Photos by John Retter Photography Words by Paul Stewart
Over 1,100 classics at New Year’s Day Gathering at Brooklands Museum
Brooklands Museum celebrated the end of a momentous and record-breaking 2017 with an amazing turnout of 1,119 classics, sports and supercars and over 5,600 people at its New Year’s Day Classic Gathering. The Brooklands event, believed to be the biggest January 1st classic meeting in the UK, lived up to its billing with a rich and varied display by clubs and individuals taking full advantage of the completion of the Museum’s Aircraft Factory & Race Track Revival project.
The relocation and restoration of the WWII Bellman Hangar that had stood on part of the original Finishing Straight of the Brooklands Race Track for over 75 years gave classic owners an even larger space on which to display their cars, augmenting the established spaces on the Members’ Banking of the Race Track and in the Motoring Village and Aircraft Park.
Early and rare pre-War cars congregated in the Paddock in front of the Clubhouse and, amidst the Bentleys and Austins was an MG L2 Magna Sports from 1933 owned by David Naylor which competed in that same year at Brooklands in the 12 Hour Race as a works-prepared entry. One of the rarest cars present was a 1937 Autovia Sportsman saloon – one of only 36 of these Vee-8-powered cars built by an offshoot of the Riley company. Amongst a huge turnout of Americans on display on the Finishing Straight was an extremely pink Cadillac Eldorado convertible and a spectacular 1949 custom Mercury coupe, while British presence ranged from the sublime of a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine to the extraordinary of a severely lowered Austin Allegro estate. Commercials included a pair of Fordsons: a Perkins-powered 7V truck and a 1937 E27N fire engine, and representing the 1960s craze for rebodying popular British cars were a Mini JEM and a Lenham MG Midget.
On the Banking itself, yet more examples of British Leyland gems could be found amongst Jaguars, VWs, Austins and Citroëns spreading in both directions two and three deep. Elsewhere, the site was awash with icons like a silver Vauxhall Firenza, a bright blue 1959 Isetta from just a few miles away from Cobham, and at least four examples of the Ford Anglia 150E. A racing green, convertible
By the BP Pagoda and scattered in the outer environs of the Paddock motorcycles and commercials added an extra element as did a variety of trade stands under the Race Bays. The Dunlop Mac Shed was the setting for the Brooklands Motoring Volunteers’ Autojumble sale which was busy for most of the day and cleared a lot of excess spares raising funds for the Museum. This was all accompanied by live music from jazz musician Bob Webb playing hits from the Clubhouse balcony.
The Museum’s exhibition areas including the Motoring Sheds and recently opened Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed were open all day displaying vast collections of classic racing cars, aircraft and motorcycles.
Brooklands Museum is open from 10am to 4pm (5pm in summer) every day apart from a few days at Christmas. Admission is £13.50 for adults, £11.50 for seniors, £7 for children (aged 5 – 16) and £35 for a family ticket. Under 5s are FREE. www.brooklandsmuseum.com