Friday, 24 May 2013

Beaulieu’s Best Spring Autojumble Ever

Record numbers flocked to this year’s Spring Autojumble, held in the Beaulieu parkland on the 18th and 19th May, making 2013 the most successful year of this event so far. Against the odds and despite some appalling weather forecasts at the beginning of the week, it actually remained fine and dry for most of the weekend, with sunny spells throughout and just a few showers on Sunday.

Total admissions reached 16,507 – a record breaking number for this event, up 1,183 on the previous highest total of 15,324, recorded at the first ever Spring Autojumble in 1994. The number of vehicles in the Motormart has reduced in the last couple of years but there has been an increase in the number of autojumble stands, with 1,069 in total over the weekend. Whilst the Mart figures are slightly disappointing, the stand and admission figures are very encouraging, and reflect the increasing importance of Beaulieu’s Spring event in the autojumble calendar.

Beaulieu Events Manager, Judith Maddox, said: “It has been wonderful to see this event grow over the years and we were delighted to finally break the record attendance numbers set in 1994. This year’s show has been thoroughly enjoyable, with some great displays from the car clubs, particularly Morris, with one of the largest club displays we have ever had at the Spring Autojumble.

“We are very grateful that the weather has been kind to us, exhibitors have reported brisk trading with many visitors commenting on the high quality of the stock on offer.”

There were 37 car clubs in attendance over the weekend, but the largest presence by far was the Dorset Branch of the Morris Minor Owners’ Club, who put on a fantastic display of Morris vehicles, in celebration of the marque’s centenary anniversary. Over 200 Morris cars of all models were on display with examples from nearly every one of the seventy years Morris were in production, from the 1913 Bullnose Oxford to the 1983 Morris Ital. All participants received an engraved travel clock as a memento of the occasion, with the committee receiving theirs from Lord Montagu.

The Hillman Imp Car Club also put on an impressive display of Imps to celebrate their own 50th anniversary and each entrant was presented with a commemorative mug. The Wessex Car Club also brought along a small selection of their beautiful motors for visitors to admire. Another star of the show was a fully 1910 restored horse drawn fuel tanker, complete with Anglo American Oil Company stamped brass hub covers, original paintwork and sign writing, which has been lovingly restored by Petroliana standholder, Alan Chandler.

Despite the reduced numbers in the Motormart, there were, nevertheless, some incredible bargains to be snapped up by savvy spenders, and after the first day a number of cars were already displaying SOLD signs in their windscreens, including an eye-catching limited edition yellow and black Mitsubishi FTO Version R V6.

Prices ranged from as little as £1,750 for a black 1953 Wolseley Four Forty Four barn find to as much as £33,000 for a beautiful 1997 maroon Bentley 400RT LWB with just 29,000 on the clock. There were some sporty little numbers on sale; a very neat little silver 2004 MG TF 1.8 for £2,400, a stunning scarlet 1997 Alfa Romeo Spyder for £2,450, as well as a silver 1998 Porsche 911 (996) Carrera for £9,750.

Jaguars seemed to be taking over the Motormart and there were some bargains to be had, including a 1998 Jaguar Sovereign XJ8, which was a steal at an asking price of just £2,000 and a 1987 Jaguar XJS selling at a very reasonable £14,950.

Among the quirkier offerings was a 1987 Mini Moke imported from Spain selling at £7,500 and a bright yellow 1965 Morris Minor convertible at £2,450. A customised matt black 1955 Ford pick-up was also attracting a lot of attention from visitors, as was a stunning looking 1990 Bentley Eight with cream leather interior, 28,000 miles on the clock and an asking price of just £9,995.

In a chance coincidence, a 1951 Lagonda 2.6 DHC barn find stored since 1966 and open to offers was parked not far from a mint condition maroon 1950 Lagonda Drop Head Coupé, selling at £30,000. This was a great opportunity for visitors to see how barn finds compare to show room condition vehicles, and demonstrated what the barn find could look like following extensive restoration work.
New show sponsors, Practical Classics, had plenty to keep the crowds entertained on their stand. Many visitors congregated there each day to take part in a lively Pub Quiz, with a range of motoring related head-scratchers to get the brain cells working. Visitors were also invited to watch as the PC team set about the engine rebuild of their current project, a 1973 MGB.

Sunday features once again included Sodbury Sortout, with stands selling all things Land Rover related, which has always attracted a dedicated following of Land Rover enthusiasts. This year was no exception, with plenty of people making a beeline for the Sortout to rummage through the stacks of giant-sized tyres and piles of Land Rover parts. Nearby, Trunk Traders, with amateur jumblers selling their surplus bits from the back of their vehicles, brought a welcome injection of new stock to the field, with both exhibitors and visitors happily rooting around for bargain buys and hidden gems.

2013 saw the welcome return of the Walkabout Auction, which was trialled at last year’s show and proved to be a very popular new feature. The auction offers an ‘end of show’ chance to buy and sell, giving exhibitors an opportunity to sell off surplus items of stock on the Sunday afternoon for just a £1. This year Practical Classics Editor, Danny Hopkins, took to the microphone as guest auctioneer, providing a thoroughly entertaining commentary and selling 47 lots, the lowest for £1 and the highest for £90. Amused spectators looked on as eager buyers crowded around boxes to bid on all sorts of automobilia, from books and prints, to car parts and lights – there was even a complete vintage bicycle on offer which the purchaser could ride home!

Even Danny got carried away, making a bid on a box put in by nine year old TJ Lamb. TJ, is already a great car fan – his dream car being an AC Cobra.  In order to fund this dream he has started a little business, selling model-sized car magnets, with the goal of trying to raise enough money to buy a real-life AC Cobra. He was delighted to make around £200 towards his target on his stand over the weekend with his auction box selling for £5 – although Danny lost out to another bidder.

The Best Stand trophy, donated by Lolly Lee in memory of her father, Terry Lee, was awarded to Mike Rowell and his stand of Classic Cars Spares.  Mike ‘s stand is a mini autujumble all on its own, selling new and second hand car parts, automobilia, workshop manuals, engine gearboxes and axles. Mike has a vehicle recovery and scrap business, based in Southampton, and has been attending the Spring Autojumble for the past thirteen years. Chosen by show sponsors, Practical Classics, the stand was commended for embodying the spirit of the Beaulieu autojumbles with its wide variety of stock, in particular, the heavy, rusty and useful metal that is the life blood of vehicle restoration.  Recognition was also given for the physical effort required to lift the large number of heavy engines on the stand – not a job for the faint hearted!

The date of the 2013 International Autojumble is the 7th and 8th September, and Spring Autojumble 2014, the 17th and 18th May. Visit nearer the time for more information or join the conversation on Twitter with @Beaulieu_Hants using #autojumble.

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