The weird and wild cars of the London Motor Museum – CNET

Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2016

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 sports cars to hot rods and insane custom vehicles.

There’s even some famous movie cars, such as Mr Bean’s armchair mini, a Ford 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, McLaren 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.

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 Lotus 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.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.


In his alternate life as a travel writer, Geoff does tours of cool museums and locations around the world including nuclear submarines, medieval castles, iconic music studios and more. You can follow his exploits on Twitter and Instagram, and on his travel blog BaldNomad. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel. Got a tour-worthy spot you think he should check out? Let him know!

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