Brooklands New Year’s Day Gathering
Britain’s biggest New Year meet had just about everything – from Aston Martin DB5s to Eighties Protons!
’You never know what’s going to turn up on the day and how they’re going to mix together’
An emphasis on variety – and unusually mild weather – helped to make Brooklands’ seasonstarter the biggest New Year’s Day event in Britain.
More than 1500 cars took part in the museum’s first classic meet of 2019, and the number of visitors – 7919 in all – was up nearly 50 per cent on the previous attendance record, set at 2016’s event, making it Brooklands’ busiest ever single-day event. The informal approach meant that Sunbeam Tigers and MGCs rubbed shoulders with a Proton GLi on the former race circuit’s historic banking. The museum also waved in more modern classics than in previous years by allocating an area in The Heights for supercars and 1990-on classics. Elsewhere the event’s focus on pre-1989 classics was relaxed to allow MGFs, Fiat Coupés and other Nineties classics to into the museum’s grounds.
Most of the displays were focused on the banking and the Finishing Straight – where the MGF Register, Rover P5 Club and Mini Cooper Register took part in pre-allocated club displays – but with so many vehicles on show, virtually all of the site was used for classic parking, including a section in the paddock dedicated to pre-war cars.
Museum marketing manager, Paul Stewart, said: ‘There are some people who only come to Brooklands once a year, and it’s this event they come to, so you never know what’s going to turn up on the day and how all the cars and bikes are going to mix together.
‘It’s the only event we have where you’ll get multimillion-pound classics parking up next to Austin Metros – it really is the United Nations of classics. What’s more, everyone who comes always tells us how much they enjoy it, and how great it is to be out of the house and enjoying classic cars after spending so long at home over Christmas!’
Brooklands’ next classic gathering is its Winter Classic Meet on 17 February, but it’s well worth heading there on 27 January, too, for the Vintage Sports Car Club’s Driving Tests event.
One of the biggest displays in the pre-allocated clubs area was put on by the MGF register’s south east region branch.
Fred Parker’s looking forward to exploring the French countryside in the 1968 renault 10 that he’s owned since 1995.
Brothers David and Brian ranken’s 1951 Jaguar Xk120 raced at Goodwood in period. Brian bought it in 1966 for just £270!