The stunning new creation of car customiser Andy Saunders was unveiled at Beaulieu’s record-breaking Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day with more hot rods, custom cars and bikes than ever in the grounds of the National Motor Museum.
To launch Beaulieu’s summer exhibition The Art of Kustom, Andy drove Metropolis out of a car transporter for the big reveal, to cheers and applause from custom car fans. The art deco-style 1939 Peugeot 202 pick-up was discovered as a rusty wreck in a field in France and its transformation was completed with just hours to spare before its public debut at Sunday’s Father’s Day show.
Now with a streamlined body, ultra-low stance and rumbling V8 engine, Andy’s astonishing design includes a windscreen trim reminiscent of a 1950s comic book ray gun and six 200-million-year-old ammonite fossils embedded in the front seats. The pick-up was believed to have been requisitioned by the invading forces during World War II and a mural painted on its load-bay cover by Andy’s fiancée, artist Maxime Xavier symbolised the car’s wartime history and featured the robot from the classic film Metropolis.
A showcase of Andy’s cars from throughout his 40-year career, which has been gathered from private collections across Europe, will be on show in the museum until September 16th. It includes a Citroen that looks like a spaceship, road-going speedboat, shortened Mini Ha Ha, widely acclaimed Tetanus which took 14 years to complete and speed-breaking Reliant Rialto, which raced on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Andy said: “When I finished my last project Tetanus, someone told me I was never going to beat it, which made me decide to do exactly that and make Metropolis even better. I just had to get it right, although it was like doing a jigsaw puzzle without the instructions. I think Metropolis is my best car yet.”
As many as 5,077 event-goers (up from 4,091 last year) revelled in the festival atmosphere of the Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day, with more dressed up in retro 1950s-style clothing than ever. The number of hot rods, custom cars and bikes was up by 31 per cent from last year, from 499 to 655.
The event, which is held in association with classic American car club Solent Renegades, featured the Mad Max-style Apocalypse Bug from Podpad Studios, replica Fast & Furious Dodge Charger from Hard Up Garage, NASCAR-style racing car and V8-powered hot rod speedboat.
On Saturday June 16th Simply VW, sponsored by Breeze Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, got the retro-themed weekend off to a great start with a record high of 1,367 visitors (up 21 per cent from 1,129 last year) and 537 Volkswagens (an extra 47 cars to last year) driving into the grounds of the attraction. Rat-look and showroom condition Beetles were joined by smooth-looking Karmann Ghias, radical beach buggies and classic and modern Golfs and Polos, while VW campers of every era were well represented in the colourful line-up.
The Simply VW People’s Choice Award went to Patrick Zagrodnik, from Southampton, for his 1983 Golf Mk1. Runners-up were Philip King, from Guildford, for his 1989 Caddy and Clive Berry, from Southampton, for his 1971 Karmann Ghia convertible.
Andy Saunders presented the Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day winners’ trophies and Autoglym valeting packs. The Best Custom award went to Richard James, from Stroud in Gloucestershire, for his immaculate 1941 Ford. The Best Hot Rod was the bright orange 1955 Ford Popular owned by Dave Owen, from Bournemouth, with a 450bhp Chevrolet V8 under its bonnet.
The Best Bike award was presented to Dave Rogers, who had driven down from London on his remarkable bike built using a custom frame, Harley Davidson 883 Sportster engine and 24 carat gold-plated wheel components. While a rare 1960 Edsel Ranger owned by Dennis Saunders, from Portsmouth, took the Best American award which was also presented by Dan Potter from Solent Renegades.
The winner of the Peoples’ Choice Award was an impressive black 1949 Mercury belonging to Trevor Cowell, from East Grinstead. The coveted Best in Show award was won by a modified 1952 Chevrolet 3100 truck owned by Clive Hardy, from Derby, who said: “I got the colour for this from my mum’s mobility scooter!”
Both weekend events were accompanied by live music, Bournemouth Lindy Hop Club dance demonstrations, a Vintage Tea Tent sponsored by the Brew Tea Co and Vintage Village by Bows & Braces, which presented awards to show-goers in the best attire.
The Best Dressed award on Saturday went to sisters Florenza and Valentina Spratt, from Bishops Waltham, while David Drewell, from the Isle of Wight, took the Best Dressed Campervan award for his 1966 Volkswagen Type 2.
The Best Dressed award on Sunday went to Belle Joyce, from Royal Wootton Bassett, while Sean, Bianca and Lily Pybus, from Southampton, took the best Dressed Family Award. The Best Dressed Caravan went to Ally O’Connor, from Portsmouth, for her pink flamingo-themed 1976 Eriba Puck.
Still to come on Beaulieu’s 2018 events calendar is Simply Land Rover on June 24th, Simply Jaguar on July 8th, Simply Japanese on July 29th and Beaulieu Supercar Weekend on August 4th-5th. For tickets and more details click here.