Jump to content


Photo

Donington Collection closing (Merged)


  • Please log in to reply
251 replies to this topic

#51 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 2,354 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 14 October 2018 - 00:29

Like Terry Walker, as an Aussie we tend to go out of our way to see things. Visiting Donington in September 1994 and July 1997 remain just a couple of examples.

 

Absolutely loved this place. Visitors were few and far between on both my visits too. But a bonus for taking those old fashioned photos that had to be developed. That also meant the number taken was based on film on hand. Not rattle off 2 or 300 like now.

 

Looking back, Wheatie was the ultimate enthusiast. He procured cars with great history when they were 'last year's old nail' stuck them in a big shed that had to be added to as things grew. Then let fellow enthusiasts come and see them. Plus of course, at his whim he could tootle off to the circuit and wind up a BRM or Vanwall or Ferrari or whatever took his fancy that particular day.

 

Donington-1994-01-TNF.jpg

The first photo I took at Donington in 1994 - what was I about to see inside.

 

Donington-1994-02-TNF.jpg

IIRC, where Wheaties habit started

 

Stephen 



Advertisement

#52 Terry Walker

Terry Walker
  • Member

  • 2,958 posts
  • Joined: July 05

Posted 14 October 2018 - 01:30

I understood at the time that the bulk of the McLarens were on loan from Mclaren, but it was a long time ago and I'm probably wrong. I still have my catalogue from 1994 somewhere.  One thing I looked for at Donington was the Ferrari ex Lex Davison, ex Doug Green, which was just rescued by Jim Harwood from being hacked about to make into a sports car.  



#53 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 2,354 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 14 October 2018 - 02:12

Probably this one Terry. But taken in 1997.

 

With the story board spelling Lex Davison's name wrong. The d in his name is silent - so silent it shouldn't be there! But plenty add it.

 

Donington-1997-01-TNF.jpg

 

Stephen



#54 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 49,071 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 14 October 2018 - 13:39

Just returned from what will probably be a farewell visit.  Since my last trip, the collection has indeed been decimated.  There's nothing pre-war other than a fake Mercedes and a Salmson. 

 

Other stuff that's gone includes:

 

-all the Ferraris

-all the Bugattis

-all the Brabhams

-all the American cars (including Scarab)

-all the single-seater Loti bar one

-Senna's Toleman

-the Lec and the wreck

-Thinwall Special

-Monaco Vanwall

-the Sunbeam

-the Auto Union

-the Tyrrells

-that weird modernist 250F analogue

-many older F1 McLarens and Williamses

 

What we have instead, apart from the military vehicles (which are, thankfully, not all Nazi matériel), is a more up-to-date run of Williamses, McLarens, and Jordan/Spyker/Force Indias. 

 

At least many of the older machinery is now on the Historic circuit. 



#55 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 3,665 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 14 October 2018 - 14:09

Thanks, Ensign.
I've been hoping to squeeze a visit in during the coming week - but your news has not done much to heighten my enthusiasm...

#56 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 49,071 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 14 October 2018 - 14:54

Actually there is one Brabham there - the BT60.

 

43499287680_95575160cf_c.jpg



#57 Peter Morley

Peter Morley
  • Member

  • 2,224 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 14 October 2018 - 15:44

Wonder what will happen to the remains of David Purleys LEC ?

 

It's been "rebuilt" and raced in historics recently!

Presumably the wreckage remains exactly as it was displayed at Donington.



#58 doc knutsen

doc knutsen
  • Member

  • 592 posts
  • Joined: May 03

Posted 14 October 2018 - 17:30

I get the impression that although we nearly all mourn its loss,  some of us went regularly, many didn't go often or at all , through geography or other reasons. The place was always deserted, so are we so surprised ? I might make one last valedictory trip. 

I went for the first time back in the early Eighties. Since then, I have made a visit almost every time I went to the UK, introducing many of my Scandinavian friends to the Collection. On one memorable occasion, we had a meal in the cafeteria and Tom Wheatcroft was there, watching a film. i asked him to sign a copy of his book, "Thunder in the Park" that I had just bought, which he did. But when he found out that his visitors were from Scandinavia, and that I had attended so many of Ronnie Peterson's races on home soil, he just would not let go of us...until after more than an hour, this lady tugged at his arm, asking him to let "the Scandinavian gentlemen" get back to their meals...which were very cold buy now. What a delightful man. Enthusiasm  trumps  just about everything in my book, and Tom Wheatcroft had it in spades.

