Hot rods star at National Motor Museum’s latest exhibition

Beaulieu hosts record-breaking Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day – and kicks off The Art of Kustom exhibition starring automotive art of Andy Saunders

Custom car creator extraordinaire Andy Saunders stunned the crowds by unveiling his latest automotive artwork during the National Motor Museum’s recent Hot Rod & Custom Drive-in Day. The June 17 event also saw the opening of Beaulieu’s latest exhibition, The Art of Kustom, which stars the work of south coast-based Saunders.

The record-breaking crowds received the 1939 Peugeot 202 pick-up by making as much noise as the car’s thunderous V8 engine. Named Metropolis, the transformed classic was found ‘relaxing’ in a field in France prior to a radical transformation into its current art deco-inspired design.

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Now featuring windscreen trim that resembles a ray gun from a 1950s comic book, in addition to six 200-million-year-old ammonite fossils carefully countersunk into the front seats, the pick-up is rumoured to have been a requisition by invading forces during World War Two.

Cues are given via the exquisite mural painted on the load bay cover by Saunders’ fiancée, artist Maxime Xavier. The name given to the automotive masterpiece is inspired by the 1920s science fiction film Metropolis, and the mural features the robot from the motion picture.

Saunders said: ‘When I finished my previous project Tetanus, someone told me I was never going to beat it – which made me decide to do exactly that and make Metropolis even better. I just had to get it right, although it was like doing a jigsaw puzzle without the instructions. I think Metropolis is my best car yet.’

Saunders’ career has spanned a remarkable 40 years, and The Art of Kustom will showcase his finest projects until September 16, 2018. Models featured include a spaceship-esque Citroën, a road-going speedboat, the shortened Mini Ha Ha, a Reliant Rialto that saw fame during a speed run at Bonneville, and the much-hailed Tetanus, which took 14 years to complete.

So what happened at Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day ?

More than 5000 people basked in the electric atmosphere of this year’s Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day – a remarkable 24 percent increase over the previous year. There was also a 31 percent increase in the number of hot rods, custom cars and motorbikes on display, with 655 taking pride of place this time around.

Particularly notable displays during the event, held in association with classic American car club Solent Renegades, included the Mad Max-style Apocalypse Bug from Podpad Studios, replica Fast & Furious Dodge Charger from Hard Up Garage and a NASCAR-style racing car.

Simply VW

Even more records were broken on Saturday June 16 at the National Motor Museum’s latest Simply VW. The event, which was sponsored by Breeze Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, saw a 21 percent increase in visitors over the previous year, with 1367 visitors. In a 47-car increase over the previous year, 537 of the finest VWs from around the country were on display, too. The variety on display was exceptional, with an eclectic mix of rat-look and showroom-condition Beetles, Karmann Ghias, campers of every era, Golfs, Polos and even a collection of beach buggies.

What else was on offer?

In addition to the hundreds of cars on display across all areas of the collector fraternity, both events offered live music, Bournemouth Lindy Hop Club dance demonstrations and a Vintage Tea Tent sponsored by Brew Tea Co. A Vintage Village presented by Bows & Braces allowed visitors to be presented with awards for the best attire.

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Future events at Beaulieu

Simply Land Rover takes place on June 24, 2018, with Simply Jaguar following on July 8, Simply Japanese on July 29 and the Beaulieu Supercar Weekend on August 4-5. Click here for more details, or follow Beaulieu National Motor Museum on social media via /nationalmotormuseum on Facebook, @national_motor_museum on Instagram or @Beaulieu_Hants on Twitter.

Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In Day prize winners

  • Best Custom:
    1941 Ford, Richard James, Stroud
  • Best Hot Rod:
    1955 Ford Popular, Dave Owen, Bournemouth
  • Best Bike:
    Custom Harley-Davidson 883-engined bike with 24ct gold wheel components, Dave Rogers, London
  • Best American:
    1960 Edsel Ranger, Dennis Saunders, Portsmouth
  • People’s Choice:
    1949 Mercury, Trevor Cowell, East Grinstead
  • Best in Show:
    1952 Chevrolet 3100 truck, Clive Hardy, Derby

Simply VW prize winners

  • People’s Choice:
    1983 Golf Mk1, Patrick Zagrodnik, Southampton
  • Runner-up:
    1989 Caddy, Philip King, Guildford
  • Runner-up:
    1971 Karmann Ghia convertible, Clive Berry, Southampton

Dress prizes across the weekend

  • Best Dressed Campervan:
    1966 Volkswagen Type 2, David Drewell, Isle of Wight
  • Best Dressed Caravan:
    1976 Eriba Puck, Ally O’Connor, Portsmouth
  • Best Dressed Saturday:
    Sisters Florenza and Valentina Spratt, Bishops Waltham
  • Best Dressed Sunday:
    Belle Joyce, Royal Wotton Bassett
  • Best Dressed Family Award:
    Sean, Bianca and Lily Pybus, Southampton

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