnline has been secured and I am pleased to be able to retain control of the past and future content by working with Richard and his team.

“There are no plans to change the website in any material way or introduce any form of subscription charge. It has always been a free resource and the intention is that it stays that way.”

The acquisition of AROnline follows the Autocar deal in 2022, which saw Great British Car Journey secure an agreement to reproduce articles and artwork from the 125-year Autocar magazine archive.

Richard added: “We want Great British Car Journey to become recognised as the authority and place to go for all British motoring history, whether that’s viewing cars, driving them, hanging pictures of them on their wall or, now, reading about them at AROnline.”

Great British Car Journey opened in May 2021 and is a celebration of cars built in Britain. Richard, a lifelong car enthusiast and being born in Birmingham, has a natural affinity with cars built in the Midlands and beyond.

Keith has been similarly car obsessed from a very early age and has had a long journalistic career during which he has written articles for all the leading classic car magazines and is currently editor of Parker’s Guide.

Between them, Richard and Keith have owned more than 500 cars and have an abiding interest in the cars that gave the ordinary family the freedom of the road.

AROnline can continue to be accessed at www.aronline.co.uk.

What Are Our Hero Cars?

We have produced so many great cars in the UK that are on display at the Great British Car Journey but we often get asked what are the top cars and why? we call these are hero cars and detail them below. You will be able to see and drive these Great British Car Hero’s when you visit our attraction   

Mini

Perhaps the greatest of them all : The Mini 1959-2000

Like the Morris Minor the Mini was designed by Alec Issigonis and becane the most popular car ever produced in the UK. Some 5.4 Million Minis were made between 1959 and 2000

The Mini is a masterpiece: despite being only ten feet long, it will accommodate four adults and a reasonable amount of luggage and transport them at a very reasonable pace.

75% of the Mini’s footprint is devoted to passengers and luggage with the engine, gearbox and all the mechanical bits only taking up 25%. Everything about the mechanical package is clever and innovative and the result is a tiny car that delivers on every front.

The Mini also performed David-like on the Monte Carlo Rally and on race tracks around the world slaying the Goliaths from Ford and almost everyone else.

Supposedly replaced by the Metro in 1980 , the Mini refused to die and long after the Metro had been killed off the last Mini was driven off the line in Birmingham by Lulu on October 4th 2000.

Austin Seven

The Austin Seven was produced between 1922-1939 and pioneered car ownership for the common man and his family. Hitherto condemned to a motorbike possibly tethered to a side-car, Austin’s little car offered the tantalising prospect of being able to take the family for days out and even holidays at the coast : it offered freedom to explore a world away from cramped and dirty towns and cities by taking to Britain’s network of winding country roads.

By the mid 1930s despite the economic traumas earlier in the decade, a second-hand Austin 7 could be had for similar money to a motor bike combination and Britain’s Motorcycle industry would never be the same again.

By the outbreak of war in 1939, more than 300,000 Sevens had been built and as Morris and Ford joined the small car party, the hard-working couple could give their family a freedom of mobility that transformed the way we live.The Seven’s little engine produced less than 20 horsepower and fully laden it would struggle to reach 40mph,

The Seven was alsoproduced under license in France, Germany, the USA and Japan

Escort

The launch of the Ford Escort in 1968 was a seminal moment in British motoring history: For the next half century Escorts would be everywhere : on every street of every city ,town and village there would be an Escort…and then they started to disappear until now in 2024, you might go a week or even a month without even seeing one.

Unlike some of our other heroes, the Escort was able to completely reinvent itself over the years so that the last cars bore no resemblance at all to the Mk1 s of the 60s and 70s. The Escort of 2000 was a marketing creation and could be given a new name at any time whereas the Austin Seven, Morris Minor and the Mini were fundamentally the same cars for all the years that they were produced.

Morris Minor

After the Second World War, car production was slow to restart anywhere in the world and many manufacturers just dusted off their pre-war models in the hope that they would do.

Herbert Austin was dead but his great rival William Morris was still at the helm of his company and employing a young expatriate by the name of Alec Issigonis. Issigonis was to design the next great family car to occupy suburban drives all over the UK : the Morris Minor. Launched at the 1948 London Motor Show, the Minor was a quantum leap forward from the Austin Seven 

Morris himself didn’t like the Minor and continued to drive a pre-war model but the public loved it and in 1960 the millionth Minor rolled off the production line at Crowley being the first British car to reach this considerable milestone.

