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Beaulieu Motor Museum and Me
Is this the epitome of car collecting in the UK?
Back in the 1990s, I was quite small and absolutely, totally obsessed with cars.
My family and I went away on a summer holiday one year to the New Forest, a beautiful part of the UK, and we set up camp in a town called Lyndhurst. As well as being a beautiful town in itself, Lyndhurst excited me hugely because it had a Ferrari and Maserati dealership – my first time seeing such a thing – and it wasn’t far from a little place called Beaulieu.
Of course, it’s taken me until 30 years of age to be able to spell the name of that little place, but it only took me five minutes to fall in love with one of the UK’s most significant car collections – the Beaulieu Motor Museum. It’s almost hidden away out there in the New Forest. Beaulieu itself being very small but picturesque village that really doesn’t hold any clues to the prestige of the collection held on the Montagu family estate – an estate with 800 years of its own history.
Growing public interest in the motoring world from the 1950s onwards allowed what was once a relatively casual collection of the then ‘Montagu Motor Museum’ to grow and expand into what is now our National Motor Museum. The public, manufacturers, and elements across the motoring industry saw what was happening, and the time and effort put into growing the collection and curating it is something all motoring fans will surely appreciate.
To anybody with even a hint of petrol in their veins, the collection held at Beaulieu is something to behold. Cars from the origins of our passion late into the 19th century share spaces with F1 cars raced by both Graeme and Damon Hill, our father and son World Champions. there’s Bugatti’s, a DeLorean and two-wheeled icons from Triumph and Ducati represented, as well as treasures and trinkets from the motoring trade. It is a real gold mine and whether you’re 5 or 85, if the bug’s there, you’ll absolutely love it.
Clearly, witnessing such treasures at an early age leaves a lasting impression on a you, so my personal experience with the museum came during the formative years where passions can either grow up into something huge and meaningful, a force in your life, or fade away. My parents’ decision to bring me to the museum at a young age helped push me to this keyboard on this laptop where I now type and share stories from the automotive world.
The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu shares its own story, the story of our history with the motor. From the 19th century pioneers to the land-speed record holders, the story traces our relationship with the motor and even now incorporates the cars of James Bond and the wacky cult successes produced by the, well, wacky cult heroes at Top Gear.
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