Althought i find the news depressing, they are not totally unexpected, I suppose.


Edited by doc knutsen, 14 October 2018 - 17:35.


#59 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 9,013 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 14 October 2018 - 17:55

You were fortunate to find a rare unsigned copy of Tom's book, I bought one and it had his signature already in it, the guy in the shop said that he signed every copy they sold, and he was wandering around the place when I went. A friend bought the same book elsewhere, possibly from Amazon, and that had been signed as well. As you say, Tom was a lovely guy, we all have to depart eventually, but his death was a particularly sad loss, if ever a man could be described as having his heart in the right place, that was Tom.



Advertisement

#60 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 49,071 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 14 October 2018 - 17:56

Some shots from today...

 

44405643595_1617c61690_b.jpg

 

45317840951_4ae510815c_b.jpg

 

44405642805_eb0b10ed63_b.jpg

 

^ the best ones - Vanwalls VW2, 6, and 14

 

44595616314_878e9ae724_b.jpg

 

44595609194_0d1fc0124c_b.jpg

 

30378522387_a774db315e_b.jpg

 

44595633774_5ef4cb0917_b.jpg

 

45269395942_76766a3f9f_b.jpg

 

30378521207_a3b6901af9_b.jpg

 

Jordan: The Comeback.  Spyker and Force India VJM01-05

 

30378523367_08d994db7f_b.jpg

 

^ the height of absurdity?

 

44405664565_28306ae986_b.jpg

 

^ an ex-de Cesaris car that is still in one piece

 

45317842501_4429396257_b.jpg

 

^ Newey's folly - the unraced MP4/18

 

44595604214_5089bfc3bf_b.jpg

 

^ Trojan warhorse

 

45269385562_0cbcb4431f_b.jpg

 

^ what might have been: the Wheatcroft R26

 

45317844651_5b7293d2aa_b.jpg

 

^ Jaguar R3 with Pininfarina aero paint job

 

31444000078_f218e619be_b.jpg

 

44595619484_1dc7ca954b_b.jpg

 

:cry: 



#61 Alan Cox

Alan Cox
  • Member

  • 8,358 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 14 October 2018 - 18:47

I understood at the time that the bulk of the McLarens were on loan from Mclaren, but it was a long time ago and I'm probably wrong. I still have my catalogue from 1994 somewhere.  One thing I looked for at Donington was the Ferrari ex Lex Davison, ex Doug Green, which was just rescued by Jim Harwood from being hacked about to make into a sports car.

The Ferrari did appear at the 'Ferrari under the skin' exhibition at the Design Museum earlier this year

#62 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 49,071 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 14 October 2018 - 20:05

And what we have lost...

 

44408350575_ddc1081c7d_b.jpg

 

^ DBR4 - like the Scarab, the counter to the example that if it looks good, it goes good

 

31446660978_342e180519_b.jpg

 

^ Brabham BT25

 

44408349795_a9ff9edbb8_b.jpg

 

^ Bugatti Royale

 

43505733860_e2c098c462_b.jpg

 

^ Bugatti Type 46

 

43505734860_f10ab15dd6_b.jpg

 

^ it is unfathomable how Purley survived this

 

44598053624_83d4f60853_b.jpg

 

^ a Belanger Lesovsky

 

44598052844_2c59f3969f_b.jpg

 

^ Matra MS10

 

43505732730_9e01d741ca_b.jpg

 

^ McLaren M9A

 

44408346655_03d1a864d4_b.jpg

 

^ McLaren MP4-13 in testing garb

 

44408345595_602319712c_b.jpg

 

^ Pawl - although I somewhat dispute the description

 

31446661398_5807f79e21_b.jpg

 

^ Sunbeam

 

44408345285_c24b7d3e73_b.jpg

 

^ Thin Wall Special

 

45320556561_a1fa63f55d_b.jpg

 

31446661878_56915a520b_b.jpg

 

^ much more populated vistas



#63 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 21,859 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 14 October 2018 - 20:28

Excellent photos, Ens - thanks. The green Matra is the one and only MS9. I’m puzzled by its green front suspension - I don’t recall it looking like that in the 1968 SA GP.

