End of the road for Colyford motoring museum

Shrine to the heady days of British motoring will close at the end of the month

THE checkered flag is about to come down on a Colyford shrine to the heady days of British motoring.

Since it opened some eight years ago, the village’s nationally acclaimed Museum of Motoring Memories has attracted thousands of visitors.

They are transported on a journey back in time - to the days when motoring was fun and uncomplicated, when there was a choice of petrol on the same forecourt, with a splash of Redex available for extra zip.

These were the years when AA Patrol men saluted members as they drove past and when the idea of having to get out of the car to fill your own tank, or check the oil and water, was unthinkable.

Reminders of these bygone times fill the museum – there are clock faced petrol pumps and iconic globes, enamel signs, and well loved advertisements, as well as cars, vans and trikes.

Renowned “Petroleum Collectables” author Mike Berry described it as “one of the great quality collations in the country.”

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But now owner Robin Barnard reckons he’s reached the end of the road and is planning to close the exhibition at the end of this month and sell off his collection.

“I have been collecting for some 40 years and I have decided to call it a day,” he told The Herald. “It will be a wrench but you can only go on for so long and I have done what I wanted to do and I want to be freer to do something else.

“The old petrol pumps on the forecourt will stay but all the other memorabilia will have to go.”

Mr Barnard, former owner of the Grove Nite Club in Seaton, bought the Colyford filling station in 1982 and ran it until it became un-economical – following the arrival of local cheap supermarket petrol.

He knew his days were numbered the day he realised he could go to Tesco and buy the fuel cheaper than he could get it from his wholesaler.

“It was the death knell,” he said.

But the demise of the garage in 2001 paved the way for Mr Barnard to fulfil his dream of opening a museum to house his fabulous collection of motoring memorabilia, amassed over some 40 years.

“It has been a hobby and a lot of fun and I have enjoyed every minute of it – but I am not immortal and I don’t want someone left to have to sort it all out. I don’t want them to have that responsibility,” he added.