Rolls Royce

Henry Royce started making cars in 1904 and Rolls Royce was founded in 1906 when he was introduced to car dealership owner Charles Rolls. They increased their portfolio by purchasing potential competitor Bentley in 1931 Rolls-Royce Motors Limited was incorporated 1971 after the companies diversification into aircraft engines went wrong and it fell into receivership Perhaps the most famous Rolls Royce the iconic Silver Shadow was produced between 1965 and 1980. A Bentley version of the Silver Shadow, known as the Bentley T was also produced A marketing survey in 1987 showed that only Coca-Cola was a more widely known brand than Rolls-Royce, confirming its status as one of the most iconic cars ever to be made in the UK

Whats Going on in April at Great British Car Journey – Happy Easter!

Spring Is In The Air At Ambergate

– We are now finally open 7 days a week!

– Drive Dads Car on for eight days in April

– Back by popular demand, we are running our DeLorean rides on selected days in April

– Kids go absolutely FREE March 29th – April 14th

– A Fun easter egg hunt for the Kids, find all 9 spots where Riley the Rabbit’s hiding

TWO New Additions to our Driving Fleet!

appearing in april socials

Hop into 2 ultra rare and super cool classics this easter! Brand new to our driving fleet for April!

The first is our stunning 1958 Austin Healey 100/6, which is a reminder of an era of the Great British Sports Car. You can find this in our Luxury collection!

And the second is our 1994 Ford Granada MK3. King of the company car park, for the man who made it in sales. You can find this in our Classic collection!

DeLorean Rides In April

  • Back by popular demand, we are brining back our DeLorean rides on the 30th March and the 3rd, 6th, 10th and 13th April! Come and have a ride in our 1980s DeLorean DMC 12 for just £10 a lap.

Kids In The Holidays

  • From the 29th March to the 14th April kids go absolutely FREE
  • They can see a real F1 car, A Delorean, James Bond-style Lotus, Bentley once owned by Sir Elton John and Princess Annes Reliant Scimitar.
  • See cars being driven on selected days and even take a ride/drive yourself
  • Along with the free entry, from the 29th to the 31st of March we have a fab easter egg hunt for your kids to enjoy. Find all 9 spots where Riley The Rabbit is hiding in the attraction, jot down the numberplates of the cars he’s hiding in, and hand the form into reception and you can receive your reward.

What Else Is Going On In April?

Along with running the Drive Dads Car days, we have some great meet ups for you to enjoy too:

For April we have some fantastic events:

  • CHESTERFIELD MG GROUP VISIT Sunday 7th April

  • COFFEES & CARS with Takona Hosting – Sunday 14th April

  • AUSTIN EXTRAVAGANZASunday 14th April

  • PAN CLAN VISIT – HONDA PAN EUROPEAN BIKES – Sunday 14th April
  • DRIVE IT DAY – Sunday 21st April
  • GBCM GREAT BRITISH CAR MEET – Friday 26th April
  • SWEDISH TAKEOVER WITH NORDIK RIDES VOLVO CLUB – Saturday 27th April
  • AUTO ITALIANE – Sunday 28th April

Great British Car Meet - 1st April!

Finally, this month we are having our first Great British Car Meet of the year!

Come down on the 1st of April 10am – 4pm for just £5 per car (free for members)

EVENT DETAILS

10am – 4pm

Book your tickets for the Great British Car Meet here

All makes and models welcome (classic cars, vintage cars or modern cars)…with their owners!

Entrance to the Great British Car Meet is £5 per car.

Great British Car Journey named as one of world’s best auto museums

Research by Auto Trader has revealed that Great British Car Journey is one of the best auto museums in the world.

New research by Auto Trader has revealed that Great British Car Journey is among the top twenty best auto museum experiences in the world.

The research analysed Google review scores and annual global Google searches for over 180 auto museums around the globe. Great British Car Journey in Ambergate and Brooklands Museum are the only two UK car museums to feature in the list.

With an impressive Google review score of 4.8 out of five stars, and 52,800 global searches made for the museum every single year, Great British Car Journey is the 17th most popular and most enjoyable auto museum in the world. 

Top of the list is Gilmore Car Museum in Michigan, USA. Considered to be the largest automobile museum in North America, the Gilmore Car Museum boasts over 400 vintage and collector vehicles. 

