One very special lady owner from new…
The British Car Journey’s latest exhibit (on loan) is Princess Anne’s Middlebridge Scimitar…
They tell us:
(All words and images from the British Car Journey).
A car with one very special royal lady owner is the latest to arrive at the award-winning interactive classic car museum in Ambergate, Derbyshire.
A custom-built Middlebridge Scimitar No 5, which was previously owned by HRH Princess Anne for 35 years, has gone on display at Great British Car Journey.
The dark green car is exactly as it was the day it left the Nottingham factory on 13 December 1988 and delivered to the Princess Royal. It was the last of eight Scimitars that she owned over 52 years.
Amongst its distinctive detailing, the car features a unique bonnet emblem – a silver female jockey on a horse. The unique mascot was presented to the Princess Royal following her performance in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games where she competed on the late Queen Elizabeth II’s horse ‘Goodwill’.
The historically significant car remained in the Princess Royal’s ownership until very recently. It was stored at her country estate Gatcombe Park. Despite having 114,000 miles on the clock, the car is in remarkable condition, even boasting its original exhaust system.
Unfortunately, due to personal security reasons, Her Royal Highness has been unable to drive her cherished Scimitar No 5 for a number of years. Keen to preserve the car, Princess Anne agreed to the purchase of it by Middlebridge Scimitar enthusiast and classic car collector.
Mick Gaughran, Chairman of the Middlebridge Enthusiasts Scimitar Set (MESS), explained: “Princess Anne loved the car. She was incredibly sad to part with it, but agreed to it on condition that it would be sympathetically restored. The car had been incredibly well looked after and needed minimal work. It is simply stunning.”
The car was given its ‘minimalist’ restoration work by marque specialists with all conservation works agreed with Gatcombe Park.
“The cars have galvanised steel chassis and fibreglass bodies, so they don’t rot,” added Mick.
Following its conservation, Middlebridge Scimitar No 5 has been loaned to Great British Car Journey. It is now on display in the museum’s 150-strong collection of classic British cars, complete with its original personalised number plate – 1420 H, which was displayed on the car for 35 years. The number plate has since been returned to the 1420 Hussars, who originally gifted it to HRH on her twentieth birthday.
“Both the car’s royal and British motoring heritage will be fully appreciated at Great British Car Journey. Scimitar No 5 can now be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone,” he explained.”
The car was delivered to Great British Car Journey on Thursday 31 August. It is one of a number of historically significant cars on display in the museum, including Lord Baden Powell’s Rolls-Royce.
Richard Usher, founder of Great British Car Journey, who took delivery of Scimitar No 5 said: “I am incredibly grateful that Great British Car Journey has been chosen to display this historically significant car. Not only is it an eighties classic, the car also has an illustrious history and Royal provenance and is a wonderful addition to our exhibition.
“It is an absolutely stunning example of a Middlebridge Scimitar and is testament to HRH the Princess Royal’s care for the vehicle that it is in such a good condition, after 114,000 miles of, no doubt, enthusiastic driving!
“I have no doubt it will be much admired by the thousands of visitors who come here each year.”
The former owner of Middlebridge Scimitar Kohji Nakauchi, a huge classic car enthusiast and collector, was there for the handover of the Scimitar No 5 to Great British Car Journey. He said he was “very honoured” to see the car on display in the museum.
To view opening times and purchase discounted entry tickets to the attraction, visit www.Greatbritishcarjourney.com.
About Middlebridge No. 5 Scimitar
Princess Anne’s first Scimitar was a joint Christmas and 20th birthday gift in 1970 from Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
HRH’s personalised plate was a 20th birthday gift from the 14/20 Hussars of whom she is Colonel-in- Chief of the 14/20 King’s Hussars. The number plate was used on all Princess Anne’s Scimitars.
The car was specified with 5-speed manual transmission, econo-drive cruise control, head-lamp wipers, sapphire green pearlescent paint, a black velour interior and a car phone.
Princess Anne’s Scimitar is the only Middlebridge Scimitar to feature wipers on the front headlamps.
The drive train is totally original and, incredibly, this even includes the original exhaust system.
The interior clock still working and holding good time.
When the boot cubby boxes were opened, inside were the original car jack, wheel brace and the tool roll with all of the tools in original condition.
HRH was not only a Middlebridge Scimitar owner but was also active with the Middlebridge Enthusiasts Scimitar Set (MESS).
The sporting estate car had been Princess Anne’s car of choice since the 1970s. After Reliant ceased production in 1986, the rights to the design were bought by the now defunct Middlebridge Engineering, which designed and built her final Scimitar at its Nottingham factory.
She officially opened the new factory in Beeston, Nottinghamshire in 1988.
Only 79 Middlebridge Scimitars were built, and all but two can be traced today by MESS.
About Great British Car Journey
Great British Car Journey (GBCJ) is an award winning interactive classic car museum located at Derwent Works, Ambergate, Derbyshire.
It was opened in May 2021.
GBCJ was named as the Best New Tourism Attraction of the Year at the 2022 Visit Peak District and Derbyshire Awards. It was subsequently named as one of the top new tourism businesses in the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023.
The exhibition boasts a collection of 150 classic British cars manufactured and designed in the UK between 1903 – 2000, including the classic Mini, Austin Seven, Ford Escort and the DeLorean.
GBCJ takes visitors through a nine-stage story of the rise and demise of the British motor industry using a unique interactive device which has been created by event technology specialists Imagineear.
The attraction also boasts an immersive on-site classic car driving experience – Drive Dad’s Car. Visitors can take an instructor-accompanied drive in a selection of nearly 50 iconic British cars, including the Austin Seven, Morris Minor, Rolls Royce Silver Spirit and the original Wolseley 14/60 driven by actress Honeysuckle Weeks in the ITV drama Foyle’s War.
Keep up-to-date with developments at Great British Car Journey and Drive Dad’s Car on social media:
Facebook – @GreatBritishCarJourney and @drivedadscarTwitter – @car_british and @DadsDriveInstagram – @gbcarjourney and @drive_dads_car
Book tickers to the attraction at www.greatbritishcarjourney.com
Book Drive Dad’s Car driving experiences at www.drivedadscar.com
Visit the Great British Car Journey online shop at buy-merchandise/