#64 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 49,071 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 14 October 2018 - 21:42

Was it also really that olivaceous?  I thought it was originally paint primer because they hadn't had time to put the blue on.  Maybe I'm mis-remembering.

 

There was also this...

 

43507667890_7334fff63e_b.jpg

 

...Ferrari 500, the logo of the Formula One Register.



#65 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,016 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 15 October 2018 - 08:40

Excellent photos, Ens - thanks. The green Matra is the one and only MS9. I’m puzzled by its green front suspension - I don’t recall it looking like that in the 1968 SA GP.

I think this Matra was used on the front cover of an early 1970s motor sport trading card collection. I thought they had the colour all wrong but eventually realised that it really had been green in South Africa. I wouldn't have expected matching paintwork on the front suspension either Tim, but a Google search has a pitlane shot that suggests otherwise.

https://www.google.c.....0.45DFO1mNS7U



#66 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 21,859 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 15 October 2018 - 09:13

I’ve found other period photos that seem to show green suspension, John, but also ones like this:

7476602dba73adb16f604bff2369b159.jpg

My first thought was that the green suspension was an optical illusion, a mere trick of the light. But then again, they’d hardly have restored the car with green suspension unless they were sure that’s how it had run in period, would they?

#67 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 2,354 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 15 October 2018 - 09:49

Between my first visit in 1994 and going back in 1997 there must have been complaint(s) about this Auto Union display.

 

Trying to be as subtle as possible, this photo is from 1997. However in the 1994 photo of the same display (although from the rear) painted under the driver's cockpit is a large, let's just say logo to it's German heritage! And no, I don't mean the 4 rings of Auto Union/Audi 

 

Donington-1997-02-TNF.jpg

 

Stephen


Edited by cooper997, 15 October 2018 - 17:12.


#68 Terry Walker

Terry Walker
  • Member

  • 2,958 posts
  • Joined: July 05

Posted 15 October 2018 - 10:24

That's interesting. My pic from 1994 doesn't show the hakenkreuz, Perhaps it was removed between our 1994 visits?



#69 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 21,859 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 15 October 2018 - 10:29

As the car was built post-war, it had no connection with either the Nazi regime or Auto Union, although Tom W obviously desperately wanted it to be an Auto Union.

#70 guiporsche

guiporsche
  • Member

  • 210 posts
  • Joined: January 17

Posted 15 October 2018 - 13:56

Myself I'm intrigued by that MP4-18 as I have never seen it in that guise. Was it described as a 18? It's hard to distinguish the 18 from the early 19's, but if this is indeed a 18 then it's a very curious car. 2005 livery aside, if from the cockpit/sidepods the car seems to be similar to the 18 pictured in early testing (although I can't see the little engine cover fin), the nose seems similar to a larger one only raced at Monza 2004 on the MP4-19B; the wing looks like a regular one from the MP4-19B. Thanks for the picture anyway - the MP4/18-9 family is one of my favourite racing cars.


Edited by guiporsche, 15 October 2018 - 13:57.


#71 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 2,354 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 15 October 2018 - 17:33

That's interesting. My pic from 1994 doesn't show the hakenkreuz, Perhaps it was removed between our 1994 visits?

Terry, my 1994 visit was 15 September. The catalogue was out of stock, so procured the DCN/GG Donington Collection book instead. Tom must have had a few left despite having been published 20 years earlier.

 

Stephen



#72 ken devine

ken devine
  • Member

  • 891 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 16 October 2018 - 00:14

It's a great shame to see a museum like this close down and the Collection broken up. Where else can the young motor sport enthusiast go to see to see where the sport started. The historic photographs are impressive.



#73 Wirra

Wirra
  • Member

  • 1,220 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 16 October 2018 - 03:01

A few jaundice album mementos from an '81 visit.

Auto-Union-81-1.jpg

 

Don-81-4.jpg

 

Don-81-5.jpg

 

Sorry, I can't bear to be reminded of how young we once were.

Don-81-3-mod.jpg



#74 Repco22

Repco22
  • Member

  • 943 posts
  • Joined: February 11

Posted 16 October 2018 - 03:34

  One thing I looked for at Donington was the Ferrari ex Lex Davison, ex Doug Green, which was just rescued by Jim Harwood from being hacked about to make into a sports car.  

