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Beaulieu plays host to a classic gathering

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VISITORS to Beaulieu on Bank Holiday Sunday could have been forgiven for thinking they had stepped back in time, as more than 300 classic cars filled the grounds of the National Motor Museum for Simply Classics.

The event, in its second year, has grown rapidly in popularity within a relatively short amount of time, and there was a fantastic range of classics on show, from Morgans and Morris Minors to Bentleys and Jaguars.

The highlight of the day was the presence of two very rare vintage racing cars, owned by Chris Williams, which were started up at regular intervals through the day to give visitors an idea of just how powerful these cars are. The matt-black Packard-Bentley, nicknamed Mavis, boasted a massive 42-litre Packard V12 engine, which literally ‘fired up’ as Chris revved the engine, throwing flames out of the exhausts on both sides.

It was accompanied by a Napier Bentley – a 1968 one-off special build vintage racing car with a 24-litre Napier Sea Lion W12 aeroplane engine. The engine had three banks of four very large stub exhausts, and the sound it makes when it has been started up has been likened to a World War One biplane.

A number of rally participants entered their treasured vehicles into the Concours competition – a brand new feature introduced to the show this year. The winner was Kevin Curtis from Totton, with his electric Monza blue Ford Escort RS1600. It is a rare car, and according to Kevin, who is part of the RS Owners’ Club, 1,150 were built and the car is thought to be one of only 200 still in existence.

Visitors to Beaulieu were asked to vote for their favourite vehicle on display in the People’s Choice Awards. Brian Robinson from Ashurst won with his beautiful Jaguar XK140, and was presented with a special edition 60th anniversary Beaulieu Trophy by Lord Montagu. Second place went to a 1909 Paterson touring car, with owner Jan Degeling receiving a Vintage Tyres Trophy, followed by Gary Collins’ VW Campervan in third place. Gary, from Chichester, was presented with a bottle of Beaulieu Apple Cider.

Following the presentation, the top ten vehicles voted for in the awards took part in a cavalcade through the grounds, and created a display for visitors to admire against the stunning backdrop of Palace House.

The next Simply Classics will take place on Sunday August 25, 2013. For more information visit www.beaulieuevents.co.uk

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