Every year, the National Motor Museum collection is well-represented at shows and events across Europe. This month, with the international show season in full swing, the engineers in the museum workshop have been kept very busy, preparing a number of exhibits for summer outings.
The museum’s 1928 Mercedes 36/220, which was once owned by actor and broadcaster Peter Ustinov, travelled across the English Channel to take part in the Caen Rétrofestival. There, this vintage sports car won two prestigious trophies.
The 1961 Allard Dragster didn’t have to travel quite as far to go on display at Beaulieu’s Hot Rod and Custom Drive-In Day, held in the grounds of the museum. This astonishing machine, which was instrumental in establishing drag racing in the UK, formed part of an impressive two-car display alongside Russ Carpenter’s Daimler V8-powered dragster, Glacier Grenade.
No less than four of the National Motor Museum’s vehicles attended this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. The 1920 350hp Sunbeam, driven by Senior Engineer Ian Stanfield, and the 1929 Bolster Special ‘Bloody Mary’, driven by David Andrews, both impressed onlookers at the event. Although missing its engine, which was being rebuilt, the 1950 BRM V16 also took pride of place on the National Motor Museum’s stand.
However, the museum’s 1967 Lotus 49 had a very special guest driver, as 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill got behind the wheel for three runs up the famous Goodwood hill climb route. Although his father, F1 champion Graham Hill, had raced this car during the 1967 Formula 1 season, Damon had never driven this car before. “I really enjoyed it,” he said of the Lotus. “It’s a beauty.”
“It’s a bit of an aide memoir to my dad,” he said. “It’s got no seat belts, not much protection and no wings or anything like that, so driving this in the wet would have been quite scary.”