We should be used to it by now but a very optimistic attitude was required not to get despondent about the gloomy weather forecasts ahead of this year’s International Autojumble, which included very heavy rain and gale force winds for the Sunday of the event, held in the grounds of the National Motor Museum on the 10th & 11th September.
The reality was actually much better and the worst of the weather did not materialise. Beaulieu’s Events Manager, Judith Maddox said: “It is very encouraging that, in its 44th year and 45th show, the event’s popularity, both with exhibitors and visitors, shows no sign of waning. The International Autojumble has become the premier event of its kind and is to jumblers what Glastonbury is to Festival goers.”
Foreign ‘tongues’ were more in evidence than ever this year with many commenting that English voices seemed to be in the minority among the many languages being spoken. Large contingents came from Europe, particularly France, Germany and The Netherlands, as well as regulars from the US and Canada, Japan and South America.
Exhibitors reported very good trading with many declaring this year’s event ‘the best ever’, in terms of sales. It was especially noticeable on Saturday that trading continued long after the show’s official closing time and the excellent quality of overseas buyers was particularly commented upon. The free delivery service for bulky purchases was certainly much in demand with vehicles laden with goods being continuously driven to the collection point throughout both days.
The number of Trunk Traders stands was a little down this year, another victim of Sunday’s adverse weather forecast and the early morning rain. However, those amateur jumblers who did arrive to sell their surplus bits from the back of their cars had a queue of eager exhibitors and visitors waiting to rummage through their stands in the hope of unearthing a rare or unusual find that had perhaps been languishing in the back of someone’s garage.
The Automart had the usual range of vehicles for sale, from restoration projects such as a rare pre-war Series 2 Lancia Aprilia and a 1928 Sunbeam 20.9 pick-up with quite a high asking price of £50,000, to a restored 1929 American La Salle for £42,000 and a 1937 BMW 320 Cabriolet, not used since being restored in Prague 20 years ago, which had an asking price of £69,500.
A fully restored 1932 Morris Minor 2 seater Tourer, going for £7,500, had been a laid-up barn find on the Isle of Wight, while a 1966 Austin Mini Moke, completely restored by its present owner, had an asking price of £18,500.
Lord Montagu was on hand to congratulate the winners of this year’s Best Stand, Burlen Fuel Systems Ltd. This Salisbury based family business run by John Burnett and his sons, Mark, Jamie and Andy specialises in S.U & Amal carburettors, fuel pumps, service kits and spares. The stand was commended by the judges for its stylish and excellent display and sense of history as well as for its very knowledgeable staff. They were presented with a trophy donated by Lolly Starnes, in memory of her father, Terry Lee, a keen autojumbler who spent his life looking for rare items of interest. In addition, they will receive a free stand at next year’s International Autojumble.
Bonhams Business Administrator, Motor Cars UK, Tom Harrington, reported the largest audience ever for a Beaulieu sale and a record number of 138 vehicles for sale in this year’s auction, held on Saturday. With 98% of the vehicles selling and a hammer price of 2.4 million, Tom said: “Bonhams is delighted with the results at the 2011 Beaulieu International Autojumble auction. Another set of barn-storming results continues to illustrate the strength of this wonderful event.”
Highlights of the sale included a barn discovery 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Sports Saloon with an estimate of £40-£50,000 which fetched £166,500, a 1935 Bentley 4¼ Litre Competition Special which exceeded its guide of £55-£65,000 to reach £78,500 and a 1925 Bentley 3- Litre Shooting Brake which went under the hammer at £124,700.
The Meldonfoot collection of 13 classic cars from the Scottish Borders, some more than a century old, raised more than £250,000. The vehicles were part of a large collection built up over several years and had been shaped by an appreciation of the ‘mechanical genius of Henry Ford.’ Among the highlights were a 1904 Cadillac and a very early 1910 Ford Model T Tourer.
The huge variety and mix of vehicles and stands, plus enthusiastic purchasers, combined to make this year’s event both memorable and enjoyable, maintaining its position as the premier Autojumble in Europe and reinforcing the event’s claim that :”If you can’t find it at Beaulieu, it doesn’t exist!”
Gary Stretton, Editor of Classics Monthly, the event’s sponsor magazine said:”True to its heritage, this year's Beaulieu Autojumble once again easily lived up to expectations. On the Classics Monthly stand we were busy socialising with the Autojumble's diehard worldwide fans and Classics Monthly readers old and new. Sun, wind and the odd Saturday shower provided the backdrop whilst we discussed our Project MGB and dodged questions about the correct prize draw answer from its might-be winners.
“If you're going to stand in gorgeous countryside, talking old cars, then like us, Beaulieu's the place for you. See you next year.”
The next International Autojumble will take place on the 8th and 9th September 2012.