Post-Christmas sales, gloomy weather and gloomier general mood, impending VAT increase and end of festivities were all banned at Brooklands, which hosted the biggest New Year’s Day vintage and classic car gathering - as it has become customary in the last few years. More than 700 cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles gathered on the first day of 2011 at the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit.
Parked and displayed side by side, under the scrutinising eyes of enthusiasts and families alike, pre-1973 Corvette Stingrays, Jaguar SS100s, American muscle cars such as Mustangs, Pontiacs and Plymouth Roadrunners, Morgans and Morris Minors were interspersed with Bentleys and Rolls-Royces from the Thirties.
Reverberating the aviation theme present at Brooklands, cars such as an Armstrong Siddeley Special Six showcased some makes’ strong links with the aero-industry in terms of engine design, engineering and material in the early Thirties. The one participating in the event belonged to an Italian count, adding charm and mystique to a model manufactured in small numbers and made even rarer by the need, during WWII, to recycle its engine for metal.
Brooklands’ New Year’s Day event celebrated the place where the British love for speed and racing started over 100 years ago, but also heralded the venue’s intention, in 2011, to promote further its celebration of engineering and technology advance achievements.
Being home to newly-formed auction house Historics, the Brooklands Museum and the nearby Mercedes World Centre, a range of shows, tours and club days, such as monthly Classic Breakfasts and auctions has been added to the year’s schedule. The aim is to create an environment where vintage and classic cars are displayed and admired as works of art as much as automotive prowess, thus attracting both car enthusiasts and lovers of beauty to those polished carburettor trumpets and shiny bonnets.
If only they had not been glistening with rain on New Year’s Day…