With 285 vehicles in the National Motor Museum collection, the museum workshop is always a hive of activity, with cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles being maintained, restored and used.
A Lick of Paint
This month, Beaulieu’s Veteran Bus has been receiving a re-paint. Originally built for the 1978 film adaption of The Thirty Nine Steps, this replica of a 1912 London bus has since become one of the most instantly recognisable features of the Beaulieu attraction, transporting visitors around the grounds and acting as the star of countless visitors’ photographs. No photo album is complete without a snap of the Veteran Bus.
As the bus is used all year round, the workshop engineers have to ensure that the steel and wood bodywork is well protected from the elements, with winter rain and summer sun taking their toll on the paintwork. Therefore, new coats of paint have been applied in order to keep this hard-working vehicle looking in tip-top condition. As this double-decker is too large to fit inside the workshop, visitors to the National Motor Museum will have seen it parked near the new Start-Up Area while this work was taking place. At the same time, the workshop engineers took the opportunity to service the braking system.
Having recently returned from a motoring event in Monaco, the ‘Blower’ Bentley 4.5-Litre participated in a photo shoot outside Beaulieu’s Palace House. Celebrating the new production of ‘Top Hat’ at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, which is set in the 1930s, the car was a period-perfect prop for the show’s actors, who were dressed in 1930s-style costume to match. For travelling in style during this era, nothing else has the presence of the ‘Blower’ Bentley.
A Sidecar Named Desire
Meanwhile, work has been progressing on the museum’s 1936 Brough Superior 11.50 Special. While restoration work on the motorcycle itself nears completion, workshop engineer Mike Gillett has been busy reassembling its Alpine Grand Sports Sidecar. The sidecar body, which has returned to the workshop after being painstakingly repainted, is now being reassembled, although chroming work is required to the tubular frame which the body sits on. Unusually, this frame also incorporates a tube across the nose of the sidecar, which also doubles as a reserve fuel tank.