Derby has a strong connection with the car industry and plans have been revealed for a new classic car museum to be built within the city. A warehouse will be transformed at Friar Gate Goods Yard, with the plans being drawn up by Great Northern Classics.
The brains behind the project, Mike Copestake, hopes for the factory to become a “motoring heaven” and help to keep the classic car industry alive. Copestake said “the proposed plans will turn the derelict warehouse into a vibrant hub of engineering. It will become a motoring heaven.”
“This is the only scheme of its kind in the UK and we believe it will be perfect for Derby – it’s a city of engineering after all. The development of the site will, in turn, save the building, which is one of Derby’s best known landmarks and one of the most important Victorian industrial buildings in the country. But, most importantly, this development will ensure the classic car legacy continues.”
As part of the project, Derby College students would carry out maintenance and inspections of classic cars. Project manager of the college, Rachel Topliss stated “the aim of this specialised training programme is to bring new life into the vehicle restoration industry. Many of the experts in this field are now approaching retirement and it is vital that we provide young people with training opportunities to maximise the growth in career opportunities in heritage engineering as a whole and ensure that these skills are not lost forever. We are delighted to be part of these exciting plans and I very much hope that this will come to fruition.”
The museum would contain car storage facilities for collectors who want to store their vehicles, or show them off in a high-security facility. The cars would be visible from a restaurant on one of the upper-galleries.
Getting the project funded is in the early stages, with an estimated £10 million needing to be invested. Copestake is hoping funding can be acquired from the Local Enterprise Partnership, which is an organisation that promotes economic growth in Derby. “This project needs to start soon. The majority of specialists in the country are ageing. With no outlet for transferring their skills these highly-valued skills will disappear. The Great Northern Bonded Warehouse’s training scheme will address this, injecting the heritage vehicle sector with much-needed new blood.”