Light rain during the opening hour of this year’s International Autojumble didn’t in any way dampen the spirits of the thousands of motoring enthusiasts who had eagerly anticipated their annual pilgrimage to the motoring mecca that is Beaulieu. By Sunday, grey skies had given way to warm sunshine, the fields full to bursting with exhibitor stands and visitors contributed to make this year’s International Autojumble a blissful Beaulieu.
The event retained its cosmopolitan feel with thousands of European and overseas motoring enthusiasts joining the British contingent for the 49th International Autojumble, held in the parkland of the National Motor Museum on the 5th and 6th of September
Total visitor numbers over the weekend at 37,083 were a little down on the record 2014 numbers. It was unfortunate this year that our event which was moved forward a week in order not to clash with Goodwood Revival, overlapped with the Dorset Steam Fair, another very popular event in the local calendar and this did cause difficulties, particularly for some of our exhibitors who traditionally attend both shows. The total number of stands was 2,378, which included 244 cars for sale on the Beaulieu Arena and in the Dealermart classic cars area. While the stand numbers were just four short of 2014 there was a drop in the number of cars for sale. Stand holders reported brisk trading throughout the weekend, particularly on Saturday.
Beaulieu’s Events Manager, Judith Maddox said: “While, in accordance with the late Lord Montagu’s wishes, it was ‘business as usual’, there was a sense of underlying sadness at his absence from the event and we missed the familiar sight of him around the event fields. However, we could imagine him looking down with satisfaction as stall holders and visitors enjoyed another successful show.”
Potential classic car buyers had a diverse selection of cars to choose from in the Automart. Within minutes of the show opening to the public, an eager buyer had snapped up a rare 1974 Innocenti Mini Cooper, which was priced at £14,500. This Italian-built version had many detail differences to the British Minis, including a sporty multi-dial dashboard. Also on offer were not one, but two Mini Mokes. A rare 1967 British-built example, originally used by Devon Police, was on offer for £18,750, with a 1972 Australian-built Moke priced at £16,950.
A crowd favourite was an immaculate 1941 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan, equipped with a 5.7-litre V8 engine and a price tag of £22,000. Among the other American vehicles on sale was a 1968 International Harvester ‘stepside’ truck. Road legal but with age-worn pale blue paintwork, it could be yours for £6,600.
More petite was a 1966 Austin A35 van, which was still painted in the sooty black livery of its former keeper, a chimney sweep. This charming workhorse was for sale for £4,250. A 1963 Morris LD van was a real time-warp, still bearing Maidstone Laundry signwriting after having been dry-stored for 45 years. With a new MOT, this re-commissioned van was being sold for £4,950.
Enthusiasts searching for restoration projects were spoilt for choice. £7,950 was enough to buy a 1958 Jaguar Mk IX, while less than a tenth of the price was being asked for the Trabant estate parked next to it. An unusual 1949 Armstrong Siddeley, which had been fitted with a ‘ute’ body in Australia in 1950, was a project in need of completion, for £10,850.
As predicted, the top selling lot at the Bonhams sale, held on Saturday, was a vintage Bentley 4½-Litre Sports Saloon that had gathered dust in a family’s barn for 30 years. The Bentley was built in 1929 and six years later bought by the grandfather of the current owner. He took the saloon on holidays around the UK, even towing a caravan. In 1985 it was taken off the road and parked in a barn in Surrey. The owner thought it would be worth £30,000 but the motor is actually ‘one of the finds of the decade’ and fetched £695,900, over £400,000 above its top estimate. Also going under the hammer was the late Lord Attenborough’s prized Rolls Royce Corniche, a rare two-door model with its distinctive number plate, RA111 which sold for £22,000.
Bonhams Motor Car Specialist, Rob Hubbard said: “We were delighted to be back at Beaulieu for another exceptional sale showing good strength in the market place. With 93 vehicles and 21 motor cycles in the auction and 85% of the lots sold on the day, a Premium total of £3 million was reached. There was a good mixture of Euro and dollar bidding although the Chinese markets were quiet.”
Trunk Traders was a Sunday highlight, popular with exhibitors and visitors alike, with amateur jumblers bringing a fresh injection of stock onto the showground. The free delivery service, taking large or heavy items bought at the Autojumble back to the car parks, was kept busy throughout the show.
The winner of the Best Stand was the A30-A35 Club. They were commended by the judges as the epitome of a good club stand, manned by well-informed staff, parts clearly labelled and priced and a beautifully presented 1960s A35 van taking pride of place. Run this year by Harry Douglas, Membership Secretary for the main club and Robert Prinn, Spares Secretary for the Southampton Group & New Forest, the club has had a stand at both International and Spring Autojumbles since 2004 although Robert remembers coming to the event annually since the Autojumble’s very first year in 1967.
Lord Montagu presented Harry and Robert with a trophy donated by Lolly Lee, in memory of her father, Terry, a keen autojumbler who spent his life looking for rare items of interest. In addition to the trophy they will receive a free stand at next year’s International Autojumble.
The team from the event’s media sponsor, Practical Classics, had a very successful weekend on their stand with the Editor's Jensen Interceptor being restored throughout the weekend. They sold two vehicles, a ’93 Fiat Panda and a 1960 Morris Minor pick-up, while the jumble they sold from the stand will provide much needed funds for the staff tea-room! PC Editor, Danny Hopkins said: “It has been another lovely Beaulieu, the 'mizzle' on Saturday morning dampened down the dust on the roadways and by Sunday - everyone was sunbathing.”
The other show sponsor, New Forest based Ringwood Brewery, ran a popular bar throughout the show with visitors able to sample the award-winning craft ales they have been producing at their brewery since 1978.
When confirmed, the date of the 2016 International Autojumble will be displayed on the Beaulieu Events Calendar.