This winter, work is progressing in the National Motor Museum on two exciting new galleries which will celebrate the adrenalin-fuelled world of motorsport. However, one of the stars of the museum’s collection of race and rally vehicles has been undergoing repairs.
Built overnight on the eve of the 1967 British Grand Prix for Graham Hill, who raced the car for the rest of the season, the museum’s Lotus 49 has quite a story to tell. The only surviving car from Lotus’ 1967 Formula 1 team, its double overhead camshaft Ford-Cosworth DFV engine, producing 408bhp at 9,000rpm, ensured that this V8-powered racer could top 180mph during its heyday.
However, the vulnerable, rear-mounted gearbox has a reputation for causing problems. “These gearboxes are notoriously bad for gear selection,” explains Senior Engineer Ian Stanfield. “This example’s transmission is no different and has a habit of selecting the wrong gears, which could potentially prove disastrous.”
Ensuring that the right gear can be selected at the right time is crucial to any vehicle, let alone a prestigious historic racer. In order to keep the car in top mechanical health, action needed to be taken. “In order to rectify this, we have removed the gearbox from the car in preparation for a full rebuild by a transmission specialist,” says Ian.
Meanwhile, Beaulieu’s much-loved Veteran Bus has undergone winter servicing to keep it in first-class condition, ensuring that it will continue to transport visitors around the Beaulieu grounds for many years to come.
The extensive collection of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds on display in The Motorcycle Story spans the entire history of two-wheeled transportation. However, an especially peculiar donation to the museum has recently arrived in the workshops.
This 1970s Moto Graziella moped may look a little bizarre, but it has a very clever party trick. By folding down its handlebars and seat, this lightweight moped can be carried in the boot of a car, yet it is road legal and capable of transporting a fully-grown adult.
Built by Italian bicycle builders Carnielli of Vittorio Veneto, Italy, the Moto Graziella features a 50cc single-cylinder, two-stroke Sachs engine, although the rider also has the option of providing pedal power. A special carrying bag was even offered as an official accessory, which the entire moped could fit into. Now in running condition, despite having been off the road for two decades, only light maintenance will be required by the workshop technicians to ensure its continued preservation.
With an engine capacity over 100 times greater than that of the Moto Graziella moped, the latest new arrival to the National Motor Museum, a 1977 Cadillac Seville, is very different machine. What’s more, it has an incredible history, having been bought new by one of the most famous people of the 20th Century. Can you guess who?