In Driving Change, meet the talking crash test dummy. From safety belts to crumple zones, head rests to air bags, push buttons to hear his fascinating facts about how safety has evolved with motoring innovations and technology throughout history.
Interactive hands-on features use turning knobs and handles to discover how gears, suspension and engines work.
Legislation, gadgets and gizmos are all explored, with film footage, memorabilia and cars from the museum’s collection telling the story of motoring right up to today’s electric vehicles and making predictions for the future.
See iconic cars that marked huge advances in automotive design, including the Crossley Burney Streamline of the 1930s, with its rear-mounted engine and futuristic styling, and the tiny Peel P50 micro-car, which tackled the problem of city congestion.
Compare the Austin A40 Countryman, the first small modern hatchback, with the car that pioneered the ‘hot hatchback’ concept, the sporty Volkswagen Golf GTi.
Then discover the start of the four-wheel-drive legacy, with the wartime Willys Jeep and one of the earliest Land Rover prototypes which was inspired by it.
Family classics of the past, such as the Rover 2000, Triumph Herald and Ford Cortina, rub shoulders with oddities such as the diminutive ATCO Junior Trainer, which was designed to teach children how to drive.
National Motor Museum Chief Executive Russell Bowman said: “We are delighted to welcome visitors to this exciting new display for the start of our new season.”
Director of Collections Andrea Bishop said: “Driving Change takes a look at the history of developments to help tell the story of the future. Topics explored include vehicle design, engineering, materials, alternative propulsion, safety and car crime – considering issues which affect motorists today, yet have roots in motoring history.”
The new-for-2016 display received funding of £98,590 from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund. The gallery is the latest phase of the museum’s programme for an extensive re-display of its motoring collections to engage with visitors in more imaginative ways.
This follows the opening of previous galleries The Motorcycle Story and A Chequered History, which tell the adrenaline-fuelled story of motor sport.
A ticket to Beaulieu includes entry to all of the attraction, including the historic ruins of 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the Montagu family home Palace House and grounds. Take a pod ride through 100 years of motoring history on Wheels, experience Jack Tucker’s recreated 1930s garage and ride on the Veteran London bus and high-level Monorail.
In the museum, see over 250 stunning vehicles on display from every motoring era, from children’s favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to some of the fastest British Land Speed Record breaking machines.
In the World of Top Gear, see machines built for the challenges on the TV motoring show. In On Screen Cars, TV and film favourites include the flying Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Mr Bean’s lime green Mini and Wallace and Gromit’s Anti-Pesto van. All are included in the standard Beaulieu admission price. Tickets can be bought in advance online at www.beaulieu.co.uk. Beaulieu is open from 10am to 5pm daily.