World’s Top 20 Best-Rated Auto Museums

Rank Museum Name Location Google Review Score
1 Gilmore Car Museum Michigan, USA 4.9
2 Nethercutt Collection California, USA 4.9
3 Țiriac Collection Otopeni, Romania 4.9
4 Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum Indiana, USA 4.9
5 Revs Institute Florida, USA 4.9
6 Museum of American Speed Nebraska, USA 4.9
7 Automuziejus Vilnius Vilnius, Lithuania 4.9
8 The Henry Ford Museum Michigan, USA 4.8
9 Brooklands Museum Weybridge, England 4.8
10 Lane Motor Museum Tennessee, USA 4.8
11 Blackhawk Automotive Museum California, USA 4.8
12 Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing Florida, USA 4.8
13 National Automobile Museum Nevada, USA 4.8
14 Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Michigan, USA 4.8
15 Malta Classic Car Museum St Paul’s Bay, Malta 4.8
16 Studebaker National Museum Indiana, USA 4.8
17 Great British Car Journey Derbyshire, England 4.8
18 Rahmi M. Koç Museum Istanbul, Turkey 4.8
19 Riga Motor Museum Riga, Latvia 4.8
20 Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum Pennsylvania, USA 4.8

Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, commented: “A love of cars can come in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s leasing your dream make and model or learning about the history of cars and specific brands. For those who enjoy delving into the design, engineering and people behind vehicles, we wanted to highlight the wonderful museums around the world offering car lovers the chance to immerse themselves in the automotive space. As a UK company, we are thrilled to see the likes of Brooklands Museum in Weybridge and Derbyshire’s Great British Car Journey putting Britain on the global map.”

As well as having a fantastic collection of more than 150 UK-designed and made classic cars, Great British Car Journey also offers a unique driving experience – Drive Dad’s Car, which recently won silver in the 2024 Visit Peak District and Derbyshire Tourism Awards.

Purchase discounted tickets and find details of opening times for Great British Car Journey here. Or book a Drive Dad’s Car experience here.

Whats Going on in March at Great British Car Journey

This Month we Have Plenty to Keep You Interested

March is shaping up to be a fantastic month here at the Great British Car Journey, especially as all the winter weather starts to make way for spring. From Friday 15th March we will be back open 7 days a week 

So if you have children or grandchildren to entertain, why not bring them to our interactive museum featuring iconic cars made in Britain. See a real F1 racer and a car made more than 120 years ago.

We are also running our Drive Dad’s Car driving experiences   on the 2nd, 10th, 16th, 20th, 24th, 27th, and 30th March and we have two exciting new additions to the fleet to wet your appetite (see below)

On the 10th of March bring down your mum for Mothers Day, or how about checking out the events we are holding throughout March…

TWO New Additions to our Driving Fleet!

Introducing two ultra-rare and uber-cool 1980s British Sports Saloons to our driving fleet!

The first is our stunning 1986 Rover SD1 Vitesse Twin Plenum, with its 3500 V8 and manual gearbox this legendary car is certain to put a smile on anyone’s face

And the second is our 1989 MG Montego 2.0 EFi. This sporty saloon makes a perfect addition to our MG Maestro also on our fleet, especially with 115hp under the bonnet

WHY NOT BRING MUM FOR A TRIP DOWN
MEMORY LANE ON SUNDAY 10th MARCH

Mum’s car was probably just as important as Dad’s in your early life. It was probably Mum who took you to school, dragged you to the shops and acted as a taxi to all those teenage parties. It was probably Mum’s car in which you learned to drive and from which on that joyful day, the L plates were removed. Before you bought your first car, it was probably Mum’s that you borrowed?

So why not buy Mum a slice of nostalgia for Mother’s Day and bring her to Great British Car Journey? She will almost certainly see some of the cars she has owned and you can book her a ride or drive in one of her favourites.

Mother’s Day is all about the memories of all the great things Mum has done for you. For most of us, Mum’s cars were a large part of that rich tapestry of love.

Share your Mum’s car memories with us on Facebook: our favourite three will win a £10 voucher for use in our “Filling Station” café.

THE FILLING STATION CAFE IS ALSO OPEN ON MOTHERING SUNDAY FOR CREAM TEAS & MEALS

WHATS ELSE GOING ON IN MARCH?

