More than 1,100 classic vehicles and more than 5,600 people assembled at Brooklands Museum to celebrate its annual New Year’s Day Classic Gathering. Believed to be the biggest January 1 classic meeting in the UK, the Brooklands event 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 three-quarters of a century, gave classic owners an even larger space on which to display their cars.
Early and rare pre-War cars congregated in the Paddock in front of the Clubhouse, and amid the Bentleys and Austins was an MG L2 Magna Sports from 1933. Now owned by David Naylor, it competed at Brooklands in the 1933 12 Hour Race as a works-prepared entry. One of the rarest cars present was a 1937 Autovia Sportsman — one of only 36 of these V8-powered cars built by an offshoot of the Riley company. Among a huge turnout of American cars on display on the Finishing Straight was an extremely pink Cadillac Eldorado convertible and a spectacular custom 1949 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. Special features could be found almost everywhere.
The Brooklands Motoring Volunteers’ Autojumble sale occupied the Dunlop Mac Shed where the day was devoted to clearing a lot of excess spares to help raise 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 were also open all day, displaying vast collections of classic racing cars, aircraft and motorcycles.
Brooklands Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (5 p.m. 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. Children under 5 are free. For complete information please visit www.brooklandsmuseum.com