National Motor Museum Blog – Spring 2019

Posted  04.04.2019
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The National Motor Museum takes part in prestigious motoring events across Europe and 2019 is set to be another busy year. With the arrival of spring, the workshop engineers have been busy getting cars and motorcycles ready for the show season ahead, as well as preparing a special selection of exhibits for events closer to home.

Easter cavalcades

A worthwhile challenge for the engineers for 2019 has been preparing a selection of vehicles from the collection to take part in daily cavalcades at Beaulieu during the Easter holidays. Spanning the history of motoring, the vehicles will be driven across the Events Arena to recreate the sights, sounds and smells of motoring history.

Engineer Mike Gillett briefs Beaulieu team members on the Ford Capri

The cavalcades will not only be enjoyed by visitors but also help to exercise these historic pieces of machinery, circulating oils and ensuring that all of their parts are in working order. The engineers have painstakingly checked and serviced all of the vehicles to make sure they are ready for action, with engine tune-ups and special attention to the fuel, brakes and cooling systems.

The charming Morris 8 is still as it would have been during WWII

Always a visitor favourite is the Victorian penny farthing, with petrol-powered progress represented by the 1904 De Dion Bouton. Further steps forward in technology will be marked by the 1928 Austin 12/4 ‘Gumdrop’, while the 1938 Morris 8 Series II is in WWII black-out guise, with headlamp masks and white bumpers and wing edges.


Another wartime classic will be the 1943 Willys Jeep and, from the post-war era, the BSA M21 AA motorcycle and sidecar combination in its distinctive yellow livery which was a familiar sight to stranded motorists in its breakdown patrol heyday. The European answer to the Ford Mustang, the 1971 Ford Capri 1600L is sure to evoke memories for many visitors.

There’s no mistaking the bright yellow AA livery of the BSA M21

Also taking part are Beaulieu’s Veteran Bus, itself an authentic replica of a 1912 B-type London double-decker bus, and the crowd-pleasing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang reconstruction which is part of Beaulieu’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 years exhibition on show at Beaulieu until November.*

Senior Engineer Ian Stanfield giving staff a driving lesson in the Jeep

Not only have the engineers been busy preparing vehicles but Engineer Mike Gillett and Senior Engineer Ian Stanfield have also been giving Beaulieu front of house team members a driving masterclass for each vehicle, to ensure that all of the drivers are fully trained and ready for the cavalcade. For more information on the cavalcades click here.

*The line-up of historic cavalcade cars may be subject to change on the day.

Techno Classica Essen

Also giving onlookers a taste of motoring in bygone times, a pair of distinctive exhibits from the museum will take part in one of Europe’s largest classic vehicle shows next week. The 1964 Peel P50 and 1928 Rudge-Whitworth will fly the flag for Beaulieu at Techno Classica Essen in Germany, from April 10th to 14th.

The diminutive Peel P50 was built on the Isle of Man


The unusual Peel P50 takes minimalism to the extreme with its tiny dimensions. With seating for just one and a two-stroke engine producing 4.2hp, this compact microcar was the world’s smallest production car. To find out how our long-legged workshop engineers get out of the tiny car click here.

The Rudge-Whitworth has an impressive racing history

A very different machine but equally eye-catching is the Rudge-Whitworth, which is also ready for display. The impressive motorcycle was ridden to victory in the 1928 Ulster Grand Prix by motorcycle racer and the first curator of Beaulieu’s motorcycle collection, Graham Walker. In the race, Walker battled his opponents for two hours at an average speed of over 80mph.

Salon Retromobile

Another unusual pair of National Motor Museum exhibits recently took part in Salon Retromobile, with the 1950 BRM V16 and 1959 Austin Mini Seven making the journey to Paris for the show. A technical landmark of its day, the BRM is always a showstopper, while the Austin Mini Seven also joined the 60th anniversary show of classic Minis.

The sophisticated BRM V16 was a big hit with show-goers

Retromobile gathered together 24 examples of this much-loved British motoring icon. The selection of Minis from collections across Europe spanned the car’s entire production history, including Coopers, estate versions, the utilitarian Mini Mike, sporty Mini Marcos and even a sectioned half Mini display car. Representing the very first year of production, the museum’s 1959 Austin Mini Seven took an honoured place in the line-up.


The Austin Mini Seven was one of the stars of the display

Beaulieu will be celebrating the anniversary year with its own display of Minis at Spring Autojumble on May 18th and 19th. The Mini Cooper Register display will bring together a wide range of Minis including an ex-BMC Works rally Mini, Mini Cooper police car, Mini vans and pick-ups, an Italian-built Innocenti Mini Cooper and the luxurious Radford Mini used in the 1966 BBC TV series Adam Adamant Lives!

Spring Autojumble provides another opportunity for the workshop team to get out on Beaulieu’s events fields to scour more than 1,000 stands packed with classic car parts and rare finds to keep the collection running.

As the show season progresses, there will be more opportunities to see some of the National Motor Museum’s historic vehicles out and about both here and abroad. Keep reading the Beaulieu workshop blog for more details.

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