Attractions industry news

01 Mar 2018

‘Paying homage to motorsport across the decades’: Plans unveiled for £35m vintage car museum in Oxfordshire

A planning application has been submitted for a classic car museum in Oxfordshire, UK, with American vintage car collector and philanthropist Peter Mullin behind the £35m (US$48m, €39.5m) plans.

Mullin, founder of the M Financial Group and Chairman of its subsidiary, M Financial Holdings, is an avid car collector, establishing in 2010, the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California and also serving as the President of the American Bugatti Club.

His latest venture envisions use of the 630,000sq m (6.8m sq ft) Enstone Airfield near Chipping Norton, something Mullin says would “transform the scarred brownfield site.”

Renderings by Gloucestershire-based landscape architecture firm Portus + Whitton show a dome-like structure nestled among the trees in a natural setting, the design blending in to the landscape. Visitors will approach the proposed museum by crossing a bridge, which leads to a plaza showcasing classic cars and populated with foliage.

The scheme, according to the proposal, will substantially enhance both its landscape setting and local biodiversity, adding nearly 15 acres (60,000sq m) of native-species woodland, including 700-8000 trees, 4 acres (16,000sq m) of conservation lakes and water features, and 50 acres (202,000 acres) of conservation/wild-flora meadow.

The museum itself will cover 6,000sq m (64,500sq ft), incorporating four exhibition floors, a restaurant, café and retail store. Back of house facilities will include research and administrations offices and an underground car storage vault, which will add a further 5,000sq m (53,800sq ft) to the museum’s size.

In the Design and Access statement provided with the submission, a desire to “pay homage to motorsport across the decades” brought about the incorporation of a feature arch alluding to the iconic Dunlop arch, while also matching the context of the airfield, with the design akin to a traditional airfield hangar. The museum will feature a steel frame, with walls clad in a combination of timber and steel.

Interior design on the project will be carried out by Los Angeles-based The Scenic Route, who specialise in museum design and fit-out and recently completed the revamped Peterson Automotive Museum in LA – a campaign also led by Peter Mullin.

In addition to the museum the proposed development also includes 28 holiday villas providing “discreet accommodation”, envisaged as a residential community for collectors of classic cars in the wider museum environment.

A public access statement submitted to Oxfordshire Council, says the sale of plots to the museum would contribute £20m (US$27.5m, €22.5m) to the development.

“All my collection is European and this has become a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring them home. And where better than the epicentre of motorsport and car manufacturing in Britain,” said Mullin, speaking to the Oxford Mail.

“This is not a business venture for me, it is a legacy project and it is my most sincere desire to share cars from my collection with the general public and to create a centre of learning to inspire future generations.”

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