Beaulieu National Motor Museum
Last Updated 8 July 2022 | Published 10 March 2017
Beaulieu is an award winning family visitor attraction at the heart of the New Forest National Park operated by Beaulieu Enterprises Ltd.
There are over 800 years of heritage to be seen on the Beaulieu Estate, which has been in the ownership of the Montagu family for over four centuries.
A History of Beaulieu National Motor Museum
In 1952, Edward, Lord Montagu opened Palace House and Gardens to the public for the first time – making Beaulieu among the first ‘stately homes’ to admit visitors. For the grand opening, he displayed five Veteran cars in the entrance hall of the house as a tribute to his late father, John Douglas-Scott-Montagu, who was a motoring advocate and pioneer at the turn of the last century.
From these humble beginnings, encouraged by a new public interest in motoring heritage, the Montagu Motor Museum would develop. Supported by the British motor industry and enthusiasts, the museum continued its expansion, becoming the National Motor Museum in 1972.
Since 1972, the National Motor Museum has been governed by The National Motor Museum Trust, an independent charity. It boasts a world famous collection of vehicles and associated motoring archives.
Beaulieu National Motor Museum Vehicles
With the oldest dating from 1875, the National Motor Museum Trust possesses a collection of 285 vehicles, spanning 1875 to 2016. You can browse the entire vehicle collection on the National Motor Museum Trust website here.
Below are a selection of the vehicles in the National Motor Museum collection.
Veteran Vehicles – Before 1905
The collection includes 17 vehicles from before 1905 and include:
1898 Benz Velo
A lightweight 2 seat machine, the Benz Velo (Velocipede) was the second of Karl Benz’s four-wheeled production models and was produced from 1894 to 1900.
1901 Columbia Electric
The first practical electric road carriage was built by Magnus Volk of Brighton in 1887.
By the beginning of the 20th century, several manufacturers were marketing electric vehicles. They were clean and silent but the batteries were heavy and the distance between charges was limited. One charge of the battery gave the Columbia a range of forty miles.
1903 Daimler 22hp
By 1902 Daimler was well established as a manufacturer of quality motor cars but the company was struggling. The 22hp model was a new design for that year, developed by new works manager and engineer Percy Martin. Martin would remain with the company for over thirty years and establish Daimler as a market leader.
Edwardian 1905 – 1918
The collection includes 19 vehicles from the Edwardian period and include:
1906 Renault 14/20hp
The chassis was developed from Renault’s early racing cars. This Renault 14/20hp was built for King Edward VII. It has a landaulet style body supplied by Hoopers of London.
1910 Bugatti Type 15
The Bugatti Type 15 was a longer wheel base version of the Type 13 and is one of the cars that helped to establish the Bugatti reputation. It is believed that this car was owned by the Bugatti family and was originally fitted with a saloon car body by coachbuilders Wiederkehr of Colmar. It is reputed to have been used on the Western Front during World War One. The two-seat sports body was fitted after it was imported to Britain around 1920. This is the second oldest surviving Bugatti and the oldest in Britain.
1913 Fiat Tipo Zero
Also called the 12/15, the Fiat Tipo Zero was the first Fiat to be produced in large numbers and was specifically aimed at middle-class owner/drivers. Over 2,000 were built between 1912 and 1915. Fiat offered only one body style – a four-seat open tourer.
Vintage 1919 – 1930
The collection includes 22 vehicles from the Vintage period and include:
1923 Austin Seven Tourer
In 1919 Austin began a one-model policy based around the large 3,610cc Twenty. This quickly brought the company to the edge of ruin. The launch of the Seven and the mid-size Twelve began a turn around in the company’s fortunes. The Seven revolutionised family motoring in Britain, providing a four-wheeled alternative to modestly priced motorcycle and side-car combinations.
1927 1,000hp Sunbeam
The 1,000hp Sunbeam was one of the first purpose-built Land Speed Record cars and the first to reach 200mph. The concept for the car came from Sunbeam’s Chief Engineer Louis Coatalen with detailed design work by Captain J S Irving. Power was from two 22.5 litre V12 Matabele aero engines, each delivering 435bhp.
1928 Mercedes-Benz Model S 36/220
The Mercedes-Benz 36/220 is one of the most desirable vintage sports cars. The supercharged Model S was the first all new design to appear following the amalgamation of Daimler and Benz in 1926. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche, only 146 of the cars were built. This car was once owned by actor and writer Sir Peter Ustinov.
The collection includes 20 vehicles from the 1930s and include:
1934 Crossley Burney Streamline
Few British cars of the 1930s were as futuristic as the Crossley Streamline. Advanced features included the aerodynamic bodywork, rear engine and independent front and rear suspension. Unfortunately the Crossley version of the Streamline was short-lived, being expensive to build and needing further development work. Just twenty-five were built, the car on display being one of only three known survivors.
