It’s the ‘big one’; time once more for the Beaulieu International Autojumble.
Kim Henson was there again, and asks himself why…
(Photographs by Kim, with many more, individually acknowledged with thanks, provided by Chris Adamson).
Why do people attend the Beaulieu Autojumble, and what is it that keeps them coming back, year after year? Well, for starters of course there are the vintage and classic car components (and indeed complete vehicles, whether unrestored or ready to roll) on offer from some 2,176 stalls this year. Many of these parts and vehicles would only be available at Beaulieu, so there’s Reason No. 1 to be there. Certainly that’s always been the primary motivation for me to attend. I came to my first Beaulieu in 1978 and ever since this event has come to my rescue in turning up parts needed to get my restoration project vehicles on the road and to keep them running. Without ‘Beaulieu’ my classic car life would be more difficult for sure.
Of course there are internet auction sites, other autojumbles and various events where classic car spares are to be found (many of them very good indeed), but to me Beaulieu is different. It’s vast, attracts a huge diversity of stalls (from big business marque specialist outlets to enthusiasts emptying their garages and sheds of ‘excess’ components to car club stands) and enables a large number of automotive items to be searched for, found and acquired over one weekend.
Next there are the ‘social’ aspects; inevitably this event always attracts many like-minded enthusiasts and (where applicable) fellow car club members, so it’s a great place to meet, chat and swap notes. This aspect is always important to me too.
I also need to mention the unique atmosphere of the Beaulieu Autojumble, from my perspective there’s a buzz about it that is not found anywhere else.
I am fortunate that I can reach Beaulieu quite easily and quickly from my U.K. home, but I’m aware that many people, buyers and sellers, travel from around the world each year just to be there. (This year I spoke with some of them from countries as far apart as Australia and France, and these Beaulieu-goers told me that they wouldn’t miss it).
With all that in mind I set off for this year’s ‘Beaulieu’ with a spring in my step, plus a long list of project component ‘wants’ in my pocket.
Once again this year’s event, held over the weekend of 7th and 8th September, was sponsored by ‘Practical Classics’ magazine, a publication that has been helping enthusiasts since 1980.
The weather held fair over the weekend, warm and pleasant with some sunshine evident on both days – in fact, ideal autojumbling conditions.
Over the weekend some 33,293 people turned up to survey the 2,176 stands, selling classic car components and automobilia of all types.
I am often surprised by the sheer number of unused classic body panels and brightwork items on offer at Beaulieu, from a number of specialist suppliers as well as from individual jumblers. Many of the panels and chromework parts are rare indeed, but they seem to come out for Beaulieu!
This year again there were many unused ‘new old stock’ items as well as ‘good used’ items. As always prices varied, but I spotted a number of good deals for both buyers and sellers. Some negotiation is usually possible too.
One especially notable stall was selling new and unused grilles for a wide range of cars, from family to luxury models, some very rare, at reasonable prices. Shame I didn’t have a car that needed one of these!
I also found another stall which was packed with predominantly Mercedes classic parts, including grilles, trim components, wheel discs and so on.‘All kinds of everything’, including power units and drivetrain componentsOften it is smaller components that provide the greatest joy in discovery. For example, pedal rubbers, coolant hoses, wiper blades and engine filters are not exactly exciting but vital for any vehicle, and Beaulieu stalls can usually come up trumps with new old stock items to suit.
Complete engines, cylinder heads, pistons, gaskets and bearings were also all there this year to be discovered and acquired. Unsurprisingly, most plentiful as usual were such units and individual parts for British sporting cars (MGs. Triumphs, Jaguars, etc.) but, for example, I also noted some scarce engine spares for rarer British and continental models, including Vauxhalls, Rootes Group cars, Alfa Romeos and BMWs.
Gearboxes and final drive assemblies were also available in varying states.
Enamel signs from years gone by, workshop manuals and handbooks, sales brochures and photographs were there in abundance too. For me, too many items to view and not enough time to take them all in. Even so, I did some digging through the boxes and came home with some more classic literature!
Vehicles for sale
Those seeking a new project vehicle, or indeed a classic car ready for the road, were able to survey the 146 vehicles for sale in the Automart section. Vehicles for all tastes and prices to suit all pockets were found here. Favourites of mine included a superb condition low mileage Jaguar X300 3.2 Sport, offered at £3,995, and an equally wonderful Morris Oxford Series V with just 46,000 miles behind it. This Morris had been fully restored using a multitude of new old stock body panels and chromework, etc, for which the asking price was £12,500, possibly not even covering the costs of the restoration.
The ‘Dealermart’ area accommodated more cars for sale, with classic car dealers offering some fascinating vehicles. The Bonhams auction sale also saw many cars change hands.
On the Sunday (only) buyers were able to tour the ‘Trunk Traders’ section, where enthusiasts were selling vehicle-related items from the ‘boots’ of their own cars.
This year Beaulieu invited the enthusiastic owners of pre-1970 vintage and classic cars to participate in a first and special ‘Golden oldies’ display. More than 50 vehicles were lined up in this area, including a 1954 Wolseley 4/44, just put back on the road by Nostalgia magazine, after being dormant for three decades, and driven more than 1,000 miles from Sweden to be at Beaulieu.
A much-admired selection of Morgans (from 4/4 models to the ultimate Plus 8) was arranged by the Morgan Sports Car Club, adding classic sporting spice to a fine array of vehicles on display.
Winners of the Best Stand Award at this year’s Beaulieu were Peter and James Sheppard from Cornwall, David Stevens from Hertfordshire and Colin Feyerband from Bedfordshire, all dressed in white coats (pretending to be ‘doctors’ prescribing parts to cure classic vehicle ailments). They have been sharing their stand at the Autojumble for the last 40 years. The Best Stand Award was donated by Lolly Lee in memory of her late father, autojumbler Terry Lee. It was presented by Lady Montagu and Danny Hopkins, Editor of event media sponsor ‘Practical Classics’ magazine.
Trevor Godson, 83, was presented with a special award. Trevor, who says that he loves these shows, has attended every Beaulieu Autojumble since 1967, usually cycling to and from the event on his bicycle – he lives on the Isle of Wight…
I was very happy to be there again for this year’s ‘Beaulieu’. Going back to my original question… Why? Quite simply because for me it is such a useful, enjoyable and happy event, and I love it.
As always I met many friends there, enjoyed perusing the stalls and just savoured the experience. Oh, and yes I did acquire some spares needed, and in particular ticked off all the items from my list of upholstery requirements for one of my vehicles; job done. I also managed to acquire all but one of the other components on my list. For that item I’ll have to come back next year I guess…
At the time of writing (September 2019), the dates for next year’s Beaulieu Autojumble (and their Spring event) have yet to be confirmed, However, for more information/dates on these events, and others happening at Beaulieu, please keep checking back to: www.beaulieuevents.co.uk