I’ve written this post because this is a visitor attraction that disappeared, one of those old-fashioned privately-owned museums that gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure over the years, but ran its time and closed.
The owners were Colin Vincent and his wife Carole Vincent. It was situated at The Old Mill, Terras Road, St Stephen, St Austell, Cornwall, PL26 7RX. The site was redeveloped as flats some years back.
The motor museum was first opened in 1980, with Colin’s personal collection of cars, and was the only significant transport collection in the South West. There were a few cars at Flambards and a small/private Newquay Motor Museum, but Automobilia was the largest and had a very interesting collection of cars and memorabilia. With over 50 vehicles on display and another 50 in storage, the exhibits were rotated on a regular basis. The cars cover the years from the early 1900s to the post-war sports cars of the 1950s-1960s, it was well worth a visit. The owners also kept quite a lot of spare parts for old cars, making it a magnet for car restorers to source a vital spare part. There was also a 1-hour long video to watch and they had a cafe.
Automobilia was only open from April to October each year, for the main holiday season.
Colin Vincent is still collecting, and selling, car parts. He attends the Beaulieu Autojumbles, where, in 2011, he won “The Best Stand” award, chosen by show sponsors, Classics Monthly. Colin was selling a huge range of automobilia on his stand. Colin and his wife Carole have had a stand at every International Autojumble since the event’s first year in 1967 and every Spring Autojumble too.
Classics Monthly editor, Gary Stretton praised their stand for its variety of stock. He said:” the stand is intriguing to the eye and is always worth checking over for that hidden gem that we are all searching for.”
A lot of Colin’s stock has come from the automobilia museum he used to run in St Austell, Cornwall, and ranges from veteran items to the 1960s.
Colin was presented with his award from Lord Montagu. In addition to the trophy, he will also receive a free stand at the Spring 2012 event.
The information that used to be on the old website said: Many years of painstaking detective and restoration work have assembled at St Stephen-in-Brannel, the most comprehensive collection of vintage and veteran cars in the South West.
Automobilia is housed on three floors of a fine old 19th century watermill and two outbuildings. It aims to give shape and structure to the development of the motor car from the horseless carriages of 1904 to the classic sports cars of the ’60’s.
Unusually, the top floor of the cars’ main showcase is dedicated to “Autojumble” – a kind of veterans’ parts warehouse where elusive components may be found to complete a restoration, or encourage a new beginning. An audio-visual presentation traces the history of the collection and explains the extraordinary mixture of dedication, coincidence and piece-by-piece restoration] that have saved the older cars for posterity.
Each car on display is there on merit – for its popularity, eccentricity or originality in engineering or construction. And naturally there are stars – a Marendaz, a Skinner Union, a one-off Bentley from “W.O’s” heyday – which makes this a must for all true enthusiasts.
Displays of motoring memorabilia spice the main exhibits and a large number of reproduction and modern motoring accessories can be purchased in the museum shop in Reception.
Alternatively, the Grille Room on the ground-floor of the Mill offers the chance to sit down and discuss the exhibits over a home-made cake, a hot snack or full meal.