AFTER an exciting day for the town, locals and visitors to Taunton can now take a step inside the new County Classics Motor Museum.

The museum opens today following the grand opening yesterday, which allowed local dignitaries and the media to get an exclusive look inside after a speech from TV presenter Richard Hammond.

Pat Hawkins, a lifelong petrolhead, invested his life savings into the museum and battled adversity to see his dream become reality.

He told the County Gazette: "So many people have been a part of it and I'm indebted to all the staff and volunteers.

"It's so good to reach this stage after four years' hard work.

"I really want this for the people and for the town."

Patrick acquired the former County Stores building and immediately got to working clearing the inside to prepare for the major renovations.

Sadly, he was rushed in and out of hospital several times due to a congenital heart condition, which resulted in a professor from Chicago being flown out to help with Patrick's health.

Despite this, Patrick remained committed to the cause, and continued to work on the museum along with a team of dedicated staff and volunteers.

"When you spend so much time in hospital, you realise there's a chance you're not going to make this," he explained.

"I really want to give something back before it's too late."

Patrick also explained that he measured out every inch of the 23,500sq ft building in order to ensure he could fit every vehicle he wanted inside.

Some of the highlights on show inside the deceptively large museum include a Porsche 928, a Jaguar E-Type, an Aston Martin DB7, a Ford Escort Cosworth, and an Audi Quattro, among many, many more.

There is also a room dedicated to motorbikes, nine of which were donated by a friend of Pat's.

As well as the several 'areas' full of stunning classic cars, there is a brilliant café located in the centre of the museum to sit and enjoy a bite to eat before heading home or continuing with your visit.