What do 50 Cent, Eddie Guerrero, Fergie and Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Rowland, Tim Westwood, Akon, Alex Song and Lassana Diarra all have in common? They have all been photographed at the London Motor Museum. Situated in Hayes, Middlesex, The London Motor Museum, has an unusual ethos. While most motoring museums are all about preserving the heritage and provenance of the cars within it, the LMM cars are inspired by Hip Hop and Urban music and the visitors tend to have the same mentality.
Founded by Elo, who stars in MTV slips and is also well known on the Gumball scene, the LMM is the only custom car museum in Europe housing a completely unique collection of American and European cars from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond. Elo started his career as a model and had always invested his money into collecting remarkable and interesting vehicles. As his car collection constantly increased it seemed logical to share some of these incredible classic vehicles with the public and thus the concept of the London Motor Museum was born. Some of the cars were bought in show condition but many have been saved from the scrap yard then lovingly restored with their own individual modifications added by the specialist team of mechanics.
Motor-Vision.co.uk were lucky enough to spend the day at the museum playing with the wonderful metalwork they have on display. So let’s begin…
London Motor Museum Tour – Part 01 – Our Favourite Cars
Beginning the tour with some of our favourite cars, this video shows off the Spyker C8 with its wonderful aircraft inspired steering. I can’t think of a car with a more beautiful gear lever nor another car where the wheel spokes are shaped as engine blades. It’s a truly beautiful creation and well worth seeing. Moving on to the hand-built supercar, the SSC Aero TT with its 6.3 litre V8 twin turbo 1147 HP engine it can reach a Bugatti Veyron beating top speed of 260mph and will hit 60mph in 2.64 seconds. Elo has taken the car out on the Gumball Rally where it drew a lot of attention.
Taking inspiration from the films Tron and Transformers, the very special bright green Peterbilt truck is always a pleasure to see. While it does tip its hat to Optimus Prime, the well named Mega Pete Tron truck unfortunately doesn’t actually transform into a heroic robot from another planet.
However, while on the subject of other planets the ETV (Extra Terrestrial Vehicle) is an exceedingly bizarre hand built concept to behold and really does look like it’s from another world. The Ice Cream Van which forms the reception counter really helps set the unusual motoring theme of the museum from the moment you step through the door and, as the next thing you see is a 1934 Morgan Three Wheeler Super Sport situated in the cafeteria area, you instantly know you’re in for an unusual motoring tour. We’ve thrown in a few of the customised Sinclair C5’s so you can see one of the earliest attempts at a commercial electric vehicle which the LMM have irresistibly styled as the Batmobile, Herbie and the General Lee. Personally I’d love to see them all race slowly up the quarter mile strip at Santa Pod, but that’s probably just me.
London Motor Museum – Part 02 – European Cars & Italian Cars
As you enter the main part of the museum you are immediately confronted with a couple of iconic Porsche’s – the 456 Speedster which is one of the prettiest German cars of all time and sits next to a 1958 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, based upon the famous 550 Spyder which James Dean died in. Alongside these is the English Lotus Elan, a Citroen DS, which goes so far beyond ugly that it sort of becomes sympathetically pleasant to look at. Various E-Type’s adorn this room with a rare example of the Ferrari 308 GT4, a Mercedes 190 SL and 280 SL, and many people’s dream car, the 1964 Ford GT40.
One of my favourite cars of all time is the Lamborghini Countach and there is a fantastic example sitting in the Italian room of the museum. In fact once I’d sat in it, it took a little while for the Motor-Vision team to drag me back out of it. This is on display next to a Ferrari 308 – a car so manly that it should have it’s own moustache, and a range of other inspirational Italian motors. Porsche only make fast cars right? Wrong. To prove this the LMM have a rather old Porsche Tractor on display which is an extremely unusual vehicle to see a Porsche badge mounted onto.
London Motor Musuem – Part 03 – Batmobile and TV & Film Cars.
Films and TV often have a way of transforming the way we feel about certain cars. My afore mentioned love for the Lamborghini Countach stems from seeing the car in the intro sequence for the Cannonball Run and it’s a movie scene that’s never really left me. I no longer have the poster on my bedroom wall of the car but maybe I should have as my feelings remain pretty much the same. Most of us love one car or another that has been immortalised on either the big or small screen and the LMM have a whole bunch of them to share with you. Let’s start with the recreation of the Batmobile. There have been many Batmobile’s over the years and the London Motor Museum have a specially licensed working replica of the Anton Furst Batmobile used in the Tim Burton films starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne. Yes, it doesn’t have Batman’s gadgets but it’s still a pretty cool car to behold.
George Barris designed the original 1960’s TV version of the Batmobile and the LMM have on display another famous and strange Barris Show Car commissioned for the 1970’s TV series, the Bugaloos. The Dodge Charger nicknamed The General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard is amongst some of the more typical and less outlandish replicas. It’s accompanied by the V8 powered 1975 Ford Gran Torino from Starsky and Hutch, a DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future, a rather famous talking 1982 Pontiac Trans Am called KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) from Knight Rider, Mr Bean’s green Mini which does contain Mr Bean’s actual Teddy Bear from the TV series. No TV car collection would be complete without a striped Volkswagen Beetle with the number 53 adorning it’s metalwork and answering to the name of Herbie.
