National Motor Museum at Birdwood acquire historic vehicle

1929 Chamberlain 8 racing car on show at the Birdwood museum.
1929 Chamberlain 8 racing car on show at the Birdwood museum.

The National Motor Museum, Birdwood, revealed its much anticipated acquisition to the public this week – the outstanding 1929 Chamberlain 8 racing car.

Education Minister John Gardner was guest of honour at the launch on Sunday, September 2.

According to museum director Paul Rees, the Chamberlain 8 is the only custom racing car wholly designed and built in Australia and it is one of Australia’s best documented and preserved Grand Prix cars.

“It is an Australian special race car that was built in 1929 and was the ingenious concept of famed engineers and brothers Bob and Bill Chamberlain,” Mr Rees said.

The brothers went on to create the highly successful Chamberlain tractors.

“This special car is a great vehicle for telling the story of Australian motorsport history; and it puts a spotlight on the two brothers, Australia’s early unsung heroes of engineering,” he said.

The Chamberlain 8 is valued at over $320,000 and was recently acquired for the National Motor Museum with the support of the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account and SA Government.

The acquisition was also made possible through the generous support of the museum's many supporters, motoring heritage enthusiasts, clubs and organisations as well as from the thousands of visitors to the Museum through a public fundraising campaign.

"When we saw that the Chamberlain was on the market, we thought it would be an ideal car to have on display,” museum’s senior curator Mick Bolognese said.

“It is a fantastic example of early Australian engineering ingenuity and it has such a strong story that makes it the ideal Museum object for people to explore and understand.

“I thought we were being ambitious trying to get it, but if you don’t ask you don’t get I guess.

“I’m so happy that it’s finally here and on display,” Mr Bolognese said.

The Chamberlain 8 is now on display at the National Motor Museum, Shannon Street, Birdwood.

It arrives in time for one of the world’s great historic motoring events, the Bay to Birdwood, hosted for Sunday, September 30 and finishing at the museum.