Beaulieu Motor Museum

I went to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu which is in Beaulieu Village in the New Forest.

There is so much more than vintage cars to see there.  The Palace is a fine example of a Victorian country house and has been in the Montagu family since 1538.

Then there is Beaulieu Abbey, which is a ruin but the 13th Century Parish Church survives although the Monks’ Refectory is now a wedding venue.

The grounds are beautifully kept and you can go round either by vintage bus, monorail, or obviously on foot.

One of the most historic cars in the collection is a Model T Ford which came out in 1914 and was of course available in all colours, as long as it was black!

There is an American car called an Auburn 1935 which was in the film Desire with Marlene Dietrich.  There’s also Peter Ustinov’s 1928 Mercedes 36/220 which cost at that time £2,300 and a 1969 Porsche 917K which appeared in the film Le Mans with Steve McQueen.  Its speed was over 220 mph and the price was £16,000 when new.

It was interesting to see the last car bought by Elvis Presley, a 1977 Cadillac Seville which he drove the day before he died in August 1977.

On the racing car side was Graham Hill’s Lotus 49RE which was built for him overnight on the eve of the British Grand Prix in 1967 and he used it for the rest of the season.

Back then I photographed motor racing and I have a signed photo of Graham Hill driving this car.  In those days you could get closer to the drivers on the circuit.

I would recommend Beaulieu as a fun day out.


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