Despite the usual mixed weather forecast for this year’s Spring Autojumble, held in the Beaulieu parkland on the 19th & 20th May, the weekend was mostly fine.  The only rain fell on Friday afternoon, prompting the exhibitors, who had just set up their stands, to cover them again with plastic sheets and tarpaulins. However Saturday dawned bright and clear and by the afternoon everyone was able to enjoy the rare experience of being warmed by the sun!  Sunday was a little cooler and although dark clouds threatened at times, the rain held off.

Spring Autojumble

Beaulieu’s Events Manager, Judith Maddox, said: “Given the uncertainty over the weather in recent weeks we were delighted at how well the grounds held up for the autojumble, although we had taken the precaution of doubling the amount of trackway we normally bring in for this event. We were also lucky that, despite weather forecasts of rain on Sunday, not a drop fell and both exhibitors and visitors enjoyed a dry weekend.”

Judith added: “There was a great atmosphere all weekend and considering the current global financial uncertainty, we were really pleased with the high number of exhibitors and visitors attending.  For a long time it has been predicted that eBay would see a decline in the popularity of this type of event, but that is not the trend we are seeing.  The event is as much about the overall experience as it is about buying.”

Total admissions of 14,130 were up 208 on last year, making 2012 the 3rd best admission figures since the show started in 1994. There were less vehicles for sale in the Mart this year, but autojumble stands were up, giving an overall total of 1039. The steady increase in stand bookings for the show, year on year, is encouraging although the decline in vehicles for sale is a little disappointing. The number of car clubs attending was 43, with a special display of 25 cars put on by the Wessex Car Club and, ahead of the Morris centenary celebration next year, a preview display of Morris cars in the Grand Marquee.

Trading over the weekend was good with exhibitors mostly happy with their sales and buyers finding the prices reasonable on the vast majority of stands. The ever popular free service offering delivery of large items to the exit collection point was also well used. Reassuringly, there were still quite a number of European voices to be heard, with most of those exhibitors coming from France, Germany and Holland as well as a small number from even further afield.

Despite the reduced numbers, there was an interesting mix of vehicles for sale in the MotorMart with several bargains to be had and by the end of the weekend many cars were displaying ‘sold’ signs.

Among the classics on sale was a fully restored 1938 Sunbeam Talbot, a 1979 Spitfire 1500 in Vermillion Red for £2,450, a 1996 Jaguar XK8 with 89,000 miles for £5,250 and a 2002 MG TF, at just £3,000, was attracting a lot of attention.  More quirky offerings included a 1964 Citroen HY for £9,995 and an ex-RAF 1970 Series 11A 2.3 litre Land Rover, which in its former life had been a Vulcan bomber crew bus.

Among the more expensive offerings was a 1960 Daimler SP250 Dart for £24,000 and a 1948 Chrysler Windsor in Blackberry, with an asking price of £22,000.  Bought by its current owner at Brooklands, it was one of 50 cars bought by Marvel Studios for ‘Captain America – the First Avenger’.

Sunday trading was given a boost with the addition of the Sodbury Land Rover Sortout.  Due to ill health, Sortout organiser, Jim Wilkie, was unable to co-ordinate this year’s event but the Beaulieu team were grateful to his daughter, Sue, for her assistance in pulling it together. The other popular Sunday feature, Trunk Traders, for amateur jumblers selling their surplus bits from the back of their vehicles, brought a welcome injection of new stock to the field, with both exhibitors and visitors happily rummaging for hidden gems.

A new feature for 2012 – the Walkabout Auction, was an ‘end of show’ chance to buy and sell, offering exhibitors an opportunity to sell off surplus items of stock they didn’t want to take home with them.  For just £1 they could buy a box to fill with bits (larger items were allowed to go alongside), to be auctioned at the end of Sunday afternoon by guest auctioneer, Richard Poole – with no commission to pay.  37 lots in all, were sold, the lowest price for a box being 50p and the highest, £50, for a selection of pedal bikes.  This new feature attracted a lot of attention from both potential buyers and slightly bemused spectators and although the execution requires a little ‘fine tuning’ everyone was in agreement that it is a great addition to the show and one very much to be repeated at future autojumbles.

The Best Stand trophy, donated by Lolly Starnes in memory of her father, Terry Lee, was awarded to Pooks Motor Bookshop. Chosen by show sponsors, Classics Monthly, it was commended for its fantastic and beautifully presented collection of automotive literature, dating back as far as 1896.  Father and son John and Barrie Pook who run the stand as well as their book shop in Leicester, have been exhibiting at Beaulieu since the second International Autojumble in 1968 and were also praised by Classics Monthly editor, Gary Stretton, for always going out of their way to source additional material for their clients. The choice of Best Stand winner was particularly appropriate this year as John Pook knew Terry Lee, another Leicester man, very well.  Terry was a frequent visitor to Pook’s shop and John had often visited Terry’s home.

The delighted Pook family received their award from Lord Montagu and in addition to the trophy, they will also receive a free stand at the next Spring event.

Visitors to show sponsor, Classics Monthly Magazine’s stand could take advantage of special show subscription offers.  The magazine was also promoting the imminent launch of its new website for buying and selling classic cars.

Classics Monthly editor, Gary Stretton, said: “There was a very positive attitude among the exhibitors that I spoke to and visitors, too, seemed very happy with the range and quality of goods for sale.  The Beaulieu Autojumble is a great way to spend a weekend and nothing else quite matches the touchy feely experience of rummaging through classic car parts.”

The date of the 2012 International Autojumble is the 8th & 9th September and Spring Autojumble 2013, the 18th & 19th May.