Review – Beaulieu visit

30th September 2016

Lloyd’s Motor Club Members visit the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu – July 2016


Fifteen lucky members arrived at the Beaulieu Visitors Centre at 10am on Tuesday 5th July for a private visit organised by the Club with Beaulieu and the Beaulieu One Hundred Club.  There had been many more applicants than Beaulieu could handle for a private behind-the-scenes visit, a maximum of 15, so those who attended had been chosen on a first come first served basis and a further visit for the overflow will be organised later in the year.


Beaulieu is a truly beautiful estate situated in the New Forest and its facilities are singularly impressive, providing a wide range of activities in addition to the National Motor Museum for both individuals and families alike. Our private visit to the Museum was graced by lovely weather and kicked off over coffee with Beaulieu’s chief executive and other senior staff and an introduction delivered by Lord Montagu himself. Our tour was to include an insight into its library of over 300,000 books, brochures and posters, its huge film and video collection of many thousands of 8 and 35mm films in drums, on videotapes and CDs, many in the process of being digitised for future generations, its equally amazing photographic archive containing many thousands of individual photos and historic albums going back to the early 20th century, many of them now the subject of highly skilled restoration, and finally its impressive workshop where cars are restored for exhibition or maintained for long term display.


At the time of our visit, a super-rare Auburn 1935 851 Speedster was going through its regular maintenance, as was a magnificent 1912 Peerless (I think!) Landau. A Rover from the early 1930s was to one side pending a complete rebuild, a second Sunbeam World Land Speed Record engine waited on the shelf for the necessary funds to be raised, and the 1960 Allard 354 Chrysler Hemi engined slingshot dragster, the first in the UK, stood in final preparation for start-up the following day. But we were not to be “robbed” of this experience-in-noise, as Doug Hill, our guide and Beaulieu’s engineering chief, started up Mike Hailwood’s championship 250cc Honda racer after providing us all with earplugs – which turned out to be more than slightly necessary! What a machine – what a sound!


An excellent buffet lunch followed in the Museum’s private dining room at which Lord Montagu again joined our party. A further bonus to an already delightful day.


Lunch cleared away, we fifteen were now free to explore the extensive motor museum itself at leisure. This contains so many wonderful and often very rare vehicles of every type and description including several Formula 1 cars and Le Mans type sportscars, an intriguing selection of everyday British family cars covering the many years before and after the War, and a significant collection of motorcycles and scooters. And most impressive of all – 4 illustrious Land Speed Record cars – Sir Malcolm Campbell’s first Bluebird, the 1925 350hp 18 litre V12 Sunbeam (150.177mph at Pendine Sands) and currently the subject of a £30,000 restoration appeal, the Sir Henry Seagrave 1927 1,000hp 45 litre V12 “Mystery” Sunbeam (201.79mph at Daytona Beach), Seagrave’s 1929 925hp W12 24 litre Golden Arrow (231.45mph at Daytona Beach), and the last of the Bluebirds, Donald Campbell’s triumphant Proteus jet-engined car with its 1964 LSR speed of 403.10mph at Lake Eyre in Australia!


What a wonderful day!


Note for members – there are two ways in which individuals can enjoy and support the Beaulieu National Motor Museum more closely. The first option is by joining the “Friends of the National Motor Museum Trust” and the second by joining the exclusive “Beaulieu One Hundred Club”.


To become a member of the “Beaulieu One Hundred Club”, contact the Beaulieu Partnership Office on 01590 614634 or by email at


To become a “Friend”, apply via the website <>

or contact Theresa Browning, Friends Membership Secretary, at The National Motor Museum Trust, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7ZN

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