Classic car enthusiasts flocked to the National Motor Museum for this year’s Beaulieu International Autojumble.
Kim Henson, who has attended every ‘Beaulieu’ for the last four decades, reports on this, THE biggest autojumble in Britain – the original such event, and widely acknowledged still to be the best…
(With some photographs, individually acknowledged with thanks, provided by Chris Adamson).
Weather-wise, this year’s ‘Beaulieu’, held on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd September, was a game of two halves, with warm sunshine and blue skies on the Saturday, but, alas, rain for most of the day on the Sunday.
All the same, over the two days more than 34,390 attendees turned up to study the 2,341 stands, selling classic car components and automobilia of all descriptions.
Sponsored, as in previous recent years, by the much-loved and always-popular ‘Practical Classics’ magazine, the event was enjoyed by the multitude of enthusiasts who arrived from across the U.K. and indeed from the far corners of the world, for this happy annual feast of automotive buying indulgence.
Of great interest to many was another Beaulieu Autojumble sponsor, Ringwood Brewery, with a bar serving the firm’s award-winning cask ales (which they have been producing not far from Beaulieu since 1978).
Talking of ‘Practical Classics’ (well-known and much-appreciated for more than 35 years by enthusiasts for its down-to-earth approach to restoring and running classic cars), the magazine’s Technical Editor Sam Glover, together with restoration guru Ed Hughes, arrived at the Autojumble at lunchtime on the Saturday, having just driven a diminutive 1991 Zaporozhets 968M to the event from Moscow. This intrepid pair had dragged the car from a lock-up in the Russian capital, where it had been standing for 20 years. They spent a week recommissioning it, then a further week driving the car 2,500 miles to Beaulieu. Well done chaps, that’s true enthusiasm and I take my hat off to you!
A series of rear wheel drive Zaporozhets models, produced from 1958 until 1994, all featured a rear-mounted air-cooled engine. These vehicles are seldom seen in the U.K, and Sam’s car attracted much interest at the Autojumble.
People travelled from far and wide to view the myriad of stalls selling classic components automobilia and books, etc, with the majority of items being offered at ‘sensible’ prices (plus a few that were ‘sky high’!).
In addition to the components, books and automobilia on offer, enthusiasts in search of a new project vehicle, or indeed a classic in ‘ready to drive’ condition, were able to look closely at the 146 vehicles for sale in the Automart section. As usual there were vehicles to suit all tastes and prices to suit all pockets.
Vehicles on offer included a tidy-looking Austin Seven Ruby, priced at £6,500 (and this one was sold) and a beautiful Mini Cooper, with a ticket asking £24,995. There were many more cars for sale, of all types, sizes and ages, ranging in price from ‘bargain buy’ to ‘don’t be silly’. Some of the vehicles are depicted in our photographs… Without doubt the vehicle I would chosen to have brought home would have been the 1931 Austin Seven van, with a price label showing £6,150 o.n.o.
Further classics were on sale in the ‘Dealermart’ area (where classic car dealers offered a wide variety of vehicles). The Bonhams auction sale on the Saturday of the event also saw many classics changing hands.
On the Sunday (only) there was the additional ‘Trunk Traders’ section, enabling enthusiasts to sell components from the ‘boots’ of their cars.
A highlight of Sunday’s activities was the start-up of the National Motor Museum’s legendary Lotus 49 Formula 1 car, marking 50 years of the event that came into being in the same year as the car was built. In its heyday this Lotus was driven by the late, great Graham Hill, and is a formidable machine with its 2993cc V8 engine.
Speaking personally, this was the 40th consecutive Beaulieu Autojumble that I have attended, and, as always, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The atmosphere of this event has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
I purposely didn’t buy another classic (although there were some temp[ting vehicles on offer), but did acquire some useful parts, and, notably, some special paints for my classics from the stalls.
I attended my first ‘Beaulieu’ in 1978, and on that occasion, in one day managed to buy ALL the requisite parts from a very long list, to complete a particular restoration project. Some four decades down the line, I still regard this event as THE best for finding parts for projects like this, and indeed for just keeping a classic on the road.
At the time of writing (4th September 2017), 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, please keep checking back to: www.beaulieuevents.co.uk