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Heritage Motor Centre celebrates its 21st birthday in style

21 car formation
Over 100 VIP guests marked the Heritage Motor Centre (HMC) 21st birthday celebrations on Thursday 1 May. Guests from the media, various car clubs, local councillors and members of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust were invited to the prestigious event including Peter Mitchell, OBE who was the founder Patron of the HMC.  Peter was responsible for securing the funding for the HMC back in 1991. Since the Centre opened on 1 May 1993, its collection has grown and is now renowned as the largest collection of historic British motor cars in the world.

The day’s events included the official opening of the “21 Years 21 Icons” exhibition which will run until the end of December as part of the celebrations. The exhibition features 21 iconic automotive products including 7 motoring icons, 7 motoring inventions and 7 motoring innovators  - from the elegant Jaguar E-type to Cat’s Eyes and iconic motoring figures like Alec Issigonis and William Morris.  

For many, the highlight of the day was the chance to ride and drive in a selection of 21 of the HMC’s finest cars including the very first Land Rover, FAB 1 from Thunderbirds, pre-and-post British Leyland prototypes and racers including a Metro 6R4 and Austins 100hp Grand Prix car from 1908.  

After lunch and birthday cake, a presentation about the new £4 million Heritage Lottery funded Museum Collection Centre (MCC) took place.  Peter Mitchell cut the first turf for the new building which will house the Trusts reserve car collection when it opens in spring 2015. Despite the rain, crowds gathered to watch the beginning of this exciting new project as well as a photo opportunity to take pictures of the 21 cars which had been assembled into the shape of the number 21.  

Tim Bryan, Head of Collections & Interpretation at the Heritage Motor Centre stated "We were delighted to celebrate our 21st birthday – the event enabled our guests to see the collection in action. It was a fantastic celebration and everyone was very positive about our plans for the future, which, along with the new MCC, will enable us to make our collections far more accessible to the public”.  

Peter Mitchell OBE said “I was honoured and delighted to cut the first turf and to know that the Trust is going forward in such a positive way in terms of education and entertainment for both enthusiasts and families”.

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