London Motor Musuem – Part 04 – Muscle Cars
Moving swiftly on with our tour, we reach one of my favourite sections – Muscle Cars. I love the deep sounding awesome power that an American V8 motor throws out and the LMM have all the muscle car boxes well and truly ticked. Showing my age off, I’ll start with the 1979 Pontiac Trans Am which was immortalised in the film Smokey and the Bandit. The LMM version is equally subtle with its delicately done bonnet sized graphic and flames running up the sides. Another famous film car (yes I know we’ve moved out of the film section now) is the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 which was the final, and feared car, in the film Gone in 60 Seconds. This particular model features on the Eleanor register. Sticking with the movie theme I find it difficult to look at a 1970’s Dodge Challenger without thinking back to the film Vanishing Point and of course the more recent Quentin Tarantino film Death Proof.
The LMM have a few versions of most of its muscle cars on display and we’ve chosen to feature the Dodge Challenger RT on this particular part of the video. Next is an original classic bright orange Camaro SS which makes me think of the beginning of the film Transformers when Bumblebee is still the original car. A yellow and black Plymouth Barracouda and a 351 Shelby Mustang end this part of the tour. There really are more American V8 Muscle Cars than we could hope to list out here.
London Motor Musuem – Part 05 – Hotrods and American Cars
I remember seeing the Mooneyes 1932 Hot Rod & Kustom Supply Ford Model B Roadster started up at Autosport a couple of years ago. It’s an incredible piece of machinery and has the air of childish excitement about it as it can’t help but shoot rather large flames out of it’s vertical exhaust pipes.
The Studebaker Champion harks back to the pre-1960’s days of less usual car design where everything was over-stated. A customised 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Roadster, worth an incredible £250,000, is so stylish that it looks as though it might be better placed in a design museum than a car museum. Many of the Hotrod and American cars are modified to such a degree that they verge on being completely unidentifiable and you almost feel like some sort of car detective trying to figure out what they may have started life as. Certainly there is a lot of incredible engineering work to show off.
London Motor Musuem – Part 06 – Low Riders and Miami Coast
Keeping with the American theme which runs through much of the museum, we move onto the museum’s unusual collection of Low Riders and Miami Coast / East Coast Ryders. I can’t think of another museum in the UK to house such a collection and struggle to think of anywhere else you could go to see such a set of cars. There’s the Cadillac Coupe Deville once owned and signed by Snoop Dogg and now referred to as the Snoop Deville. The laquered paintwork is really something on the 1985 Cadillac Fleetwood called ‘Eye Candy’ which featured in Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie’s music video London Bridge. An odd video filmed in London, about London but featuring an American car – well, at least they picked an incredible one I guess!
Elo, the LMM’s founder, considers the pristine condition 1937 Auburn Speedster to be one of the most important cars that he owns. There aren’t that many of them left these days so it’s good that some are preserved for us all to enjoy. Other Low Riders of note feature such as the Oldsmobile, Buick Riviera, various other Cadillac’s, Pontiac Grand Prix and many others.
The Miami Coast section has been inspired by the scene in East LA and the cars tend to be smaller cars with big wheels jacked up on hydraulic / air suspension for a high ride height. There is some incredible customisation work has been accomplished on these cars and the video shows off some of the highlights, such as the Chevrolet Camaro SS 350, Corvette Stingray, a pumped up Chevrolet and various other examples of the scene to satisfy any American car enthusiast.
London Motor Musuem – Part 07 – Custom Cars and TKO (Total Kustom Organisation) Kustom Cars
The final leg of our extensive London Motor Museum tour features some of the customised, modified, and TKO cars adorning the museum. Some of these incredible vehicles resonate the passion with which they’ve been created and you can sense the amount of time, thought and effort that has gone into the engineering work. A de-arched Plymouth Prowler begins this final section of the tour which quickly moves on to a VW Beetle Rat Rod and a Ford Pinto which has more of its engine on the outside of the car than under the bonnet. A Presidential Limousine sits opposite this and has such thick bullet proof glass that it really has to be seen to be believed. If there happened to be some kind of shoot-out in the museum during your tour this would be the car to dive into. James Bond’s boat curiously sits in this same room. Yes, we know that the boat isn’t a car. It’s a boat. But it’s cool so we’ll let it slide.
The TKO room represents the crux of what the museum does well. It modifies and customises modern cars for some very exclusive customers and the room demonstrates this with its display of Kustom Cars which include the modern Dodge Challenger SRT, a heavily modified Mercedes CLS with some incredible pin-striping detail, a golden wrapped Aston Martin DB9, Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and a Dodge Viper.
The London Motor Museum is a fantastic and unusual day out. With an extremely casual and friendly attitude it is akin to visiting an old friend who happens to have a large collection of cars for you to look at. Motor-Vision can’t wait to return for another look around in the future.