MORE than 7,000 people visited Brooklands Museum on January 1, with some 1,500 classic vehicles making the annual pilgrimage to the historic setting in Weybridge, Surrey.
The driving force of this unique event at the historic 32-acre site is inclusion: the beautiful, the ugly, the celebrated and the forgotten share equal billing at what is believed to be the UK’s largest January 1 classic gathering.
It isn’t hard to see why when you wander through row after row of family saloons, pre-war sports and touring cars, motorcycles, American hot rods and sixties icons all packed onto the picturesque setting.
Among the highlights were heavy commercials like the ‘cabover’ Chevrolet truck in a striking art deco style, a 2.5-ltr Riley drophead, and a very original Fiat 131 rally car recalling its heyday in the 1970s. Oddities ranged from a Citroen AMI6 with period Airstream-style caravan in tow, a pre-war Renault and an AEC WWI-era truck in combat finish. Fords were out in force with cherished examples of Cortinas, Capris, Anglias, Populars and Escorts.
There was a flood of Porsche 928s and the Americana stretched from early pick-ups and Edwardians to Dodges and Buicks, a black and white Plymouth police car, Pontiac 500 and several Chevrolet trucks.
Cars had to park ‘herringbone’ style three deep on the historic banking to accommodate the flood of vehicles, which also included a large contingent of motorcycles.
A Nash Metropolitan in two-tone raspberry and cream caused a stir, as did a beautifully restored Jaguar XK120 fixed head coupé in teal blue.
Clubs represented included Rover P5 Owners, Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts, Porsche and Alvis Owners, and a gaggle of 1960s Minis from a number of clubs.
Parked in front of the Avro Shed was a stunning Packard Eight in cream and brown that dwarfed the Sunbeam Alpine and Riley Elf either side of it. As part of the Alvis OC display on the Hangar apron one could see a 1927 1250 Alvista Saloon with a fabric body and a 12/60TK 2-seater sports Beetleback from 1931.
On the Finishing Straight behind the Hangar, VW Camper Vans, a green Jensen Interceptor 3, Austin Healey 3000 from 1964 and a Rover 3500 shared the same concrete while the crowds peered inside, chatted and took pictures.
The swarms of eager visitors also filled all the exhibition areas to see the Museum’s own collections of classic racing cars, aircraft and motorcycles. The 4D Theatre and Concorde ran their respective virtual experiences and the café and barbecue outlets kept up with the demand for hot food and drinks.
The day heralded a fantastic start to the Museum’s calendar of events that run throughout the year. Brooklands Museum is open from 10am to 4pm (5pm in summer) every day apart from a few days at Christmas. Admission is £11 for adults, £10 for seniors, £6 for children (aged 5-16) and £30 for a family ticket.