We’ve selected 25 of our favourite exhibits, leaving you to create a shortlist of your own. You’ll find the museum in Somerset, just off the A303.
Multimillion pound ‘Doozy’
Sitting proudly in the hall entitled ‘The American Dream’ is this 1931 Duesenberg Model J. The Duesenberg company was established by E.L. Cord of the Cord Motor Company, with the sole aim of building the most luxurious cars in the world. The example in the Haynes Museum is one of eight built and was formerly owned by Mrs Payne Whitney of Pratt & Whitney fame. The museum values the ‘Doozy’ at a cool £8 million.
Gandini’s greatest triumph?
Once upon a time, this Lamborghini Countach took pride of place in the famous ‘Red Room’, but following the museum’s multimillion pound revamp it was moved to the supercar collection. The Countach is one of Marcello Gandini’s most famous creations and remains the pin-up star for a generation of petrolheads.
When Ford gave Ferrari a bloody nose
Legends are born out of the strangest of circumstances. Back in the 1960s it looked highly likely that Ferrari would be sold to the Ford Motor Company, with the American giant keen to go racing. Having spent millions of dollars on due diligence, Ford bosses were left high and dry when Enzo Ferrari famously pulled out of the deal. Ford reacted in the best possible way, by creating the GT40 and winning Le Mans. The rest, as they say, is history.
Just don’t mention the electronics
This might be a gallery featuring cars you don’t want to miss at the Haynes Motor Museum, but with the Aston Martin Lagonda it’s more a case of can’t miss. A flawed gem it might be, not least because of the eye-wateringly expensive electronics, but you can’t help but marvel that such a car exists. We’d be tempted to say they don’t make’em like they used to, but Aston Martin has launched an all-new Lagonda super-saloon.
Big cat crippled by the economic crisis
We all know the backstory: Jaguar builds a four-wheel drive, V12-engined prototype; people get rather excited; huge deposits are put down; car becomes rear-wheel drive, V6-engined; economy collapses; potential buyers pull out; Jaguar struggles to sell the car, even at a reduced price. Back in the early 90s, the Jaguar XJ220 was a bit of a laughing stock, but time has been kind to the 212mph supercar from Oxfordshire. And let’s face it: Jaguar has built nothing else quite like the XJ220.
Who ya gonna call?
Fans of Ghostbusters will tell you that Ecto-1 was a 1959 Cadillac Professional ambulance/hearse, but that hasn’t stopped Haynes slapping a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on the roof of this Pontiac Superior ambulance and having a little fun. Press one of those buttons to the right of the former City of Lewistown emergency vehicle and Ray Parker Jr. will do his thing. Who ya gonna call?
Maserati and Citroen: a match made in heaven?
This has to be the most eccentric corner of the Haynes Motor Museum. To the left of this Citroen SM you’ll find a DS and Traction Avant, with a 2CV appearing further down the line. The DS gets its fair share of press, so we’ll focus on the SM, which was powered by a Maserati V6 engine.
The most desirable Porsche in the world?
This is one of the most highly sought-after 911s on the planet and to some, the most desirable Porsche in the world. A total of 1,580 RS examples were built, in either Touring or Lightweight specification. This example could be worth as much as £1 million.
Classic Pininfarina styling
The 250 GT Cabriolet on display at the Haynes Motor Museum is a series II, first launched at the 1959 Paris Motor Show. The original 250 GT Cabriolet made its debut at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show and a mere 40 were built before Ferrari toned down the styling, increased the size of the boot and treated the cabin to a more luxurious feel.
Mark Webber’s Red Bull RB6
Next to the display of supercars you’ll find a section of the Museum dedicated to Mark Webber and his Red Bull RB6 F1 car. This is the actual car the Australian drove as he raced to victory in the British and Hungarian Grand Prix of 2010. His dulcet tones are played through speakers as you wander around the car.
Nobody mention the fuel bill
If we had to name the car we’d most like to drive home in, this Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 would be in with a shout. This was the flagship of the S-Class range, featuring the likes of hydropneumatic suspension, ABS brakes and the small matter of a 6.9-litre V8 engine. The Museum’s patron, John H. Haynes OBE, used it as his personal car, clocking up 130,000 miles in the process. We won’t ask what he spent on fuel.
Fast Ford to Mexico
Even when surrounded by such illustrious and exotic vehicles, a fast Ford still manages to hold its own. Of course, it helps when the Ford in question is an Escort Mexico, so named following success in the London to Mexico World Cup Rally. The Mexico was powered by a detuned version of the engine found in the Escort RS1600 and soon became a hero of road and track.
