Some Awesome Stuff I Saw at Beaulieu
Whilst on a visit to Dorset, I decided to have a wander around the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu. The cars I saw there were enough to stir the emotions of everyone with an interest in anything that rolls on the world's roads. They ranged from the earliest attempts at transportation, to the fastest and most exotic cars that have ever been built. The added bonus? There were famous vehicles tucked away there, too!
Film and TV cars
Mr Bean's Mini was one of the first cars to catch my eye. Such an iconic motor in its distinctive green and black paint job and, of course, the padlocked door!
Del Boy's Reliant
Everyone knows of Trotter's Independent Traders' hilarious 3-wheeled van. It was the butt of many jokes throughout the series and, because the museum is absolutely brilliant, they've even kept the 'tax in post' sticker on the windscreen. It never ceases to amaze me that David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst were once sat in this van!
The Top Gear Challenge Cars
The ingenious Snowbine was sitting outside the Top Gear tent as it was far too big to fit anywhere else. I didn't realise how massive these things were! From the side, the racing seat and flamethrower ice-melter were clearly visible; what a beast.
Who wouldn't want to strap a Reliant Robin to the side of a selection of what are effectively giant fireworks? What more can I say about this; it's awesome.
James May's Triumph Herald sailing boat was one of the first vehicles to catch my eye inside the tent. It's safe to say that it's looking rather sorry for itself now with rusting bodywork and flat tyres, although those were standard features for the Herald, really...
This is the pickup that the trio sped across the channel in whilst trying to beat the record for amphibious vehicles. Though they failed, you can't help but admire this thing. Look at those dustbin lids...
I couldn't resist a picture of the magnificent P45. Who wouldn't want to drive this beast? I wonder if you really need to have your face pressed against the windscreen?
This is my kind of caravan holiday - no silly caravans clogging up the world's roads and the ability for your mate to get to the campsite in a half decent car. Richard Hammond used a Lamborghini, I think I'd use an Aston Martin; each to their own.
Taking pride of place as the hero image of this article is the wonderful Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust. You may know it simply as Geoff. Note the moustache on the exquisitely crafted front panel.
Who could ever forget Top Gear's off road mobility scooters? James May's still had the gravel deployment system to its wheels.
If I was forced to own a motorhome, this is the way I'd do it. It's safe to say that my fiancée would be rather angry with me but hey-ho; who wants a boring caravan with an engine anyway?
The Sports train. Because everyone needs trains to have an enormous spoiler! Enough said.
"Well done, that was lovely." as the brilliant satnav said to us in that fateful episode. I couldn't resist a photo of the dash with its incredible controls and old-people friendly speedometer...
Jeremy Clarkson's intrepid Vespa with its array of many mirrors sat defiantly next to the Bruce Springsteen Mini-Moto. If only his helmet with 'penis' written on it were there, too.
Because the NHS's idea of a fast ambulance is so far away from the very idea of fast, why not use a Porsche?
This is the Mini that was sent hurtling down a massive Olympic ski jump. Powered by rockets in its boot, it made for an incredible spectacle!
Into the Museum
After I was prized away (with great force) from the Top Gear tent, I walked into the huge main building of Beaulieu where I was greeted by the site of some of the most beautiful cars ever built. Just look at these.
Auburn Sports Car
The Art Deco stying of this American, Supercharged Auburn sports car really got my pulse racing. Walking around this car was like walking around 1930s artworks and from every angle, its gorgeous shapes really stirred the senses.
Ford Sierra RS Cosworth
I had to have a closer look at this Cosworth powered rocket. My Dad nearly bought one of these back in the day and, from where I'm sitting, it hasn't lost any of its sporty appeal in the years since it was built. What a car.
AC (Shelby) Cobra 427
This car made my fizzy bit fizz with great ferocity. I've always adored the Cobra and would do almost anything to be able to get so much as a drive in one. If you own a Cobra and you're feeling generous, feel free to contact me via private message...
Ford Escort RS Mk2
I don't know a great deal about this particular Escort, other than it's in what looks like rally car livery and is sitting on slick tyres. I couldn't resist a photo, though, being a massive fan of these cars!
A Car with a Curious Engine
I'm not entirely certain what this thing even is but, and this is the part that astonished me, just look how close one of the cylinders is the steering wheel; I'm sensing thick gloves or burnt hands. I'd drive this thing for a laugh.
The baby brother of the famous 3000, the Austin-Healey 100M was a true British sports car with its open top, beefy little engine and very in-keeping wire wheels. Lovely.
There really aren't any words for this. Probably the most pointless vehicle in existence and yet, it's still on my list of cars to drive before I die. Imagine turning up at work in it...
A Very 60s Looking Shell Garage
The museum had a section on British land speed record cars and I snapped this photo of one of the earliest models. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't amazing so this was the only picture I have. This car developed 350hp from a modified 18 litre aeroplane engine; the noise must have been tremendous...
As much as I hate caravans, there's no denying the brilliance of this thing. Just look at the attention to detail. There's even a couple of fried eggs on the go...
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang caught my eye (and over-excited my fiancée) as it stood in the centre of the stairway. It truly has such an amazing amount of history behind it; everyone recognises it, everyone knows of it, at the very least. Just look at those wings!
Last but certainly not least, is the awesome Peel P50. A car that can quite happily drive through the BBC's offices and to the shops; whatever floats your boat. Just don't get cornered in an incredibly narrow dead-end, though, as the reverse gear is non-existent.
All in All
There were, of course, many more cars in this amazing museum but, as a crazy petrolhead, I was too excited to take more photos. The day out was brilliant and not only was there a massive collection of beautiful cars, there was also a Manor House and the ruins of an Abbey to look around. All in the price of admission, too! If you're ever stuck for a motoring day out then look no further, get yourself to Beaulieu, you won't regret it.
What Do You Think?
As always, let me know what you think and please tell me in the comments which car is your favourite! Thanks for reading.