The Double Twelve festival at Brooklands is, in my opinion, one of the best car shows of the year.
Brooklands as a venue is a superb museum and a wonderful venue. There is always so much to see and do! The cars on display are always quality and you’ll always see something you weren’t expecting. The hill-climb and autocross competition are always fun to watch and it’s quite an accessible of getting your car on track. For the competition many of the cars are showroom original and haven’t needed to have been modified or adapted in anyway which makes it really accessible!
It’s quite a difficult show to write about as there is simply so much going on. I think the best place for us to start will be the static car show.
There were plenty of cars of note. I’m going to start with my top three favourites and then I’ll show you the other cars in the show.
3. Original pre-war MG.
By far one of the most original pre-war cars I’ve ever seen. This vehicle hasn’t been restored and, to the best of my knowledge is completely original apart from the tyres.
During the Second World War, due to the threat of bombers, Britain blacked it self out at night. Basically, all sources of light were covered so a German bomber couldn’t spot the lights on the ground. Cars were modified for the blackout and had to have headlight shades and reflective paint applied to the fenders. This MG still retains that paint. It was never returned to it’s pre-war state which is incredible to see!
I do hope the camera has picked up the effect that the 80 odd years has had on the paint and interior! It was a true survivor!
2. Mercedes Woody
This was a really unusual coach built Mercedes woody wagon as inspired by American vehicles and the mighty Morris Minor Traveller. It was beautifully finished and presented. An absolute work of art and a testament to the coach builder and owner.
I assumed this plaque was in reference to the coach builder but I can find no reference of him online.
1. ‘Nellie’ 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
This is ‘Nellie’ a 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost ordered by Rolls Royce Bombay as a trials car. The Taj Mahal nameplate it adorns was fitted by Claude Johnson who was the General Manager of Rolls Royce at the time.
It’s 106 years old but it’s only had two owners and has covered just over 75,000 miles.
Now to have a look at what the rest of the show had to offer.
One brand I always affiliate with Brooklands is Bentley. It was at the circuit that the brand had some of it’s greatest moments, including ‘Tim’ Birkin debuting the legendary 4.5 Blower.
There were plenty of Bentley’s on display from the pre-war era and later.
This convertible was absolutely beautiful! The colour was an absolutely sublime silvery blue, the effect of which you can sort of get from the pictures. Art-deco era car design is just amazing. The lines and shapes produced on these vehicles really make them unique and special.
There were a couple of replica Bentleys too!
MG were another brand who had a lot of success at the track in the pre-war days. As well as that lovely original example I mentioned earlier there were lots of other pre-war MGs on show too!
Along with some post-war cars too!
The blue on this MGC really suited it! I can’t recall seeing another MG painted a similar shade.
The car below is a really late MGB. I like the graphics on the side. Although not really rated by the MG community I actually quite like the rubber bumpered cars. I certainly wouldn’t say no to one if it came along.
Jaguar are another British brand that has been hugely successful in motorsport. Their cars from the early 1950s are exquisite.
There were a lot of British companies building sports and touring cars in the 1920s and 1930s. Many were represented.
I’ve never really given much thought to Frazer-Nash. This little unpainted car was really unusual and cool! I bet it’s great fun!
This apple green really suits the car!
Everyone loves an Austin 7. They are like Mk1 MX5s and Minis. When you see one you just have to smile!
Speaking of Minis, there was only one which surprised me! It was a great little hillclimb car though.
Here we have a very very rare machine from the same people who made the Mini. A 1969 Austin 1800 Utility truck. This particular one was sold to it’s current owner at Brooklands in 2016.
In the same area of garages as the Austin 1800 was a rather nice Alvis. Again, Alvis are another brand I haven’t really covered much on this blog, would you like me to?
I’m not 100% sure what this is but it looked lovely. The solid wheels always remind me of the aero wheels we used on RC touring cars when I was a kid.
Owning a Morgan three-wheeler is on my bucket list. They look so much fun!!
Vintage Alfa Romeos are cool. I won’t profess to know anything about them though haha!
The BMW it was sitting next to at the end of the day was rather lovely too! At the end of the day there was a little note on the windscreen asking the owner if he could take someone to prom. I’d have to say yes if that was me haha!
Finally we had a couple of American cars. A 1939 Ford coupe and a Packard.
There weren’t that many other American cars to be honest. There was a C3 Corvette.
Along with this pick up:
Of course there was plenty of action on the track itself.
The cars were split into 16 classes to complete a long and thorough course around what’s left of the Brooklands circuit.
The cars started by going up the 352 foot test hill before completing three timed autocross stages down the start/finish straight which would test acceleration, handling and braking performance.
There were plenty of cars that went around the course.
My personal favourite was this two stroke powered machine.
The rest of the cars were also pretty special!
I am definitely developing a soft spot for Morgan three wheelers.
This Simplex was an unusual looking machine.
I’ve covered the museum aspects of Brooklands before in other posts but I did get to see some new things which I will share with you now. I’ve been there three times now and still haven’t seen everything the site has to offer though.
You can find my main piece on the museum by following this link: Brooklands
And a little more museum coverage from last year’s Double Twelve festival here: Double Twelve
The first thing that I hadn’t had the opportunity to explore was the Vickers 1103 owned by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman.
The interior of this thing was amazing! 1980s luxury!
Just so you don’t forget who’s aircraft you are aboard.
The aircraft had two double bedrooms. Note the big seat belts that go over the top of the bed.
There were several bathrooms dotted about the place. The Sultan himself had a huge bathroom, of course, which had a padded toilet seat!
Oddly, there was a full length mirror just opposite the toilet. Not quite sure why you’d want to be able to see yourself there but to each his own.
The thing that really fascinated me though were these gold seat belt buckles with the Arabic text for ‘lift’ above the English.
The other new feature was the aircraft factory. This is built into one of the hangers and is a display of aircraft manufacturing from woodworking and doping of early aircraft to wind tunnel and pressure testing of more modern commercial and military aircraft. It’s really interesting!
The Bleriot XI, the first aircraft to cross the English channel. An aircraft we’ve seen a few times at numerous locations on this blog.
It’s interesting to see inside a cockpit when there isn’t anything there.
Jets, simple in theory, less simple in execution. That’s a lot of pipes!
Royal Aircraft Factory’s SE5. Another aircraft we know quite well haha! I have a big RC one I’m restoring.
It was the Wellington that lives at Brooklands that dominates the room though. It’s incredible how well that it’s been preserved after sitting at the bottom of Loch Ness.
That prop will straighten and go again for sure haha!
There was also a second new hanger to explore which was closed last year. This one housed a Hurricane amongst other aircraft.
Once again The Double Twelve festival proved to be an amazing day out. It’s certainly one of my favourite car shows of the year and the fact that it’s held at such a wonderful museum makes it even more special.
I highly recommend Brooklands as a day out. Even if there isn’t an event going on you will have a full day exploring the museums and site. It’s a fabulous place!
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By Richard Francis