Along with running the Drive Dads Car days, we have some great meet ups for you to enjoy too:

For March we have some fantastic events:

  • COFFEES & CARS with Takona Hosting – Sunday 10th March

  • BRITISH MINI CLUB BREAKFAST VISIT – Sunday 17th March

  • SOUTH MIDLANDS ALFA ROMEO OWNERS CLUB – Sunday 24th March

 

Introducing the Aston Martin Lagonda to the collection

Aston Martin Lagonda V8

The latest addition to the Great British Car Journey collection, is this amazing 1980 V8 Aston Martin Lagonda.

The launch of the Lagonda in 1976 saw Aston Martin take on Rolls Royce and Bentley in the fast four-seater luxury market.

When it was unveiled at the London Motor Show there was a real sense of excitement with its bold ‘folded paper’ styling being matched by a fully electronic dashboard and control panels which looked as if they had come from a spaceship. Despite a price tag 44 years ago of almost £50,000, the car caused a sensation with nearly 200 deposits were taken at launch. 

However, production was painfully slow as the electronics proved stubbornly unreliable. It was more than a year before Lady Tavistock took delivery of the first customer car, by which time King Charles had already taken a test drive. Some 640 of these cars were made between 1977 and 1990, many being exported to America and the Middle East.

Powered by a 5.4 litre V8 running on Weber carburettors, the Lagonda could reach 60mph in 8.5 seconds and achieve a top speed of 148mph. The Lagonda epitomised the optimism of the late 70s and early 80s – it looked like no other four-seater car and was guaranteed to pull a crowd.

This car was delivered to its first owner by Aston Martin agents: Donaldson and Evans on 1st October 1980. Its last owner loved and looked after the car for more than 30 years and it has only covered a mere 17,000 miles – in remarkable condition for its age.

Designed by William Towns, the distinctive shape divides opinion like Marmite as can be seen here.

One thing is certain – no British company will produce such a distinctive, dramatic and expensive four seater powered by petrol again.

We are grateful to Aston Engineering in Derby for finding this car and helping us recommission her.

Incredibly rare Derbyshire-made car returns home

Paramount

An incredibly rare piece of Derbyshire’s car making history has made a return to the county. 

Better known for the manufacture of Rolls-Royces and Toyotas, few people know that in the 1950s, Derbyshire was also home to the production of the now almost forgotten Paramount car.

And now, the fifth Paramount car ever made has gone on display at Great British Car Journey after being discovered at a classic car auction.

Richard Usher, founder and director of Great British Car Journey explained: “We consider ourselves experts in British classic cars but even the Paramount was a mystery to the team here. We had no idea this car even existed. It wasn’t until we were alerted to its local history that we knew we had to have it and bring it home. The Paramount really is a forgotten piece of Derbyshire’s motoring heritage.”

Only 10 Paramount cars were manufactured at the factory in Swadlincote and all of them bear the registration PNU, and were numbered 1 – 10. Great British Car Journey’s Paramount original number plate would have been PNU 4.

“We’d love to trace another of the Swadlincote Paramounts, but we think it’s highly unlikely any will be in existence which makes ours even more special,” said Richard.

Just 16 Paramounts were produced in Derbyshire; first at the Swadlincote factory and then later in Melbourne, until production moved to Buckinghamshire in 1953.  In total, just 76 Paramount cars were made until 1956 when production ceased.

“Our brilliant team at Great British Car Journey have already got the car running and looking a lot smarter than when she arrived,” he added.

According to an advert from 1950, the beautiful red, four seater convertible Paramount was ‘designed to provide a sports car of exceptional beauty whilst retaining the distinctive British character favoured by most sports drivers.’

The Paramount boasts Triumph running gear underneath its all-aluminium bodywork which is stretched over a wooden ash frame mounted on a tubular metal chassis.

Richard added: “The car is beautifully made. It is testament to the skills of the craftsmen who made her, as the bodywork is full of complex curves.” 

The Paramount now joins Great British Car Journey’s only other Derbyshire made car in the interactive classic car exhibition – a Rolls-Royce once owned by Scouts founder Lord Baden Powell.

