The wheels continue to turn on a new yet-to-open Warrnambool motor museum, but when it does it's expected to attract thousands of car enthusiasts from across the country.
Fletcher Jones owner Dean Montgomery said the Warrnambool Motor Museum, housed inside the former factory, would open next year.
"During COVID we took the foot off the accelerator and focused on more important things," Mr Montgomery said.
"Now we're picking it all up again."
The museum will include about 100 historic vehicles as well as motorbikes, steam traction engines and other exhibits.
Highlights include Dame Nellie Melba's 1908 Renault which is the oldest vehicle in the museum, as well as a Porsche Speedster, a 2011 Formula One car, Peter Brock's 1993 Bathurst entry and two of Dick Johnson's Sandown 500 entries.
"I know there's lots of people disappointed it's not open yet but I do it as I can afford it and one day it will be open," Mr Montgomery said.
"Hopefully not too far away."
Mr Montgomery said when purchasing vehicles he was drawn to the story behind it, its provenance, history and how original it was.
"Everything that I have collected has a background story about where the car is from," he said.
"Whether it's a steam engine, who's owned it, if it's had a colourful past.
"I think it's important to tell the story of each exhibit - not just have a car sitting there with a sign on it saying what the car is, but more about the history of the car.
"We don't have any replicas in the museum. Everything is original."
The businessman bought the former factory site and gardens, which are heritage-listed, in 2014 and said a lot of work had been done in that time including asbestos and rubbish removal, roof repairs and repainting the iconic silver ball, which is due to be repainted again at a cost of about $50,000.
Mr Montgomery hasn't received any local or government grants to help repair the historic site which has both south-west and national significance.
"There's been road blocks. There's a hell of a lot of work in getting an old building that's three quarters fallen down, trying to get it back open again. We're getting there.
"It's been a long time since I started. We'll eventually get there. This is the last hurdle to get over. There's about $500,000 of work still to do with the fire system. That's the last piece of the puzzle."
He has two full-time employees at the premises, including a builder, who were "every day renovating some part of the Fletcher Jones site".
"I don't like putting a timeline on it because every time I do it blows out," Mr Montgomery said. "Realistically it's about six months of work to finish."
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