     Terry, on behalf of Bob Weaver who is in poor health and resides in a nursing home, I must point out that the above popular folklore is incorrect and would also benefit from some perspective. Bob did in fact complete his conversion of the Ferrari to a Maserati 151 style coupe.
       A second, relevant and also incorrect, story is that for years, Ray Barfield, with gun in hand, saw off ALL would-be purchasers of the ex Moss-Collins 1956 Le Mans DB3S. In fact Bob must have picked a good day because, after nervously approaching the Barfield residence, he was welcomed by Ray who offered him the Aston Martin for three and a half thousand pounds.
       Bob always loved sports cars over monopostos but as this was too steep for him, he bought the Ferrari from Doug Green, with a view
 to converting it.
       This was a few years before Tom Wheatcroft bought the nucleus of his collection, the ex Whitehead Ferrari 125 [also from Jim Harwood.]
Worshippers of obsolete racing cars who were prepared to put up money to preserve them were, at this time, thin on the ground.
       Hence Bob was able to buy, at his leisure, the Ferrari, complete with a mountain of spares, for two thousand pounds IIRC, simply because
no one wanted the old girl.
       Far from "hacking the car about" Bob, renowned for his meticulous workmanship, always had the conviction that the car would one day be restored to its original form so made all changes to the chassis with that in mind.
       While Jim Harwood held the monoposto body, no doubt with a view to a future sale of the complete car, and made numerous attempts to acquire the chassis & mechanicals, it was pressure from Bob's family which finally caused him to comply. He later built a new chassis for the coupe body and fitted a Chev V8 motor. His daughter, Mandy, is a keen motorist and hopes to compete with the car, perhaps in drag racing.




 



#75 Terry Walker

Terry Walker
  • Member

  • 2,958 posts
  • Joined: July 05

Posted 16 October 2018 - 04:16

Thanks for the correction. I had seen photos of the Ferrari after being stripped of its monoposto body but never heard of the conversion to sports car being completed, then reversed. I've never seen a photo of the Chev engined coupe.  I knew Ray Barfield could be a bit touchy at times but never believed the shotgun yarns, colourful though they were. No doubt he just got sick of tyre kickers who imagined they could buy it for a fiver. When someone turned up with a serious offer, that was a different story.

 

I was a few years too young ever to see the Ferrari or Aston in action. the first race meeting I saw was at Caversham in either 1966 or 1967.



#76 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 65,627 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 16 October 2018 - 05:36

David McKay talked about trying to buy the Barfield remains...

 

It was said that the engine was in a drum of diesel and that every offer David made was rejected. The last time I heard him tell that tale was, I'm sure, 1979 when the AGP was at Wanneroo.



#77 nicanary

nicanary
  • Member

  • 603 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 16 October 2018 - 08:11

It's a great shame to see a museum like this close down and the Collection broken up. Where else can the young motor sport enthusiast go to see to see where the sport started. The historic photographs are impressive.

I think that's a problem in itself. The average young enthusiast brought up on Bernie's Effwun simply isn't interested in old cars and the history of the sport.  I'd like to be proved wrong, but I have my doubts.

 

I visited the museum about 7/8 years ago. I was the only person there, apart from staff. At the time I thought a lot of the exhibits looked tired and dusty, and little or no imagination had been used in the way they were displayed. Fine for real enthusiasts, but not something that would attract a casual visitor.  Tom built up the collection as an enthusiast, for enthusiasts, and I don't suppose he ever thought in terms of profit. To Kevin, it's a millstone.

 

The UK has been at the very centre of GP racing now for 50/60 years, the hub of the sport, now employing very large numbers of people - I'd like to think that this justifies a National Motor Sport museum using Tom's collection as a nucleus. I wonder if one was created somewhere in the south-east near to London it might be marketed to tourists and British residents alike. There's the rub. Donington was never marketed.



#78 BRG

BRG
  • Member

  • 16,870 posts
  • Joined: September 99

Posted 16 October 2018 - 16:21

So who owns what in the Collection?  Is this a bit of asset stripping by MSV or do they simply not see it as a profitable venture?  Some of those items (eg the Bugatti Royale) are worth a fortune.