To see the car on display at Great British Car Journey, purchase discounted tickets and find details of opening times here

Great British Car Share Series 2 Now Available

After the success of Series 1 of the Great British Car Share the deadly duo Paul and Sarah are back together for Series 2 to continue their automotive journey down memory lane in some more of the Drive Dads Car fleet of classic British Cars available to drive. We are sure you will enjoy watching them try out the same cars that are available for our classic British Car driving experience. Cars driven include some real classic 60s & 70s cars including a Land Rover MK1, Triumph Stag and Ford Capri 

You can view our full You Tube Channel by clicking the red button below or click on the individual video thumbnails to watch different episodes

You will also be able to see all episodes from Series 1 here too

If you are interested in driving some of these cars yourself (or giving as a gift to someone else) then you can click on the blue button below to see the full fleet of cars available 

We hope you enjoy The Great British Car Share and it inspires you to visit Drive Dads Car or the Great British Car Journey for a very personal trip down memory lane where you will find many of the cars you grew up with

New Drive Dads Car Themed Bundles

Some of the most frequent feedback we get from people taking our Drive Dad’s Car driving experiences is that they “wish they could try more cars” or that “their drive reminded them of a particular moment in their life” – this feedback gave us the idea to launch a new range of multi car bundles tp help people get more out of their experience. Detailed below are the first of our new themed bundles being launched at a very special price just for this Christmas. Do you know anyone that might enjoy one of these?

If you like, loved or ever owned a Mini then you are bound to enjoy this 3 car experience.

You will get to drive 3 different Minis starting with the original MK1 Mini then see how it evolved and changed into the MK2 and then finally how it was refined to become the legendary racing car the Mini Cooper.

You will also get to see even more Minis as entrance to our interactive museum is also included as part of the bundle  

If you enjoyed TV detectives from the 70s and 80s then you will love our 3 car detective package.

Whether you are being Jack Regan from the Sweeney, Bodie or Doyle from the Professionals or the slightly more sedate Foyle you are bound to have a great day driving those 3 classic vehicles

You will also get to see even more Detectives Cars as entrance to our interactive museum is also included as part of the bundle. Including Morse’s Jaguar  

Herbert Austin was a pioneer of the British Car Industry and this unique bundle will let you experience how his cars evolved from 1937 to 1971.

You will drive 3 classic Austins starting with an Austin Seven you will then experience the next generation Austin A30 (launched to compete with the Morris Minor) and finally get to drive an iconic Austin 1275 GT

You will also get to see even more Austins as entrance to our interactive museum is also included as part of the bundle  

Career route starts at Great British Car Journey for new apprentice

Another young, classic car enthusiast has kick-started their career at Great British Car Journey.

Riley Smith (19), from Underwood, has embarked on a Level Three Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing at the museum.

He joins from Ashfield School where he completed A Levels in Computer Studies, Physics, and Business Studies.

Keen to get his career started after school, Riley explained: “I didn’t want to go to university. I knew that I wanted to have a lived-experience of industry. Great British Car Journey has been a fantastic starting point for that to happen and I am looking forward to putting my Business Studies A Level into practice here.”

In his new role at the classic car visitor attraction, Riley will be helping to market Great British Car Journey’s new online range of merchandise.

Riley’s journey with Great British Car Journey began last year when he completed a work experience placement. Subsequently, the placement helped Riley secure a weekend job as a coordinator for our popular Drive Dad’s Car experience.

Richard Usher, Founder and CEO of Great British Car Journey explained: “Riley impressed us from the start. From a successful work experience week, through to his weekends working alongside members of the public; Riley has made an impact with his enthusiasm and willingness to learn.”   

Riley’s enthusiasm for his apprenticeship is evident: “I’m living the dream! I’m restoring my own classic 1275 Mini at home so working at Great British Car Journey is a perfect fit for my future career ambitions and interests.”

Riley is one of two apprentices now employed at the museum. Its heritage apprentice Luke Henshaw was named as the Tourism Young Achiever in 2022 in the Visit Peak District and Derbyshire Tourism Awards. Last year, the attraction was named as the best New Tourism Business in the Visit Peak District and Derbyshire Tourism Awards.

As the award-winning classic car attraction continues to go from strength-to strength, Richard reflects: “We are in a position to offer unique and meaningful apprenticeships and Riley is already making the most of his placement with us.

“The cars at Great British Car Journey here may have a rich history, but we are delighted to offer Riley a bright future with us.”

You can check out visiting times and book tickets to visit us here.

