THE January sales proved no match for the lure of the UK’s biggest New Year’s Day classic vehicle gathering, as over 5,000 people made the annual pilgrimage to the Birthplace of British Motorsport and Aviation at Brooklands, along with 1,240 classics in a bewildering variety of age and type.
This impressive attendance at one of the most popular events on the Museum’s calendar beat the previous New Year’s Day record and provided a stirring follow-up to the Museum’s most successful year ever in 2014.
The range of motorcycles, cars and commercials that turned up went from a Vespa scooter to a giant Scammell wrecker, from pre-war racers to NASCAR beasts and ‘80s rally cars, from microcars to supercars, and from veterans to retro-desirables.
Surprises around every corner on the 32-acre site included a trio of 1950s Borgward Hansas, a Panhard PL17, a Chrysler New Yorker and an early Trojan.
In front of the Wellington hangar some iconic DeLoreans, their doors were left open so visitors could peer inside, sat next to a fine collection of Alvis cars. There was a strong flavour of Americana, starting with Model T Fords and running through Ford and Chevrolet pick-ups to Corvettes and Plymouth Superbirds.
Over by the Museum shop, a gaggle of Morris Minors was joined by Ford Anglias and VW Beetles, with a display of Rover P5s in the Motoring Village.
In the Paddock in front of the Edwardian Clubhouse, as well as delectable line-ups of vintage Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, an impressive array of early Austins and a very rare Jensen sports tourer from 1935 impressed the crowds.
Numerous car clubs put on displays behind the Wellington hangar, ranging from the MGF Register and Mercedes-Benz Club to the Reliant and Scimitar Car Club, Metro Owners Club and Lloyds Motor Club.
At lunchtime a delegation of 8 Squadron from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire performed a parade and ceremony by the clubhouse to mark the centenary of their formation as part of the Royal Flying Corps at Brooklands on January 1, 1915.
Museum Director Allan Winn said: “January 1 is the one day of the year when anything goes at Brooklands. We were delighted to see so many classic vehicles and their owners coming out and putting down their markers for another year of motoring, and so many members of the public coming to enjoy this massive turn-out of motoring history in all its forms.
“This year’s event saw a big step-up from our previous record from January 1 2013, of 4,900 people and around 1,100 vehicles. We think this is the biggest New Year’s Day classic meeting in the country and we’ve got scope for it to be even bigger next year.”
The event at Brooklands came straight after the close of another record year for the biggest Museum in Surrey, with total visitor numbers for 2014 up 3% over 2013 at just under 177,000.