 

Agree with nicanary that there ought to be a National Motor Sport Museum & Archive, well located and properly curated.  I would propose DCN as the first Curator!



#79 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 9,013 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 16 October 2018 - 16:38

So who owns what in the Collection?  Is this a bit of asset stripping by MSV or do they simply not see it as a profitable venture?  Some of those items (eg the Bugatti Royale) are worth a fortune.

 

Agree with nicanary that there ought to be a National Motor Sport Museum & Archive, well located and properly curated.  I would propose DCN as the first Curator!

 

It would be if it was genuine, but it isn't. Tom had it made here in the UK, though he might have got hold of a real engine to build it around it.



Advertisement

#80 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 49,071 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 16 October 2018 - 16:58

I wonder if one was created somewhere in the south-east near to London it might be marketed to tourists and British residents alike. There's the rub. Donington was never marketed.

 

Yes, obviously London needs even more stuff to attract even more visitors there.  It's not like the rest of the country exists.

 

That was always my objection to the British GP at Brands.  May as well have had it on St Kilda as far as most of Britain was concerned.



#81 Sterzo

Sterzo
  • Member

  • 1,343 posts
  • Joined: September 11

Posted 16 October 2018 - 17:43

So who owns what in the Collection?  Is this a bit of asset stripping by MSV or do they simply not see it as a profitable venture?  Some of those items (eg the Bugatti Royale) are worth a fortune.

 

Agree with nicanary that there ought to be a National Motor Sport Museum & Archive, well located and properly curated.  I would propose DCN as the first Curator!

MSV are operating Donington; I've seen no suggestion they own the cars. Surely what they're doing is saying the museum isn't commercially viable. As posted above, I doubt it ever was. It was a family collection, supplemented with borrowed cars, the costs presumably borne by the owners, and perhaps they said "might as well let the public in." Quite different from having to break even, which must be difficult given it was always deserted. Echoing others above, I did see two people in there on my sole visit, but most of the time I was alone with the machinery.



#82 nicanary

nicanary
  • Member

  • 603 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 16 October 2018 - 17:47

Yes, obviously London needs even more stuff to attract even more visitors there.  It's not like the rest of the country exists.

 

That was always my objection to the British GP at Brands.  May as well have had it on St Kilda as far as most of Britain was concerned.

I understand your feelings. However, people coming over from Europe won't visit a museum that interests them if it's in some remote spot. If it's convenient, there's more chance they will do so.  I was really thinking in terms of the fact that the southern counties is where major motor sport is based.

 

Maybe the exhibits could be split north and soutth :yawnface:



#83 mfd

mfd
  • Member

  • 2,985 posts
  • Joined: May 03

Posted 16 October 2018 - 17:55

MSV can't asset strip something they don't own!

#84 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,597 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 16 October 2018 - 17:58

Silverstone is going to have some sort of museum - or display facility - but I know (and have been told) hardly anything about it. No doubt all - or at least something - will be revealed whenever the time is deemed appropriate.   :drunk:  

 

DCN



#85 Glengavel

Glengavel
  • Member

  • 977 posts
  • Joined: September 06

Posted 16 October 2018 - 18:01

Behold the remoteness!

 

https://goo.gl/maps/eCezxoAabj92



#86 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 49,071 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 16 October 2018 - 18:04

I understand your feelings. However, people coming over from Europe won't visit a museum that interests them if it's in some remote spot. If it's convenient, there's more chance they will do so.  I was really thinking in terms of the fact that the southern counties is where major motor sport is based.

 

If not Silverstone, then, surely, Gaydon...



#87 Tom Glowacki

Tom Glowacki
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: December 03

Posted 16 October 2018 - 19:30

Behold the remoteness!

 

https://goo.gl/maps/eCezxoAabj92

I got there on two of our three visits to Great Britain.  I was enthralled both times, but really frustrated by the effort that went into getting there.  



#88 nicanary

nicanary
  • Member

  • 603 posts
  • Joined: February 12

Posted 16 October 2018 - 19:42

I seem to have painted myself into a corner. I know all about remoteness - I hail from Norfolk, and have lived in Ulster for 30 years. I was trying to think in terms of attracting a new type of visitor, not just enthusiasts, and the museum would have to be almost immediately accessible. Long-haul visitors arrive at Heathrow, short-haul at Gatwick, channel crossers in Kent (on the whole). I am sure, without actual facts, that most visitors to our shores would visit attractions within 100 miles of their arrival point.  I have nothing against the UK north of Watford - honestly.