Christmas Lunches & Dinners at the Filling Station Cafe

We’re delighted to now offer evening meals alongside our Christmas lunches at the Filling Station Cafe this festive season for just £18.95 for 2-courses or £20.95 for 3-courses.

You and your friends, group, colleagues, organisation or family can book Monday to Thursday from 6pm-8pm throughout both November and December or Monday to Thursday in November from 12pm-2pm, and Monday to Friday in December 12pm-2pm for a really unique Christmas treat. We have a delicious traditional Christmas menu or you can choose from our standard menu 

For more information please contact us or email ian@greatbritishcarjourney.com to book your festive get-together (minimum group size is 15 and maximum 40).

The Great British Car Journey is also a unique destination for any Corporate Event in Derbyshire 

We can also arrange private tours of the attraction during the winter months or classic car driving sessions tailored to your specific group 

We are a lot more than just a summer visitor attraction and can offer the best Christmas events in Ambergate, Derbyshire and the Peak District for anybody that enjoys a bit of nostalgia   

 

What’s Your Favourite Classic British Car?

The idea behind the launch of our Great British Cars Range was to make sure we had merchandise available for every classic British Car

As T-Shirts seemed to be the most popular part of the range we thought we would launch a campaign to Wear Your Favourite Car. Our range of high quality soft style cotton unisex T-Shirts is proving to be a great way to let people share their favourite British Cars with the rest of the world. All you have to do is 

    1. Select favourite car from over 80 different models
    2. Decide what colour t-shirt is needed
    3. Choose size required 

You are now ready to let the world know what is your favourite car

You can share your favourite or these t-shirts also make the perfect gift for other car lovers

‘Molly’ motors towards milestone birthday at Great British Car Journey

The only unrestored early Austin Seven AB Tourer in existence has arrived at Great British Car Journey. She will be on public display throughout half term.

‘The Austin Seven ‘Chummy’ or Molly’ as she is known to her owner David Mawby, celebrated her 100th birthday at the award- winning classic car attraction in Ambergate, Derbyshire.

Despite being 100 years old, the car has just 19,000 miles on her clock and is in all original condition, including the paintwork, upholstery, engine and hood.

Molly was one of the very first Austin Sevens to roll off the production line in 1923 when the world’s first affordable mass-produced family car went into production. By 1939 when production finally ended, 290,000 Austin Seven cars and vans had been made.

A small handful of Austin Sevens remain to this day; however, Molly is the only one not to have been restored in any way. Although fragile, she can even still be driven.

First registered in 1923, Molly has had a fascinating history, including an appearance on TV, when she was awarded the prize for the most original Austin Seven by Top Gear in 1982.

She spent just three years on the road after being purchased from new before being laid up in 1926 when her first owner died. She remained hidden away until 1950 when his widow died, and the car was then sold.

The car was then purchased by a garage where it was mainly used for display purposes. The garage owner retained the car when he retired and only lightly used it. Molly has since had a couple of other owners, who have also resisted the temptation to restore her.

Current owner David explained how he acquired this unique piece of motoring history in 2007: “My interest in her began on my 21st birthday when I was given a copy of the ‘Original Austin Seven’ magazine featuring Molly as the main story. I had always admired original cars and had dreamt of owning this AB Tourer. I traced her owner, and he sold it to me under the strict condition that I would never sell her.”

Delighted to welcome Molly to the museum exhibition, Richard Usher, founder and CEO of Great British Car Journey who was treated to a ride in Molly, said; “It is always a pleasure to welcome significant historic cars to the museum, especially when they were made at Longbridge. As a Brummie boy myself, I am always overwhelmed by the magic of the Austin Seven and a ride in Molly was a real lifetime motoring highlight.

“The Austin Seven is one of the hero cars of Great British Car Journey so to have Molly with us for her 100th birthday is extraordinary, She’s a must-see for all Austin enthusiasts. But be quick, she’s not with us for long!”

This October half term (from Saturday 21st October until Sunday 5th November), kids go free at Great British Car Journey. Just use the code KGF23 when booking online and any child’s ticket you buy with a full price adult ticket will be free. Find out more here.

For details of all opening times, visit here.

A very big Italian Mini adventure for Practical Classics editor starts at Great British Car Journey

DAanny Hopkins, editor of Practical Classics with the Great British Car Journey Mini

Great British Car Journey friend and Practical Classics Editor Danny Hopkins has begun his own Mini adventure 23 years to the day after the classic Mini ceased production (4 October 2000).

