Coventry Transport Museum celebrated its official and complete re-opening in style today, following its extensive £9.5 million redevelopment.

The automotive world gathered to watch a stunning display in Millennium Place from multiple world record holder and supercar stuntman Terry Grant.  This was followed with a unique parade of ‘Trailblazing Cars of the World’, curated by Harry Metcalfe (of Evo magazine, and YouTube hit Harry’s Garage fame), and hosted by television presenter and racing driver, Amanda Stretton.

Harry Metcalfe said: “I was asked to get involved with the re-launch of the museum following a visit I made here a few weeks ago.  I was very impressed, and delighted to get involved. There’s no question that Coventry and the Midlands was, is and will continue to be at the very heart of the British motor industry, and indeed the world’s, especially with the recent successes of the city’s most famous export, Jaguar, and its sister company, Land Rover.”

Amanda Stretton said: “What we have here is one of the world’s finest – and indeed the largest in public ownership – collection of cars, motorbikes, push-bikes, vans, trucks, buses and a whole lot more.  And I’m told that more car manufacturers have come out of Coventry than Detroit.  This really is our very own Motown, and that’s what Coventry Transport Museum celebrates so brilliantly.  It is a really fitting, world-class tribute and attraction to this great motoring city.

The museum has been completely transformed and provides a world-class showcase for Coventry’s rich transport heritage – from the 19th century to the present day.

Following its 15 month-long redevelopment programme, Coventry Transport Museum offers a whole day of fun and discovery for visitors of all ages in an iconic city-centre building. Through its re-energised exhibitions, visitors are taken on a journey through Coventry’s vast transport history; from being a bicycle capital of the world in the 19th century to producing vehicles for the war efforts, to contributing to the UK’s car-making and exporting success, and everything in-between.

Visitors are met with hundreds of unique exhibits, delivering a world-class experience throughout. The car collection includes the world’s fastest cars ThrustSSC and Thrust2, the oldest Coventry-built car, more than 3,000 toy car models – including Dinky, Matchbox and Corgi, and many of the most innovative, memorable and luxurious road vehicles of the last 150 years – all built in Coventry.

Cars are only a part of Coventry’s transport journey – the museum focuses on the innovators and the workers who made that growth possible. From the cycle pioneers of the 19th century who revolutionized transport for the masses, to the men and women who created the transport, munitions and equipment for the world wars – and looking into the future, with innovators in technology who will shape the automotive future of Coventry and beyond.

Culture Coventry chief executive Gary Hall says: “Re-launching the museum is the culmination of seven years of hard work by the team. It marks yet another landmark for Coventry’s transport heritage, but also preserves its rich history. The museum provides a haven for visitors to immerse themselves in the past, present and future of Coventry’s transport legacy – capturing the imagination of visitors of all ages.  We are extremely grateful to the European Regional Development Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund and all of the other organisations who have supported this project throughout.

In addition –

The Trailblazing Cars of the World included models from all over the globe, representing a collection that changed the automotive landscape forever.

Harry Metcalfe’s Trailblazing Cars of the World: From Harry on the importance of this addition “The idea of the Trailblazing Cars collection is that they, in my opinion, are all examples that changed the car world forever.  Many of the cars I have brought along today have definitely achieved that, and many of these were designed, engineered and built right here in Coventry and the Midlands.”

Lamborghini Miura (widely recognized as the world’s first supercar)

Mini (Pioneered front wheel drive packaging and compact economy car design for towns and cities)

Jaguar C-type (Pioneer of disc-brakes, developed initially for racing at Le Mans, but ultimately adopted in production cars all over the world)

Land Rover Series I (one of the world’s first commercially available 4x4s)

Porsche 911 Turbo (the world’s first commercially successful Turbo offering)

Range Rover (Introduced in 1970, it established a whole new sector of all-terrain vehicle for Europe, and remains in production today as the pinnacle of luxury SUVs the world over)

Ferrari F40 (the first road-legal production car to break the 200mph barrier and the fastest and most expensive Ferrari of its time)

Audi Quattro (the world’s first performance car to adopt four-wheel-drive, very successfully marketed through victorious rally campaigns in WRC and Group B during the 1980s)

Bugatti Veyron (In its time: the world’s fastest car, the first ‘hyper’ car, world’s most expensive car, and most powerful car with 1000bhp – often named as the ‘best car in the world’)

Jaguar C-X75 (The world’s first hybrid-electric supercar – followed by many of the world’s supercar manufacturers)

Photo credit: Coventry Transport Museum

Blog – 20th June 2015 Reported by Liane Kate, Radio Warwickshire @LianeKate