1935 Auburn 851 Speedster
The 851 Speedster, powered by a supercharged Lycoming engine, was introduced for 1935. The boat-tailed body was the work of Duesenberg designer Gordon Buerhig. Auburn built some of America’s best known and most stylish cars in the late 1920s and 1930s.
1935 Datsun Type 14 Saloon
Bearing more than a passing resemblance to an Austin Seven, the Datsun Type 14 was the first car to be mass-produced in Japan. This particular car was imported by Sir Herbert Austin in 1935 purely out of curiosity.
The collection includes 10 vehicles from the 1940s and include:
1943 Willys MB Jeep
Perhaps the most famous military vehicle to emerge from the Second World War, the four-wheel-drive Jeep served with Allied forces in virtually every theatre of the conflict. Bantam did not have the capacity to build the quantities required by the military and assembly was split between Willys-Overland and Ford. Both the Willys MB and the identical Ford GPW used the Willys Go-Devil engine.
1947 Healey Elliot 2.4 litre
The Healey 2.4 litre was the first car to bear the name of the former rally driver. It created a sensation in the austerity of post-war Britain. With saloon bodies by Elliot and roadsters by Westland, their streamlined panels are of magnesium/aluminium alloy on ash frames.
1949 Morris Minor MM
The Series MM Minor was part of a range of new cars from the Morris Motor Company that stole the show at the first post-war Earls Court Motor Show in 1948. Designed by Alec Issigonis, the Minor was developed from a prototype, code-named the Mosquito, built in 1943.
The collection includes 19 vehicles from the 1950s and include:
1950 Allard J2
London garage owner Sydney Allard had been a successful trials competitor in the 1930s. In the late 1940s he began manufacturing a range of specialist touring and sporting cars. The Allard J2, and the later J2X, was a road-legal racing car introduced in 1950, most of which were exported to the USA for track use.
1952 Austin-Healey 100M
The Austin-Healey 100 was Austin’s answer to Triumph’s TR2 and became a big success on the American market. Launched in 1955, the 100M was a higher performance version of the standard model, incorporating features from cars that had raced at Le Mans in 1953.
1954 Triumph TR2
The first of the famous TR series of Triumph sports cars. The TR2 was developed to compete with successful sports car designs from rival manufacturers such as MG and Jaguar. The TR series became a marketing success throughout in the 1950s and 60s, selling particularly well in North America.
The collection includes 26 vehicles from the 1960s and include:
1962 Jaguar E-Type
The Jaguar E Type was one of the most famous and desirable cars of the 1960s. Available as either a two-seat roadster or a coupe, it offered racing-car performance and stunning looks at a relatively modest price.
1965 AC Shelby Cobra 427
American racing driver Carroll Shelby developed the Cobra from the AC Ace in 1962. They were built by AC in Thames Ditton and shipped to Shelby’s works in California for the installation of the Ford V8 engine.
1968 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow MkI
It had taken nearly ten years to develop but the Silver Shadow would prove to be a winner for Rolls-Royce. Over 40,000 examples of the car and its derivatives were built up to 1995.
The collection includes 7 vehicles from the 1970s and include:
1970 Morris Minor Traveller
A total of 1,619,815 of all types were produced between 1948 and 1971. The Traveller remained popular until the end of Minor production, the last one being built in April 1971.
1971 Ford Capri 1600L
Launched in early 1969, the Ford Capri was based on the best-selling MkII Cortina with which it shared many components. The Capri was available with four engines sizes and numerous trim options.
1972 Mini Outspan Orange
Six of these distinctive vehicles were built between 1972 and 1974 to promote Outspan Oranges. They were constructed by Brian Waite Enterprises Ltd and incorporated many components from the popular Mini.
The collection includes 8 vehicles from the 1980s and include:
1985 Sinclair C5
The electrically assisted tricycle, the Sinclair C5 went on sale in Britain in January 1985. The brainchild of Sir Clive Sinclair, and developed in association with Lotus Engineering, the C5 could be pedalled or powered by an electric motor that gave a range of 24 miles on one battery charge (40 miles with two batteries).
1986 Citroën 2CV6 Special
The international motoring press ridiculed the Citroën 2CV when it first appeared at the 1948 Paris Salon. The French public disagreed and orders for the ingenious, mechanically simple and, above all, cheap utility car flooded in. The 2CV remained fundamentally unchanged for four decades.
1989 Lotus Esprit
The original Lotus Esprit, with angular styling by Giugiaro, was something of a sensation when launched in 1976. A decade later it looked dated and a re-design was masterminded by Peter Stevens, who later designed the McLaren F1, MG TF and Subaru Imprezza.
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