Thursday, July 3, 2014

Coventry Transport Museum


The Coventry Transport Museum holds a certain draw for the car people in the UK, at some point on the perusal through the web looking for information to get you classic/retro car running you’ll end up seeing pictures of a “meet” or “national club event” parked up right outside the entrance in the huge open space. At that point your interest in this place is subliminally placed in your mind popping back up every time you see another shot of a car in the square.



The day started well with loads of parking just nearby at quiet low cost which was a surprise to be honest. 5 minutes later we were on that fabled square I’d seen hundreds of time before out behind whatever car was taking my fancy at the time. Oh and the best thing about the Museum is its totally free to get in, nothing, zip.

The first room you enter I suppose is to wet the taste buds, full of a mixture of vintage vehicles.



You then walk through a history of the Coventry car industry from carriage building to bicycles, motorbikes and then cars. You walk through time and workshops etc. one of the most poignant things to see was the list of motorbike manufacturers form the 30’s there must have been well over 100, move forward to today and there’s none.









It’s when you move into the more modern era, from the 60’s when production really was at its highest that the car start looking more familiar and my Dad who was with me started pointing out “the ones he had”. Again all the exhibits started life in the factories around Coventry with marques such as Austin, Rover and Triumph to name a few. The layout was a road with mock up dealers as well as a production line-



























This rare Triumph Italia was very nice to see.


By the time you get into the “modern” room from the 80’s each car had images of the news from when it was built around it. The Jaguar prototypes were also nice to see, the XK was virtually production ready be the looks of it as was the X-type.


Add in the long forgotten Turbo’d Sunbeam Lotus
 
And a rust free Triumph Acclaim and a few others which showed how the cars produced had diversified to foreign manufacturers at they took advantage of the local skills.

 


 
Just off this room was the “Bicycle” room which I must admit took me back, especially when I saw that Black and Gold Raleigh BMX, the one I had as a kid and would happily have again today.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From there was the motorbike room that was just rammed with bikes in all states of condition from those awaiting some care and attention to some stunning examples recounting the bikes built locally.



 
The final room was the Jaguar room, and was a step up showcasing cars right through the history of the company from huge luxury barges of the 40’s, the sports cars of the 50’s and the saloons of the 70’s and 80’s before looking forward to the future, the prototype of the now defunct super car the C-X75.







 
 
But that’s not all apart from a selection of both random cars and race cars dotted around and the model room (believe me there were a few diecast cars in there I had as a kid), the icing on the cake are the two Trust landspeed record cars.
 
The first is the instantly recognisable gold Thrust 2 that took the crown with builder and driver Richard Noble who in 1983 put his foot down all the way to 633mph in the Black Rock desert.



But walk round the corner and there’s Thrust SCC, the first official car to break the sound barrier with Andy Green behind the wheel this time but still Richard Noble running the show. In 1997 it went on to set the land speed record at 763mph. Housed in its temporary desert home use for the record walking around you can see the forces this thing was under with the scorch marks along the side and how the paint has been chipped off around the wheels by the salt.



I really would recommend you to have a walk round if you’re in the Coventry area you won’t be disappointed and as mentioned above its FREE, above is only a small selection of the vehicles that are on show and the commercial area was closed for works.

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