Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Best Beaulieu!

Glorious sunshine, soaring temperatures and packed event fields combined to make this year’s autojumble, held on the 8th and 9th September, one of the most memorable and enjoyable to date. Motoring enthusiasts from all over Europe and beyond flocked into the picturesque grounds of the National Motor Museum, for the 46th International Autojumble, which this year had a real festival atmosphere.

Total visitor numbers over the weekend were 38,352, matching the best numbers in recent years. Although at capacity for stands in the past few years, the Events team managed to find a few extra spaces to accommodate late entries, with a final number of 2,419 stands. This included 217 cars for sale on the Beaulieu Arena and a record number of classic cars for sale in the Dealermart.

Beaulieu’s Events Manager, Judith Maddox said: “Following on from the London Olympics, which have been declared the best ever held, many visitors to the show were heard to say that this was the best Beaulieu Autojumble to date.”

Despite economic uncertainty in Europe, overseas exhibitors were again well represented with a larger than usual contingent coming from Northern and Southern Ireland.  As usual, many different languages were to be heard on the event fields during the weekend with English by no means in the majority.

The warm summer Saturday evening encouraged visitors to stay late and exhibitors to stay open beyond the show closing time. Sunday was another brisk trading day, particularly for larger motoring items, and the free delivery service to the car parks for bulky items was again much in demand as was the onward dispatch service provided by Easy Logistics.

The fine weather brought an increase in Sunday’s Trunk Trader numbers (always weather dependent!), with exhibitors and visitors alike rummaging through the booty for hidden gems.

The Automart had an eclectic range of vehicles for sale, from restoration projects such as a 1960s cream E-Type Jaguar to a mint condition 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud lll with an asking price of £34,950 and a Mercedes Benz 600 SEL at £13,950 with just 14,000 on the clock and one careful owner – the Prime Minister of Dubai.

Other highlights included a 1937 Peugeot 402 for £14,850, a stunning 1995 Morgan Plus 8 in cream with just 17,400 miles on the clock on sale for £33,500 and a 1997 Lotus 7, being sold by long-time autojumbler, Norman Brown, for £17,000.

A clutch of BMW Isetta bubble cars also drew a lot of attention, one in particular, a 1961 model,  had been lovingly restored by its owner over a period of 22 years and was on sale for offers over £12,500.  By the end of the show a good proportion of cars were displaying ‘SOLD’ signs.

One of the highlights of the Bonhams Auction, held on Saturday, was the sale of the entire contents of the Exmoor Classic Car Museum, a specialist museum located in Porlock, Somerset, which sold for a total of £667,128. Every lot in the collection of 10 cars, 13 motorcycles and assorted automobilia sold, with the top lots a 1927 Bugatti Type 40 Roadster (£149,340), a 1972 Ferrari ‘Dino’ 246GTS Spider (£144,860), and a 1923 Rolls Royce 20hp Doctor’s Coupe (£57,500). 

Outside the collection a striking red-and-black 1938 Delage D6-70 Tourer first owned by 1940s screen icon Margaret Lockwood (1916 – 1990) realised £51,750. The top-selling lot was a 1925 Bentley 3/4½-litre Speed Model Red Label Tourer, which achieved £140,000 on the hammer.

Another highlight was the sale of a 1962 Ferrari 250GTE 2+2 Series 2 Coupe project, coachwork by Pininfarina. Offered in ‘barn find’ condition for restoration, the car sold for £82,140 – more than four times its highest pre-sale estimate – to a UK telephone bidder.

Tim Schofield, Director of the Bonhams Motor Car Department, said: “We were privileged to offer Stephen Johns’ collection for sale at Beaulieu and we were delighted to see it achieve the prices it did. The Beaulieu auction was another huge success, with over 93% of lots sold and a record hammer price just short of £2.6 million.”

The winners of this year’s Best Stand were SU Carburetters – the name may sound familiar, as this is the second year running that they have won the award. The 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 imaginatively designed to look like a bombed 1940s pub, ‘The Skinners Arms’, which even included an ambulance –complete with casualty -  and original photographs of the Skinner family, who founded SU Carburetters. They were also commended by the judges for their professionalism and outstanding customer service.

Lord Montagu presented the Burnetts 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 to the trophy, they once again receive a free stand at next year’s International Autojumble.

It was particularly noticeable this year that a number of stand-holders had put a lot of thought into the theming and decoration of their stalls, which greatly added to the fun and enjoyment of the event. Perhaps this is something to build on for future years...

Gary Stretton, editor of show sponsor, Classics Monthly said:”It is indicative of the international Autojumble’s reputation that it can always deliver with a strong attendance and it was a welcome end of season boost for exhibitors who have had a difficult year of poor weather and cancelled events.”

The International Autojumble 2013 has been provisionally scheduled for the 7th & 8th September. These dates will be confirmed as soon as possible, please check the Beaulieu website nearer the time.

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