New Year Success at Brooklands Museum

23 January 2017

Thousands descend on historic site for a Classic start to 2017!

Some crucial milestones in Brooklands’ history were on show to the 4,600 visitors and over 700 classic vehicles of every conceivable vintage that descended on the Museum for a more-tightly-packed-than-usual New Year's Day Classic Gathering. The WWII Bellman Hangar had been completely dismantled, the aircraft and exhibits from inside had been dispersed elsewhere on site in the new Flight Shed and temporary pavilions and, perhaps most exciting of all, sections of the original Finishing Straight were at last visible following removal of the Hangar slab.

The cautious step of capping the 'classic' classification this year to anything pre-1987 on site due to the amount of space available paid off, as it allowed anyone with such a vehicle to be parked up and displayed in an orderly manner, with areas filling up rapidly in the Motoring Village, Paddock, Banking, north section of the Finishing Straight and a dedicated zone in The Heights car park with a connecting walk-through from the Museum. The unpredictable variety of vehicles at this event was staggering: American '50s and ‘60s dream cars such as Chryslers, Pontiacs and Thunderbirds sailed down the Campbell Circuit in aquas, reds and chrome; early Austins, Bentleys and rare sports tourers were directed to the main Paddock in front of the Clubhouse and a fantasy line-up in the Motoring Village, which was specially reserved for Members’ cars, included an Aston Martin DB4, a 1969 Lotus Elan series 4 SE and a DeLorean DMC-12.

Last seen exactly one year ago to the day was Colin Voice’s stunning 1937 Packard Sports Coupe 120, gracing the Paddock by the Napier Room steps in two tone coffee and cream and powered by an L-head 4.6-litre straight-eight.

There was a good turnout of Car Clubs who had pre-booked to ensure a reserved area at the event which included the Alvis Owner Club, Mercedes-Benz Club, Rover P5 Club and the TR Register’s London region who displayed an excellent range of ’60s and ’70s models. On two wheels, a Honda, BSA, BMW and a cheeky Lambretta were just some of the motorcycles who assembled themselves outside the BP Pagoda.

In the Campbell car park an early E-type Jaguar found a place next to a 1984 XJ6, a midnight blue Triumph TR4 looked immaculate against the tarmac while going head-to-head with their bonnets up were a light blue Mustang and a lipstick red Ford Capri. Surprises lurked around every corner and visitors were treated to some real one-offs like a pea green Ford V8 Pilot with its art deco styling almost gleaming had the sun come out, a Mk 4 Ford Zodiac Limo under the nose of Concorde and, by way of complete contrast next to it, a 1927 Humber 14/40.

Live music came from Brooklands All Star Bob Webb playing saxophone on the balcony, continuing even when the rains came down in the afternoon and the winter barbeque, Sunbeam Café and other food outlets kept everyone fed and watered. We look forward to the next New Year’s Day event, when the Finishing Straight will have been restored and is back in use as a major display area.