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Rootes Heritage, Unit 15 Apollo Office Park
Ironstone Lane, Wroxton, Banbury, Oxon OX15 6AY

Rootes Heritage

Rootes Archive Centre - What is it?

Archives of the Manufacture of Cars by Rootes and associated Companies
- and more!
Home News Calendar Access How to Help Facebook New Web site Shop Certificates Vehicles The Archive Press

Please note, this site is currently not maintained. It is kept on-line for research purposes. The new Web site is here.


Do you want to learn about the history and achievements of the 3rd largest British car manufacturer? Then read on!

Grand Opening 22nd April 2018. Over 100 classic cars with around 200 Friends visited Rootes Heritage for Drive-It! Day and the Grand Opening on 22/4/2018. It was a fantastic day for all our Friends who attended, with Lord Nick Rootes and the Revd. Bill Rootes presiding. Some pictures taken during the event.

You can see a publicity brochure explaining the origins and current status of the Rootes Archive Centre Trust here.

Your help is still needed! We need your donations to complete payment for the new building. You can donate or subscribe to be a Friend of the Archive Centre or you can volunteer to help identify and catalogue all the artefacts which are in our care.

Most recent event and latest news of activities in which you can participate here. Please come and join us!

The Rootes Archive Centre

An exciting venture that is now benefitting all members of Rootes Car Clubs.

Some "big" questions that we aim to answer are:

  1. - What were the "visions" of the Rootes brothers and family?
  2. - How were their visions translated into manufacturing, namely into the 3rd largest British car manufacturer?
  3. - How was their production achieved?
  4. - How were their products marketed and consumed?
  5. - How did this impact upon the communities surrounding the manufacturing bases in the Midlands, Scotland and overseas?
  6. - How were their vehicles used, and how did this impact upon the wider evolving British and world wide society?

In addition to our historical research, a very important part of our work is to provide copies of the original drawings and archive documents for study and for re-manufacture of parts to keep your vehicles on the road or to authenticate their origin.

The ARCC exists to promote the interests of all the clubs interested in Rootes vehicles, in part by sharing information. Preserving and making available archive material from the Rootes Group is an essential part of this. In 2004, ARCC members were able to rescue the Rootes Engineering Department archives from Humber Road, Coventry. This is a truly fantastic collection of material: the complete library of engineering drawings from the early 1960s to the end of the Chrysler era, including anything from the late 50s that was modified in the 60s; so there's a lot for Minx, Rapier, Gazelle and Humber ranges, plus everything relating to Arrow, Avenger, Imp etc. There are drawings and specifications for all chassis and body items including mechanical, electrical, soft trim etc. It all amounts to at least 150,000 items stored in 47 4ft x3ft metal cabinets, a dozen filing cabinets and 75ft of 8ft high racking containing original drawings. The card index catalogue alone fills 92 drawers. We also now have a microfiche collection which goes back even earlier to 1934.

The Centre

We were very lucky to initially have two years of free storage thanks to an ARCC member, although we were not able to un-pack and organise everything at that time. For five years following that we rented a building on the Westcott Venture Park near Bicester. This enabled us to operate as an Archive Centre where the material can be made available for research. We have set up a charitable trust to operate the Centre so it is financially and legally separate from ARCC and the individual clubs. After five years at Westcott we moved to a new location at the Cherwell Business Village not far from the centre of Banbury. Most recently we have moved again to a permanent location in Wroxton near Banbury.

A fully equipped Archive Centre doesn't come cheap, although the option we now have is a lot less expensive than others we have investigated. It offers us facilities for study rooms and meeting rooms for clubs to use as well as storage for the archives. We are continually investigating commercial and private sponsorship to supplement the income we receive from ARCC.

  • The work of owners' clubs is to maintain information about extant vehicles and provide help to their owners. Whilst there are some common demands on information, we complement their activities by providing clear "factory", "family" and "community" perspectives.
  • The ARCC provides "critical mass" for items of common interest to the member clubs, including annual events, lobbying to hold off EU legislation so that we can continue to drive old cars on the road (in association with the FBHVC and Lord Montagu), and of course a common insurance scheme.
  • The work of the Archive Centre is focussed on conservation and making its unique collection available for historical research, re-manufacuring or restoration and educational purposes.

What this means for club members?

In addition to historical information about individual cars, these archives are the key to the continued supply of vital spares to keep our vehicles on the road. They are also a fascinating supply of historical information including some design ideas hitherto unknown. The availability of spares off the shelf has already largely dried up; it's increasingly hard to find new old stock parts at autojumbles. Spares remanufacture represents the only way to guarantee our cars can stay on the road in future despite the increasingly tough approach of government and licensing authorities. But remanufacturing spares is a risky area for clubs, and getting more so in the current climate of insurance claims and the threat of litigation. All ARCC clubs benefit from the protection of the public liability insurance ARCC provides; but in respect of spares supply and remanufacture, the requirement to demonstrate that you've taken all reasonable precautions can be difficult. Being able to use original specifications and technical drawings from the factory makes this a lot less risky. So this one reason for setting up the Archives Centre. Information about original specifications, finishes, etc. will also be of great value to those engaged in concours restorations, as well as marque historians, archivists and club members interested in the development of a particular model.

For the collection to be usable it needs to be properly catalogued and we have made a start on doing this, with the input of the expertise of ARCC member clubs. Having the priceless archive material of the Rootes Group in our possession is something most other classic car clubs can only dream of. ARCC has made this a reality, by founding and supporting the Rootes Archive Centre. We now need the commitment of all ARCC clubs and their members to make the Centre a continuing source of benefit to car owners, motoring historians and to awaken the interest of young people in large scale business, manufacturing and design in the UK.

"Preserving the past for the future."
Rootes Heritage, Unit 15 Apollo Office Park, Ironstone Lane, Wroxton, Banbury, Oxon OX15 6AY, UK

The Rootes Archive Centre is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales number 1108882.
Patrons: Lord Rootes, T.D. Rootes, W.B. Rootes.

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Web site developed and maintained by R.J. Allan
"Hand Knitted Software" 2005-18

Comments on and contributions to the Web site should be send to Bob Allan (e-mail).

Page last modified: Sunday, 12-Sep-2021 14:31:42 CEST