 

This new museum would have to be marketed as a toursit attraction, not just aimed at motor racing fans. I'll now get the proverbial coat..........



#89 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,597 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 16 October 2018 - 20:17

I feel that speculation about some kind of replacement dedicated racing car museum of any truly decent standard, situated anywhere in this country, is pretty much a waste of time.  Given the acquisition cost of individual cars these days - and the reluctance of most high-rolling owners to loaning their investment objects - we will not see, ever again, the likes of the Donington Collection as it was at its best...

 

DCN



#90 RicardoF1RST

RicardoF1RST
  • New Member

  • 9 posts
  • Joined: October 18

Posted 16 October 2018 - 20:56

The museum is closing because a family inherited their fathers collection, which has subsequently been splintered off over the last 10 years. MSV would never be interested in spending the money to maintain it, as its a cost not a business. Perhaps if the collection was as it was 15 years ago then maybe lottery funding could have enabled it to survive, but for a long time its been more of a storage facility.

 

The Bugatti Royale, Alfa Bimotore, Auto Union, Stirling Moss's Lotus 18, Jim Clarks Von Trips accident Lotus, the Cisitalia, Ascari's Ferrari, the Porsche F1 cars, P34, Brabham fan car along with many others all went years ago. Interesting cars have appeared since then, Villeneuve Ferrari's, lots of Matra's, couple of Schumacher's Ferrari's but they were all in transit on part time loan.

The bulk of the collection today consists mainly of Kevin Wheatcroft owned military vehicles, the team owned cars of McLaren, Williams and Force India, Hall & Hall cars which are there in transit plus odds'n'sods owned by individuals. There will be a few Wheatcroft cars but not many I imagine. So all exhibits will drift back to their owners I guess.

 

Even back in the day, all the Brabham's were owned by Ecclestone - including all the Parmalat branded cars that were stored in the workshops under the museum out of public view. They went a long time ago too.
 

I hope a few of the cars end up at Silverstone for their new "Experience" ... see https://silverstone-experience.co.uk. They know the Donington museum is closing, and what is in there potentially up for grabs because I told those that needed to know within 10 minutes of finding out about the closure.

 

As for visitors and location. There have been plenty of visitors from overseas, Donington might be north of Watford but you can fly to East Midlands airport from anywhere in the world indirectly and walk to the museum (just). I've given guided tours to bus loads of Australian's, South African's, Americans, German's (Bayern Munich VIPs who were old enough to have been around for WWII, but actually laughed when, as we headed down Craner in the coach, the translator suddenly said "Achtung Spitfire!") ... Rolls Royce and Toyota often brought foreign visitors for group tours too. Plenty of VIPs have been through there, Mr.Toyoda for one (the head of Toyota, the 'd' isn't a typo) he is probably the wealthiest person I have met, he didn't know that he didn't own Donington Park (think about that one!). But the museum has never had enough people through the doors to make a profit.

 

The real shame is what will happen to the little things that you only notice on close inspection. Like the old telegram from Mercedes to the race organisers asking if they can pay another £500 to enter another car for Seaman - dated August 1939 for a race that never happened. I always wondered if they paid the £500 and if they did, if they got it back. Then there is the photo of the car pulled up outside the old circuit office at Coppice with the tower thats still there in the background. The passenger appears to be asking for directions to the paddock for the 1938 Grand Prix. An innocent enough picture apart from the black uniform and red arm band!

 

I will miss the place, but its been dying for the last 10 years so RIP old friend.


Edited by RicardoF1RST, 17 October 2018 - 18:33.


#91 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 65,627 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 16 October 2018 - 21:10

What a wonderful induction you have made for yourself to this forum, Ricardo...

 

Painting the picture you have, I'm sure you have the capacity to post many interesting things on other threads...

 

I'm sure many others would welcome you here too.



#92 Sterzo

Sterzo
  • Member

  • 1,343 posts
  • Joined: September 11

Posted 16 October 2018 - 21:39

Thank you for that informative and heartfelt post, Ricardo. Perhaps those museum items other than the cars might find their way somewhere else. I know at the Design Centre exhibition this year, I stood with my back to the Ferraris to study Colombo's hand-crayoned drawings and Nuvolari's letter.

