THE Beaulieu visitor attraction was a Fathers Day hit as the ever-popular Custom and Hot Rod Festival, sponsored by Custom Car magazine, welcomed bumper numbers of visitors into the parkland.
On Sunday, 7,628 people poured into the grounds of the National Motor Museum for the event – an increase of 2,043 on last year’s figures – and total visitor numbers over the whole weekend reached 11,135.
The Festival, featuring the Custom Car Show, in association with custom car club Victory Wheelers, as well as the Custom Motorcycle Show, organised by Ocean Events, saw a colourful array of custom and hot rod vehicles motoring in to the attraction to create a stunning display.
Victory Wheelers attended the show in force, with club members putting on a fantastic display of their beautiful custom cars in the parkland and Wilton House’s stand drew a crowd, with plenty of people admiring the custom artwork by artist Ian Cook on Lord Pembroke’s personal Bugatti Veyron, which will be on display in the National Motor Museum until mid-July.
In a special feature for this year’s show, Europe’s first dragster, Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler, was on display in the Arena alongside Andy Robinson Race Cars’ Pro Mod 1969 Camaro. The Allard Chrysler, owned by the National Motor Museum Trust, has been fully restored by a group of enthusiasts, the Allard Chrysler Action Group (ACAG), in a successful five-year project. In celebration of the project’s completion, the dragster was officially handed back to the museum on Sunday by ACAG and both the Allard and the Camaro fired up at intervals throughout the day to give visitors a rare opportunity to hear their engines at full throttle.
In the afternoon, an awards presentation ceremony took place with The Hon Ralph Montagu presenting awards to the winners in each of five categories. Craig Becque from Portsmouth won the Best Hot Rod with his 1932 Ford Roadster, Wayne James from Surrey took Best American with his gold and white 1960 Buick Electra 225 and Best Custom was awarded to Dave Cannon from Wallington, Surrey and his 1937 Chevrolet Coupe. The Best in Show was Steve Pickett from Reading for his Chevrolet C10 pick-up.
Throughout the day visitors had been asked to vote for their favourite vehicle in the People’s Choice category. The award – a special trophy sponsored by Willydog Hotdogs – went to Ian McCoubrey from East Sussex for his 1950 Chevrolet Sedan panel van.
Following this, Victory Wheelers held a ceremony for its members to present Chris Jones and his 1985 Ford Model Y with the Big Al Award, given in memory of one of the club’s former chairmen, Alan Partridge. The Spirit of the Club trophy was awarded to Tony Dodd and his Jack Daniels branded 1929 Ford Model A pick-up.
As part of the show, a UK affiliate round of the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building took place, giving visitors the chance to see some of the stunning show bikes on display in the Grand Marquee. The show at Beaulieu is one of some 30 World Championship of Custom Bike Building official affiliate events held around the world.
Richard Fell of RF Custom Cycles from Fordingbridge, Hampshire, won the Modified Harley-Davidson Class, and received a trip to the Grand Finals of the World Championship in Essen, Germany, in May 2014 plus £1,000 expenses, courtesy of category sponsors Harley-Davidson UK Ltd. Best in Show winner, Steve Peters from Burton-on-Trent, also won £1,000 expenses, contributed by Ocean Events, to get him to the Grand Finals, and a rev transmission prize provided by Custom Chrome Europe.
The Sunday show was part of a whole weekend of fun activities for custom and hot rod vehicle owners, which included camping from Friday night through to Sunday, evening musical entertainment and food, plus a ride-out through the Forest to Lepe on Saturday.