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What a day!
The Shuttleworth Collection of vintage cars and aeroplanes is housed in the colossal grounds of The Shuttleworth Estate in Bedfordshire, standing in the shadows of the mighty Mansion House built for Joseph Shuttleworth and family.
Even on a day where there isn’t an event taking place the collection is well worth a visit. I didn’t really look up what was in the collection before going so was utterly amazed by some of the vehicles within it. Most of the aircraft are still airworthy and most of the cars run and are all regular used which I think is fantastic! The collection’s aircraft date right back to the early pioneering days, including the 1909 Bleriot XI which was the first aircraft to cross the English Channel and is the oldest air worthy air frame and engine on the planet.
The Blackburn Type D sat alongside it. The oldest airworthy British aircraft!
Moving forward into the First World War the collection houses some rather unusual machinery including the Sopwith tri-plane.
The mighty SE-5, one of my favourite British aircraft of the period.
The Bristol F.2b, as seen in Battlefield 1.
Along with a Sopwith Pup. This particular Pup was built in 1920 but many were used during the First World War from 1916 onwards.
This particular hanger was also adorned with many models. This balsa wood frame of a Sopwith Camel was beautifully done!
A model of the Lee-Richards Annular bi-plane. Circular wings are an interesting idea…
I’ll be covering land vehicles a little later on in the blog, this was parked up alongside the aircraft though; a car coverted to a quick starter for aircraft in the First World War The arm would attach to the centre of the propeller and turn the engine to start it, saving the ground crew to task which I would imagine would be a great way to lose your hands if you weren’t quick enough!
The interwar period is where the collection really shone. They had a number of civil and racing aircraft from the 1920s. The pinnacle of the collection in my eyes was the DH88 Comet ‘Grosvenor House’, I’m biased though because I made an Airfix kit of it a year or so ago!
In all honesty, there were too many to name. So I will have to do one of my famed photo dumps!
The Flying Flea was a personal highlight. These were fairly cheap kit built planes that people would buy and fly throughout the 1930s. Accidents unfortunately led to their ban.
There were plenty of early gliders from the 1900s to the 1930s. I didn’t take many pictures of them but this little one really caught my eye. Apparently it can do a loop in within the length of it’s own body!
They also had a fair few interwar military aeroplanes including this Russian bi-plane.
A Gloucester Gladiator is also part of the collection but that was doing demonstrations as part of the show so we will see that later!
The Hawker Hurricane was representing the Second World War in the collection. Several were on site and a Mk1 Sea Hurricane was flying alongside a Lysander in the actual show. More of those later!
They also had a Spitfire that was undergoing restoration in a separate workshop.
This brings us nicely round to the collection’s road vehicles. There were a lot of Edwardian era vehicles. This 1902 Peugeot was my personal favourite.
Along with this very early Benz! (obviously)
There was a plethora of cars arranged in a little garage diorama:
The one that really caught my eye was this Hillman Minx WW2 RAF/bomb disposal staff car.
The blackout headlight covers were an interesting feature.
The term car obviously derives from the term ‘horseless carriage’. The collection has a little room dedicated to Victorian era carriages.
The little one below would be used by an officer in the colonies. It would be pulled along by a human servant. Like, that’s when you know you’ve made it; being pulled around your territory by a slave in a little carriage with that dope carpet.
Just outside the doors to the collection was this fine beast. Yes they have vintage buses too!
This particular example was beautifully painted and prepared! Beats the First buses that are local to me which are made of grey plastic and have floors of chewing gum.
This shared it’s room with a lovely Leyland lorry.
They also had an Omnibus of a similar era on a similar chassis to the bus. Readers who have been following this blog for sometime will recognise it as I made a slot car of an Omnibus a couple of years ago!
They brought it out to do passenger rides to the mansion and back but we missed it! Gutted!
We did however get to go on a bus from 1921! A lot of fun and by far the oldest thing I’ve ever been for a ride in!
Now for the actual car show! We’ll start with the super old stuff and will work our way forward in time.
Believe it or not the red car below is a Vauxhall! Once upon a time they made cool stuff!
The Sunbeam above has been all over the world! The gold coloured car below is based off of a Ford! It does speed runs on Pendine Sands in Wales!
MG sports cars are always a favourite at this sort of event.
The Aston Martin Razor Blade made the trip up from Brooklands. It’s always a pleasure to see this car and it was an honour to see it running later in the day!
There were some cool post was cars too! Here we have a Jaguar D-Type.
DKW/Auto Union. Something you don’t see everyday!
I’m not 100% sure what this is but I liked it!
There was also a club stand for these early air cooled Porsches! I didn’t know this many still existed never mind were in the UK!
Car of the show for me had to be this Napier sports car. Very very rare! I love the art-deco styling too!
There were plenty of early motorbikes on show too! I can’t give you much of a commentary as I know nothing about bikes, but they looked and sounded amazing!
There was to be some speed runs on the grass way but the earlier rain made the ground very slippery and obviously in such valuable cars with such skinny tyres everyone was being very careful and it became more of a parade for the cars and bikes. It was lovely and a rare opportunity to see a lot of them running. The Bentleys are so quiet!
There was lots of flying throughout the afternoon as well from WW2 fights such as the Sea Hurricane.
A P51 Mustang also made a fleeting appearance!
The aircraft I had most fun watching from the Second World War was the Lysander. These were used as artillery spotters and recon photography aircraft. They were also used to fly spies in and out of occupied France and to bring supplies to the French resistance. Incredibly brave people who piloted these!
There were also various displays from racing and stunt aircraft.
Of curse my personal favourite was the DH88 Comet. Here we see it being towed out.
And here we see it in action! Such a majestic aircraft!
All in all I had a superb day and saw lots that I wasn’t expecting to see. I’m actually going to put it out there and say it was show of the season for me. So much cool stuff!
The Shuttleworth collection is most certainly worth the visit and I shall be returning to have another look around and hopefully a look around the house. Thakns to the staff of Shuttleworth for putting on an amazing event and for all the people who brought out their cars, bikes and planes to show!
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