The weird and wild cars of the London Motor Museum
The London Motor Museum features a diverse collection of cars ranging from Ferraris and McLarens to famous movie cars and even a Bricklin SV-1. Here's a full tour.
Geoffrey Morrison is a writer/photographer about tech and travel for CNET, The New York Times, and other web and print publications. He's also the Editor-at-Large for The Wirecutter. He has written for Sound&Vision magazine, Home Theater magazine, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Home Entertainment magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling novel, Undersea, and its sequel, Undersea Atrophia, are available in paperback and digitally on Amazon. He spends most of the year as a digital nomad, living and working while traveling around the world. You can follow his travels at BaldNomad.com and on his YouTube channel.
In an unassuming building near Heathrow airport, about half an hour from central London, sits the London Motor Museum. It's an eclectic collection of cars, ranging from
to hot rods and insane custom vehicles.
There's even some famous movie cars, such as Mr Bean's armchair
Torino from the Fast & Furious films, two Batmobiles, and even Herbie the Love Bug.
With a decided aftermarket vibe, most cars have custom wheels, even many of the classics. Ever wanted to see a Shelby Cobra with massive rims? Well, that's here.
There's even a Bricklin SV-1,
M6 GT, and a Ford GT40. There's minimal decoration, and you can get right up close to most of the cars. It sort of feels like you're walking around the personal collection of some rich car fanatic -- which is actually pretty close to the truth.
Movie cars, hot rods, and more at the London Motor Museum
Getting to the Motor Museum is really easy. It takes about 20 minutes by train from Paddington Station, and there are lots of trains as it's the same route to get to Heathrow. Then it's just a couple of minutes' walk. Or you could drive, of course.
It doesn't look much like a museum from the outside. The simple brick facade appears to have been a warehouse or something industrial in its former life. Then you notice a few oddities: There are a few too many interesting classic cars in the small parking lot. There's a green double-decker bus converted into a burger joint. Oh, and there's a helicopter.
Inside it's quite easy to navigate. The expansive space is broken up into smaller zones, each with its own theme, though some are more strictly adhered to than others.
The Movie Car exhibition was certainly a standout. Both the '60s and '80s Batmobiles are here, along with a white
Esprit as driven by James Bond, Eleanor (the GT500 version from the remake), a Knight Industries Two Thousand and more.
A common thread throughout the museum, though, is modification. Most cars had aftermarket rims, and several of the zones featured highly modified cars, including hot rods and wildly painted customs.
Though it might seem rather incongruous to have a museum with such a customization focus in London, since that trend was made far more famous by Southern California. Turns out that's thanks to the museum's founder -- a former model and fashion designer named Elo. Elo was born in London but grew up in Los Angeles. The museum grew out of his love for cars, and it's been growing and growing since its start in 2001.
The London Motor Museum had some cool cars, but my one complaint was the price. At £30 (about $36 or AU$48) it is one of the most expensive car museums I've ever visited. If you buy the tickets online ahead of time, they're a bit less at £22.50 (about $28 or AU$35) but you'll have to print them out before you arrive.