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Hollywood’s Famous Vehicles in Cumbria England

Cars of the Stars Movie Car Museum Keswick photoRiddle me this: What is the Batmobile – three of them, actually – doing in a small quaint forming mining town in North England’s Cumbria Lake District? If you are fan of movie car chases or iconic vehicles driven by movie stars you used to be able to go to Hollywood. George Barris who designed the TV series Batmobile and the Munster car used to have them on display at his shop in Hollywood. Or dropping a delivery off at Warner Bros. there would be a couple of wrecked “Generals” from “The Dukes of Hazzard” and a DeLorean from “Back To The Future” shoved into a corner of the back parking lot like a junk yard for abandoned movie cars.

Hollywood Movie Cars in England Keswick photoThat was until a resident of Keswick, a picturesque village in the lake dappled hills of Cumbria between Lancaster and Carlisle, Peter D Nelson, a painter/sculptor with a fascination for cars rented his classic MG to a British film production. This gave him the idea to track down other movie cars and start a collection, which has grown to quite amazing proportions. In 1989, the decidedly unique and off the beaten track Cars of the Stars Museum opened in a former service garage the Royal Oak Garage in the center of Keswick. The collection contains many of the most recognized cars in movie history. Aside from three of the Batmobiles from different eras and incarnations of the Dark Knight, the collection has five Aston Martins from the James Bond films along with other less recognized cars from the film series.

Batmobiles Film Auto Museum Keswick photoThe Barris masterpiece Munster Car from the 60’s TV series is on display along with the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” flying car built by fictitious the Caractacus Potts played by the real Dick Van Dyke. There were a number of cars built for the film of which two are at Keswick, another is at Beaulieu (see National Motor Museum). The Lotus Elan from the later seasons of “The Avengers” is here along with the Lotus 7 driven by Patrick MacGoohan in 60’s television’s most curious British TV series “The Prisoner”. The “Flintstones”, “Back To The Future”, “Pink Panther” are in the collection as well as the “Mad Max Interceptor” and a Model T Ford used in Laurel and Hardy films. Stan Laurel was born in nearby Ulverston where there’s a small museum dedicated to the comedic duo. There is a collection of movie props and memorabilia here as well, like Darth Vader's most famous movie villain costume.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car photoThe Cars of the Stars Keswick movie car museum which claims to be world famous, perhaps among collectors, is a rather nondescript brick garage from the outside with some low budget signage, but inside the remarkable collection of cars are displayed in mini movie sets, with accompanying lighting and sound effects. Parking for the Cars of the Stars Museum is at the town public parking pay lot a few steps from the old central Keswick Shambles historic tourist area, from where daily guided walks of Keswick and the surrounding Lakeland sites depart and across from a row of very nice little B&B's (see Keswick Guest Houses). The film and tv vehicle museum is not the only individualists collection in Keswick. Across the main road is the Keswick Mining Museum of artifacts of the areas mining history. Keswick is 15 miles from Junction 40 on the M6 motorway.

Prisoner Car Keswick Auto Museum PhotoAdmission to the Cars of the Stars Keswick is £4.00 for adults and £3.00 for kids and open from 10 to 5 daily. Car model miniatures and some fan merchandise can be had in the entrance shop. But don’t plan to take pictures, the place is wired like “Goldfinger’s” Fort Knox, let a flash go off and the “A Team” will show up to haul you off to “The Prisoner’s Village” (see Portmeirion Village) where you’ll forever be trapped as Number 6. © Bargain Travel Europe

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