National Motor Museum's classic acquisition

National Motor Musum, Birdwood. File photo.
National Motor Musum, Birdwood. File photo.

The National Motor Museum at Birdwood is a massive step closer to its latest acquisition of a classic race car, the Chamberlain 8.

The $200,000 federal government’s National Cultural Heritage Account grant is a “massive boost” to our fundraising efforts, according to museum director Paul Rees.

“The Chamberlain 8 is an Australian Special and is one of Australia’s best documented and preserved Grand Prix cars,” he said.

“First built in 1928, it was an ingenious concept of famed engineers and brothers, Bob and Bill Chamberlain and will be a fantastic addition to the Museum’s collection.”

Senior curator Mick Bolognese says the racing car is one of a kind.

“It was one of Australia’s most technically advanced and visually appealing race cars of the era.

“It is believed to be the only racing car completely designed and built in Australia without the use of components from other makes,” he said.

“The Chamberlain brothers – who successfully went onto manufacture tractors - were among a group of prominent engineers who significantly contributed to Australia’s technological and motoring history.”

The vehicle and the accompanying historical items have been independently valued at $320,000.

The museum’s target is to raise $260,000 for the acquisition, and so far has raised close to $255,000.

The South Australian Government provided $40,000 in 2017 through Arts SA.

Mr Rees added that the finish line is finally in sight.

“With the end of financial year approaching, we are hoping to conclude the public fundraising soon and have this unique vehicle on display at the Museum from September this year.”

The museum was started by Jack Kaines and Len Vigar in 1964, and was purchased by the South Australian Government in 1976.

Today it holds a large and historically important collection of cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles.

The museum is housed in a modern complex adjacent to its original home, the ‘Old Mill’ on Shannon Street, Birdwood.