Millbrook 50Th Anniversary Proving Ground Logo Tracks Map

50 Years of Millbrook

Explore the 50th anniversary webpage to discover facts about Millbrook’s rich 50 year history, as well as images and information from the company’s archive and alumni.

2020 marks 50 years since Millbrook was born. Since then, the company has invested and expanded to become a global provider of vehicle test and validation services and systems.

 

"So many memories I could write a book about the place." Andrew Frankel, Freelance Automotive Journalist

Millbrook Proving Ground Hill Route then and now

Millbrook’s Proving Ground in Bedfordshire was opened in 1970 by General Motors as a dedicated testing and development facility for Bedford and Vauxhall. Favoured for having both naturally flat and hilly sections, the Proving Ground took two years to construct. It involved moving nearly 2 million cubic metres of earth and laying more than 100,000 cubic metres of aggregate, hardcore, sand and cement.

 

"It has always been the friend of both car enthusiast and car buyer." Patrick Fuller, Former Editor of Autocar

50 Facts About Millbrook

Do you know everything there is to know about Millbrook? Have a look through the following facts to find out!

Rod Calvert standing in front of tracks at Millbrook Proving Ground

Alumni Interviews

People have always been, and will continue to be, the most critical element of Millbrook's success. Hear about Millbrook's past from the people that experienced it.

We interviewed Rod Calvert, who was an engineer at Millbrook from the day it opened, and was eventually made Managing Director in 1985. We also spoke to John Wathew, who helped build the proving ground in the 1960s; as well as Dave Boon and Peter Davis, who both discuss Millbrook memories that span across 5 decades. Kevin Gough told us all about the history of the Leyland facility, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Read Rod's Interview

Read John's Interview

Read Dave and Peter's Interview

Read Kevin's Interview

History of Millbrook

Take a look at Millbrook's journey through the last 50 years

Millbrook Village in early 1900s

Millbrook takes its name from the nearby village where, in the early 19th century, a flourishing community of Mills nestled around a picturesque brook.

Milford Proving Ground, Michigan USA, Millbrook's Inspiration

In 1924, construction began on the General Motors Proving Ground in Milford, United States. Millbrook's design was inspired by this site.

Millbrook Proving Ground Hill Route then and now

In the mid-1960s, Vauxhall and Bedford decided that they needed a proving ground similar to those that General Motors operated in the USA. The company scoured the UK for a suitable site that was both flat and hilly, as hills were needed for testing. Eventually, Millbrook was founded.

Millbrook Proving Ground Belgian Pave under construction in 1960s - 1970s

Construction work began in April 1968. It was a 2 year project involving various parties and a large number of workers.

Vauxhall and Bedford Truck on tracks at Millbrook Proving Ground 1970s

Millbrook officially opened in 1970. For the first 18 years, Vauxhall cars and Bedford trucks, buses and military vehicles consumed the efforts of the small staff team on site.

Lotus cars at Millbrook Proving Ground in 1980s

In 1988 a new company, Millbrook Proving Ground Ltd, was formed to trade independently as a wholly owned subsidiary of Group Lotus.

Bus emissions test engineer working in the VTEC chassis dynamometer at Millbrook Proving Ground

In 1993 Millbrook was separated from Group Lotus by transferring its shares to GM Holdings UK Ltd. The company continued to flourish as an independently managed business by investing in high technology areas.

Test World, Ivalo, Finland, - view of winter test tracks and proving ground from the air

Millbrook Group was formed in 2015 when Millbrook acquired Test World, a world leading winter vehicle and tyre testing facility in Finland.

Spectris Logo

In 2016 Millbrook joined the Test and Measurement business segment of Spectris plc, a leading supplier of productivity-enhancing instrumentation and controls.

JCB on a ride simulator test rig structural test laboratory at Millbrook

In 2017 Millbrook expanded its test capacity with the acquisition of a new site in Leyland, Lancashire. Opening in 1980 as Leyland Technical Centre, the site has an impressive set of facilities to test vehicles across commercial, automotive and off-highway sectors.

Electrified driveline test facility at Millbrook in California with two engineers

2018 saw Millbrook continue to expand globally with the acquisition of Millbrook Revolutionary Engineering; a test service and equipment provider headquartered in the US, with presence in China and Germany.

Workshops for hire at Millbrook Proving Ground's technology park autonomous car test facility

In 2019, Millbrook opened its Autonomous Village. Built to support the development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), it consists of 6 purpose-built workshops and access to a private 5G network.

Battery performance test facility at Millbrook Proving Ground view from the air

2019 saw huge investments across Millbrook, including its Battery Test Facility, run by Millbrook's REPS software. Millbrook also installed its own EDU test systems at its site in Leyland.