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10 Ton World’s Fastest Car ‘lifts off’ in daring relocation manoeuvre

08 December 2014

The world’s fastest car, Thrust SSC, moved house this weekend as it was relocated from the old Spirit of Speed gallery within Coventry Transport Museum, to a new home in an all-new ‘Biffa Award Land Speed Record Gallery’, which is set to open in early 2015 in a different part of the museum.

The daring relocation manoeuvre saw the 54ft long, 10-tonne supersonic car hoisted over the rear gates of the museum, before being transported to a low-loader lorry and driven at walking pace around the outskirts of the building.  The vehicle, which measures almost the same length as two double-decker buses laid end-to-end, was then once again lifted in the air on a crane and placed into position just outside the new gallery, at the front of the museum.  Museum staff then delicately manoeuvred the car into the brand new exhibition space.  Thrust SSC’s predecessor Thrust 2 had been moved in the same way just minutes before.

Museum staff and contractors kept the highly specialised move under wraps and carried it out early on Saturday morning, although planning for the unique operation had been happening behind closed doors for months.  Moving the vehicles to the new gallery was all part of Coventry Transport Museum’s £8.5m Redevelopment, which is currently underway.  By the time the work is completed in Summer 2015, 12 of the museum’s 14 galleries will have been completely transformed, giving visitors a fresh perspective on Coventry’s fascinating transport history.

Gary Hall, Chief Executive at Culture Coventry, the trust which runs Coventry Transport Museum said:

“This was a fantastic moment for everyone involved.  Thrust SSC has lived permanently at Coventry Transport Museum since it was acquired in 2001, four years after it smashed the World Land Speed Record in the Black Rock Desert – and this was the first time it had moved since its arrival.  We are absolutely thrilled to be giving both Thrust SSC and Thrust 2 a new home in their own specially designed Biffa Award Land Speed Record Gallery, where they will be joined by an all-new 4D Land Speed Record simulator – the whole thing is set to be a real ‘WOW’ for visitors old and new.” 

“Whilst the work on the museum is not due to be finally completed until Summer 2015, we are really pleased that we will be opening the new Land Speed Record Gallery in February – so visitors haven’t got long to wait to come and enjoy it!”

The relocation manoeuvre was managed by Leicester-based MFH Construction Projects, and the moves were undertaken by Collett & Sons Ltd, a Halifax-based company specialising in transport, heavy lift, marine services and transport consulting. 

Martin Gallagher, Construction Managing Director at J Tomlinson, the company tasked with managing the base build works and bringing together the specialist teams from MFH Construction Projects and Collett & Sons, to move the Thrust vehicles, said:

“Transferring these two very special cars into their new home was not only a unique operation, it also marked a key point in the extension and refurbishment of Coventry Transport Museum.  Thrust2 and ThrustSSC are the two fastest cars in the world, and we are very pleased to have been part of the team that has created a new, prominent gallery for them so that they can be displayed in all their glory. We will now begin work on the area that these cars previously occupied, as J Tomlinson continues the development of the home of this internationally significant transport collection.”

Visitors will be able to see Thrust SSC and Thrust 2 in their new Land Speed Record Gallery from February 2015 onwards. The new gallery has been generously supported by Biffa Award, a multi-million pound environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT), which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.
The Transport Museum redevelopment is also funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Garfield Weston Foundation.  The redevelopment project is due to be completed by Summer 2015.

See photos of how the day unfolded on our Facebook page.

Find out more about our Redevelopment works here.

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