 

As for the cars, even if they're scattered, I hope they remain non-racing exhibits in comparatively original condition. Once they enter the racing world, they might disappear amongst the  restorations, continuations, reincarnations, recreations and abominations which DSJ memorably grouped together as "fakes." Let's hope no ex-Donington vehicle is broken to make two "largely original" cars, as has happened to Bugatti T35Bs.


Edited by Sterzo, 16 October 2018 - 21:40.


#93 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 34,048 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 16 October 2018 - 21:58


The real shame is what will happen to the little things that you only notice on close inspection. Like the old telegram from Mercedes to the race organisers asking if they can pay another £500 to enter another car for Seaman - dated August 1939 for a race that never happened..

Er, shome mishtake shurely? (Ed)

 

Perhaps actually for the abandoned plan to run a W165 in the 1939 Nuffield Trophy? Dick wanted to do it, but after an initial willingness - and reports in the British press that it would happen - MB eventually said no.



#94 mfd

mfd
  • Member

  • 2,985 posts
  • Joined: May 03

Posted 16 October 2018 - 22:20

Thanks Rich,

this thread needed your post !

#95 john aston

john aston
  • Member

  • 1,710 posts
  • Joined: March 04

Posted 17 October 2018 - 07:02

The reality is that most of us are sad at the closure because we once went there , and harboured vague, but usually unrealised thoughts about  a revisit 'some time '. It may have had a better atmosphere in the 80s but I have always found the place feeling like a basket case for the last 15 years at least . Terribly dull displays  ,amateur hour  captions and so deserted it felt like the  Marie Celeste.

 

Amazed they never exploited the 'cars and coffee ' market as a focal point for car club meets . 

 

I must admit that I like to hear old racing cars as well as to see them , and I have zero interest in Nazi rubbish so few of my tears are being shed really   



#96 RicardoF1RST

RicardoF1RST
  • New Member

  • 9 posts
  • Joined: October 18

Posted 17 October 2018 - 07:35

Er, shome mishtake shurely?.


Hmmm thinking about it clearly a date problem there. It’s been a long time since that telegram vanished from the wall at the exit door in hall 1. It definitely said “increase entry from 3 to 4 cars” so I’m thinking 1938.

There’s also a hand written letter in a filing cabinet in the office, in purple ink. “One car for £4000 or all the chassis and spares from 1970 for £20000.” signed Enzo Ferrari. Funny what you suddenly remember.

Hi Mike - familiar avatar ;-) I’m popping into the museum this week to see what’s there given I’ve got to deliver the last tour soon, ironically to an MSV group. Anyone got any juicy info about Panzer IV’s? :-)

#97 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 49,071 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 17 October 2018 - 07:51

Think one of them was Princess Michael of Kent's daily driver.



#98 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,016 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 17 October 2018 - 08:24

. Anyone got any juicy info about Panzer IV’s? :-)

 

In an idle moment I found this, if it's of any help:

 

https://www.google.c...=V4rbUZdQc59pFM:



#99 mfd

mfd
  • Member

  • 2,985 posts
  • Joined: May 03

Posted 17 October 2018 - 10:03

How could I fail to spot the avatar!

I hadn't noticed the Ferrari letter, but for me the GP winning 312B was the "stand out" car in the collection, probably because of my age. I once asked Wheatie about it & he said, at the time, it was the most expensive car he'd bought. As a purchase it was also probably one of the more sound investments he made.

The last tour should be christened "You don't know what you've missed 'til it's gone!"

Advertisement

#100 RTH

RTH
  • Member

  • 6,003 posts
  • Joined: January 03

Posted 17 October 2018 - 10:17

The questions now.... what happens to the cars currently on display, what happens to the buildings  and will someone else set up a racing car museum - perhaps somewhere in the middle of a heavily populated area in order to get a better catchment area for greater footfall ? maybe a cafe, restaurant, lecture hall ? Might it all end up at Gaydon  along with the Jaguar Heritage centre   which has a dedicated new building on the site ?

 

Anyone here familiar with  Le Manoir de l' Automobile museum about 20ks south of Rennes in France an amazing place also the work of one man.