Sad news this week of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, whose passing at 88 leaves a void in the motoring scene. A pioneer in the preservation of automotive history, he has left behind an amazing legacy as the creator of Britain’s first car museum, which grew from modest beginnings into the world-renowned National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire.
This coming weekend it hosts another landmark motoring event also created by Lord Montagu. The annual autumn Beaulieu Autojumble started small in 1967 as a one-day gathering with just 75 stands. Lord Montagu took his inspiration from the automobile swap meets he had seen on a visit to the United States, and decided to import the idea back home. He was very proud that the name he devised for the first one, Autojumble, was later given a place in the Oxford English Dictionary, and adopted for similar events across Europe and around the world.
Fast forward to this weekend (5-6 September), and the 49th annual Beaulieu International Autojumble is taking place. It is on a massive scale, the premier such event in Europe. It will have some 2,400 stands selling every imaginable motoring artefact, from vintage car parts, mascots and gadgets to entire historic cars worth up to £250,000 apiece.
If there is anything motoring-related that you want, the Beaulieu Autojumble is the place to find it. I spent the weekend there last September, and it was a revelation. You need an obscure item for a restoration project? This is the place to track it down. You’d like a handbook for an Austin Allegro, a wing mirror for an MGB, an exhaust system for a vintage Jaguar? It will be lurking somewhere on one of the Beaulieu stands. You don’t own a classic car, but you’ve always fancied one? There will be up to 100 for sale in the grounds of the National Motor Museum.
For the second year, I’m running a charity stand at Beaulieu this year. We’ll be selling a huge variety of items de-cluttered from their offices by members of the Guild of Motoring Writers, ranging from car branded notebooks pens, lanyards and memory sticks to new car press kits, motor show brochures, old motor race programmes and motoring books. If you’re there, come and find the GoMW stand and say hello.