Beaulieu’s 25th Spring Autojumble echoed to the roar of the newly restored Costin-Nathan racing car as it was driven by its original creator Roger Nathan as part of the packed silver-themed anniversary event.
For its Californian owner Michael Plitkins, it was the first time he had ever seen the unique car after buying it by phone at auction and commissioning its restoration. Michael, who flew in for the show, said: “I’m really pleased with how it has turned out. When it came up for auction, I decided this was a rare opportunity to buy a racing car quite rare in design and completely original in concept. I got in touch with Roger and commissioned him to oversee the restoration. It’s tremendous, utterly fantastic. I love the car.”
Roger Nathan, who created the 1965 Costin-Nathan with Frank Costin, then drove it to success in the 1966 Coupes de Paris race at the Montlhéry circuit – becoming a David slaying the big Goliath race teams. Roger said: “It’s been wonderful and a great privilege to have a second chance to drive it, like having a second life!”
At the unveiling of its restoration, Lord Montagu said: “The Costin-Nathan is a wonderful example of a racing car and you can see the innovation in its design with wood, metal and aviation technology. I am delighted that it will be going on display in the National Motor Museum.”
As many as 8,512 visitors and 2,951 exhibitors attended Beaulieu’s Spring Autojumble (May 18th & 19th) in search of motoring bargains on more than 1,000 stands packed with spare parts, accessories and automobilia – an increase over last year’s numbers of 8,348 visitors and 2,905 exhibitors.
The event also featured book signings by TV presenter and inventor Edd China on the stand of show media sponsor Practical Classics. The former Wheeler Dealers mechanic drove into the show on his motorised sofa, Casual Loafer, to chat to fans about his new book Grease Junkie – A book of moving parts, which tells his life story.
In a celebratory Mini 60 display, the Mini Cooper Register gathered 60 classic Minis in a line-up marking six decades of the British motoring icon. Covering milestones from the earliest Morris-Mini Minors, through the 1970s Clubman to the last Rover Mini Coopers, the rare and remarkable cars included a Mini Cooper police car, ex-BMC Works rally car, luxury Mini Countryman estate converted by coachbuilder Harold Radford and 1980s Mini Sky special edition. Lord Montagu presented club members with celebratory glasses to mark the anniversary.
The Dorset branch of the Morris Minor Owners’ Club celebrated the silver event with its popular MoggyFest and recreated the front cover of the first Spring Autojumble showguide in 1994, which pictured a Morris Traveller laden with spare parts en route to Beaulieu. With a Traveller in the same rare colour tracked down specially for the show, every detail was replicated to mirror the original image.
The Morgan Sports Car Club and Wessex Car Club didn’t disappoint with their impressive displays, both showcasing their members’ cars.
The Best Stand trophy, donated by Lolly Lee in memory of her father, autojumbler Terry Lee, was awarded to Matt Beale and his family, from Weston-super-Mare, for their colourful sale of oil cans, historic signs, petrol pumps and automobilia. At the heart of their stand was a vintage petrol pump which had been painted silver for the occasion. The stand was selected by Practical Classics Editor Danny Hopkins for embodying the spirit of the event and the trophy was presented by Lord Montagu and Lolly Lee, who said: “The stand is like a flashback for me, it’s just how my father’s stand used to be.”
Winner Matt said: “We have been coming to Spring Autojumble for 10 years and selling for four years and I’ve been fortunate enough to turn my passion of collecting into a business.” Matt’s son Cameron said: “Over the past few years, our stand has grown and grown and we have bought a bigger caravan to fit the stand!”
Event sponsor Practical Classics brought along its project car, a 1968 Austin Mini estate that has been off the road for more than 40 years. When its owner, the magazine’s Projects Editor Matt Tomkins wanted to try starting the car’s long-dormant engine, he searched the show’s stands and discovered the perfect replacement ignition key! A big hit on the stand was Bluebell, the 1959 Standard Ten Gold Star that captured the hearts of thousands of classic car enthusiasts when it was saved from destruction in Ford’s scrappage scheme. Bluebell will stay on display in the National Motor Museum until September.
Enthusiasts looking to take home a full-size classic had plenty to choose from at Automart, which offered historic machines as varied as a pair of Jaguar E-type coupe body shells at £20,000 and £25,000, well-preserved 1953 Ford Prefect E493A at £6,200 and a well-patinated but roadworthy 1962 American Ford Econoline truck at £12,500. Plenty of dream cars were on sale in the range of classics at Dealermart.
Fans of the nation’s favourite 4×4 were spoiled by Sunday’s Land Rover Rummage as traders offered parts including wheels, seats, gearboxes and engines, as well as body tubs and a complete rolling chassis. The Solent and District Land Rover Club also displayed several of its members’ Land Rovers.
Sunday’s popular Trunk Traders was a treasure trove of surplus spares, tools, books and more, as eager buyers snapped up plenty of bargains from the trestle tables and car boots.