On a very wet Saturday morning, members from several MAFVA branches assembled at a motorsport museum - one with a difference. We were at the Donington Park race circuit, home to the
Wheatcroft racing car collection. Part of the museum is taken up by the military vehicle collection owned by Kevin Wheatcroft. Once inside, our group quickly forgot about their travel trials and tribulations on seeing what was available to view and several busy hours were spent examining the exhibits. After lunch in the cafe and perhaps another hour or two in the museum we departed, feeling much happier, in the sunshine and with the roar of racing engines from the circuit.
The Wheatcroft Military Vehicle Collection is one of the foremost privately owned collections in the world.
It consists of several hundred vehicles and artillery pieces plus hundreds of other items of equipment, militaria and other memorabilia. The emphasis is on German WW2 weaponry but also includes Allied items and other military collectibles. Of these, a notable item is a German S-Boat that is currently under restoration having been recovered from the bottom of the English Channel. There are many rarities in the collection and the restoration is to a very high standard, the philosophy being to fnish them as close to the original as possible. Many of the vehicles are runners.
The Military Collection at the Grand Prix Museum is only a small part of the main Wheatcroft collection which is located elsewhere but it allows enthusiasts to see items which are otherwise not open to public view. Currently, there are two halls containing the military exhibits and the plan is to rotate these with vehicles and items in the main collection. This will enable visitors to gradually view different parts of the collection over time. Current notable exhibits include a very fne display of VW Kubelwagens and Harley Davidson motorcycles, a rare functioning Trippel amphibious car, RSO tracked cargo carrier, SdKfz 9 Famo, 7 and 250 halftracks.
Our thanks to Kevin Wheatcroft for the invitation, Alex Wheatcroft for the visit arrangements and the Donington Collection staff for making us very welcome.