The ultimate Haynes registration number?
If we’re honest, as nice as this 1987 Bentley Continental Convertible is, the registration number is the only reason it makes our 25-car shortlist. CAR 800K – or CAR BOOK – is a reference to the Haynes Publishing Business, famous for producing the Haynes Manual.
We don’t need roads…
It needs no introduction, does it? The DeLorean DMC-12 is a prime example of a seriously flawed vehicle, elevated to a higher status by external factors. The story surrounding the development and collapse of the DeLorean Motor Company would have ensured a lasting legacy for the Belfast-built sports car, but its starring role in Back to the Future presented it with an iconic status.
Genesis of the hot hatch?
Was the Volkswagen Golf GTI the first hot hatch? Strictly speaking, no, because the likes of the Simca 1100 TI and Renault 5 Alpine/Gordini got there first, but the Golf GTI is credited as perfecting the recipe and taking the idea to the mainstream. Hard to believe it is 40 years old in 2016.
Good enough for Ringo Starr
How can a car so large and imposing look so elegant and beautiful? The HK500 is arguably the ultimate Facel Vega, not least because of its huge Chrysler 6.3-litre V8 engine. This gave it a tremendous turn of pace, but it wasn’t the most nimble of creatures to chuck into a corner. But does that matter when something looks this good? Previous owners such as Stirling Moss, Pablo Picasso, Ava Gardner, Ringo Starr and Tony Curtis didn’t seem to mind.
Gordon Bennett, that’s pretty
OK, cards on the table: of all the cars at the Haynes Motor Museum, this the one we spent the most time gawping at. There’s just something about the Gordon-Keeble GK1, with its Italian styling, American V8 engine and British engineering. This four-seater coupe featured a glassfibre body, two petrol tanks and an interior that could shame more illustrious rivals.
Who needs a 280 Brooklands anyway?
With all the hoo-ha surrounding the auction prices of Mk3 Ford Capris, it would be all too easy to forget there was a Mk1 and Mk2. The model on display at the Haynes Motor Museum is actually a Mk1 facelift model, notable for its larger headlights and separate indicators. The facelift also benefited from a revised suspension, larger taillights and new seats.
Born to be the miniMetro…
Here’s a rarity and a must-see exhibit for fans of the classic Mini. It’s a 1978 British Motor Corporation (BMC) Mini prototype, otherwise known as the 9X. Sir Alec Issigonis was convinced he could create a small car superior to the original Mini and to this end the 9X was blessed with more interior space in a smaller overall package. Sadly, it never saw the light of day and – three years later – British Leyland launched the Austin miniMetro.
Electric dream turns to nightmare
This one doesn’t take up a great deal of room in the Museum, but it deserves its place amongst the more exotic exhibitions. Sir Clive Sinclair’s vision of the future was a great British failure and there were too many problems to list in one short paragraph. That said, who wouldn’t want a go in this 1980s electric dream?
Prince William and Prince Harry’s Zip Cadet Karts
Here’s another blast from the past, with two Zip Cadet Karts, designed for children aged between 8 and 11. The karts remain the property of Princes William and Harry. We wonder if the Duke of Cambridge will present these to Prince George and Princess Charlotte?
Fans of the Chevrolet Corvette will not be disappointed with the display of Vettes at the Haynes Motor Museum. You can chart the history of this all-American sports car thanks to six historic models. We think these cars are unlikely to fall down a sinkhole.
The Lotus position
Not to be left out, there’s one corner of Haynes devoted to Norfolk mustard. We adore this four-car collection, consisting of Elise, Europa, Elan and Elite. One day, somebody might fix the Elite’s headlights…
In the corner stands a Boxer…
In its day, the Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer (BB) was one of the fastest cars you could buy. The 512 stands for 5.0-litre, 12-cylinders – an engine that developed 360hp. With a top speed of 188mph, this wasn’t a Ferrari for the fainthearted.
A Triumph of British engineering
When you see cars like the Dolomite Sprint, you have to ask yourself, where did it all go wrong for Triumph? Of course, the reasons for the decline in the British car industry have been well documented, but in the ‘Dolly’ Sprint, Britain had a performance saloon to take on the world. It seems like a fitting conclusion to our round-up of the best exhibits at the Haynes International Motor Museum.