Having visited the Rootes Archive Centre at Banbury, it’s amazing how much wonderful material there is in there, and how effective and selfless a job the volunteers of the RACT do unravelling and preserving it.
They’re to be congratulated on their efforts and enthusiasm. But it’s clear why a new base is needed. The archive centre is housed in a small section of a former laboratory complex. Or rather it’s squeezed in, using every available inch of space. The Archive would obviously benefit from better and bigger storage facilities, without the worry of how much the rent is likely to rise the following year.
Such a fine collection of historical material – which is of significance to any British classic fan, not just Rootes aficionados – deserves a secure home to showcase it.
The archives of other British car firms are safe, looked after by official bodies with adequate funding. Rootes doesn’t have that luxury and is therefore much more vulnerable and at risk.
The more that can be done to establish a permanent base for this collection – so much of which hasn’t been fully explored or is known about by the general public – the richer the entire UK classic car scene will be.
Don’t forget too that the decades of plans and drawings are allowing remanufacture of obsolete spares. That’s making jobs for people and keeping vehicles on the road that might otherwise have been sidelined.