Richard Usher, founder and CEO of GBCJ has lent Danny his own classic Mini Cooper Sport from the museum’s collection which he will use to take part in the legendary Italian Job run in aid of Buttle UK, a charity dedicated to helping children and young people in crisis.

When he heard about Danny’s epic adventure for charity, Richard was happy to lend his own Mini for the adventure. He explained: “I’ve known Danny for a number of years and share his enthusiasm for anything with four wheels (and some with three). When I heard what he wanted to do and all about the charity, I had no hesitation in lending him my personal Mini.”

Richard handed over the branded Mini to Danny at GBCJ ahead of him starting his epic Italian adventure. On Monday 9 October, Danny will join 30+ Minis in his specially branded Mini, for a 14-day blast to and through Italy. The journey starts with a run to Imola via Nurburgring and Munich.

During the 2,000 mile charity jaunt to Turin, the classic Mini convoy will then blast through Modena and Sienna to Turin, before heading back to the UK through the Alps. Along the way, Danny will be visiting Ferrari, the founder of which, Enzo Ferrari was known to be the owner of at least one Mini.

Most importantly of all, however, Danny will be raising cash for the charity during his travels.

“Raising cash for Buttle UK is what this is all about,’ said Danny.  “They are a wonderful charity, helping kids in difficult situations so, unlike Harry and the boys in the film, I aim to get back to the UK with a lot of cash.” 

The GBCJ Mini was registered on 18 October 2000. It boasts just 11,000 miles on the clock and is in fine running order after being serviced in the GBCJ workshop by our resident classic car technicians, Doc Lawrence and his able apprentice Luke Henshaw. Vintage Tyres have also supplied a full set of new rubber tyres.

Richard added: “The Mini is the hero car of Great British Car Journey and this little example is sure gonna have a story to tell when it returns from its travels. It will be going back on display with an extra 2,500 miles on the clock and all its decals!”

We’ll be following Danny’s Mini adventure on GBCJ social media channels each day as he sends us video diary updates. Follow our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram  

“It’s an amazing collaborative effort,” added Danny, “but I don’t want it to be in vain so feel free to dig deep… and walk tall having done a good thing. I’ll be doing regular updates as I go… it’s a long way in a little car. I promise I won’t blow the bloody doors off though.”

You can donate to Buttle UK via Danny’s JustGIving page here

Photo Prints of Classic Cars Now Available

We have had some great feedback on the quality of the photographs of the various classic cars in the Great British Car Journey that we have used to create the new Great British Cars Merchandise Range

So we have decided to invest in a high quality professional photo printer so we can supply these images as Sublimation Photo Prints at affordable prices

These prints are now available in our online store and in our gift shop at Ambergate

  • They are a high quality 12′ x 8″ gloss photo print 
  • Supplied as standard in a black card photo frame with silver insert at an entry price of just £9.95
  • They can also be upgraded to be supplied in a wooden photo frame for just £19.95  

Special Deal 

Buy 2 Get 1 Free – 3 Prints for Under £20

Browse over 75 iconic images of classic British Cars all photographed taken of actual cars from our interactive museum and driving experience 

  1. Choose your favourite 3 cars – we know its hard to pick from so many classics 
  2. Add them to your shopping basket
  3. This will automatically give you the 3rd product free of charge
  4. Checkout and pay for your order
  5. Prints will be delivered in approximately 5 days 
  6. Keep to yourself or share with friends 

Stylish New Clear Water Bottle Range Launched

As part of our commitment to continue rolling out new products as part of the Great British Cars range, we are delighted to announce the launch of a range of multi image water bottle designs for our most popular cars.

The designs feature small images of our actual cars (from the Great British Cars Range) printed on the clear bottles with a durable UV cured ink to make them both practical and stylish for all car lovers.

This style of water bottle has become increasing popular and ours are both unique and priced at just £12.95 each.

This 750ml capacity clear water bottle is a great way to keep yourself hydrated and fits perfectly in most car cup holders. It is easy to carry around so stops you using disposable plastic bottles so both saves you money and the planet!

It has a screw top lid with a foldable spout that helps you to avoid spills and the internal straw means it’s easy to drink from without tipping the bottle.