Plans are in motion to build an American car museum on the Isle of Wight. The sizeable attraction will feature a diverse range of cars against a backdrop of memorabilia and art. Other attractions will include a 100 seater cinema offering back to back screenings of car themed films and television shows, a 1950s style diner, a children's play area and a stretch of road where it will be possible to see the exhibits in action and even take a ride.
The museum – which has been named Route IOW in homage to iconic Route 66 – is the brainchild of writer and entrepreneur Chris Stephenson, who is hoping to raise some of the necessary investment capital with a crowdfunding campaign. With a £2 million target, the campaign is ambitious to say the least, but Stephenson is confident it can be achieved, saying, “I think people will want to get on board with this, because as far as I’m aware, there isn’t another museum devoted exclusively to American cars anywhere in the UK.”
Crowdfunding is Stephenson’s preferred option to raise money for the project, because he hopes to create an inclusive environment. As he says, “When people invest, they feel a sense of involvement, so in a very real sense, this won’t just be a private venture, but a museum of the people.”
It has not yet been decided exactly where on the Isle of Wight the museum will be situated, but Stephenson is keen to work with the Isle of Wight council to minimise any environmental impact and any disruption to local residences and businesses. The intention if possible is to repurpose an area of existing development that has fallen into disuse, thereby benefitting the local community.
With Brexit looming ever closer, now could be the ideal time for the Isle of Wight to raise its profile as a tourist destination. The European getaways that have become so popular with UK holidaymakers are likely to become both more expensive and more complicated, so they are bound to start looking at alternatives closer to home.
Route IOW is tentatively scheduled to open in April 2021. The crowdfunding campaign is launching on the Indiegogo platform on 4th March 2019.
Mr. Chris Stephenson
c/o Bonito Books
4 Holborn Viaduct,