RogerBW's Blog

Brooklands 13 January 2020

I went to what's left of Brooklands, near Weybridge.

Since racing stopped there at the outbreak of the Second World War, most of the cars there are of the sort I find more interesting than the modern stuff – from the days when you could still start with something like a production car, soup it up, and have a credible racer; sure, you still needed money, but it was something a reasonably wealthy individual could have a go at for fun, rather than needing dedicated teams and sponsorship.

Sunbeam "Light Tourer" from 1927.

Austin Seven "Ulster" from 1930.

Sunbeam Silver, I think.

Peugeot Type 172, Wolseley "Moth", Morgan Model F.

Singer Works Team car, Peugeot Type 172, Wolseley "Moth".

Wolseley "Moth".

MG M Type Midget, Singer Works Team car.

The MG's dashboard. (One can't get in, but one can hold a camera over the vehicles, and the phone is light enough to do this effectively.)

Cuthbert Riley 9hp Special, Railton Terraplane.

Hillman Aero-Minx Streamliner. (Love that badge.)

MG K3.

Salmson Gran Sport and Morris Eight Saloon.

Salmson Gran Sport.

Another Morris Eight Saloon.

Recreated workshop of the 1930s.

Alvis FWD Tourist Trophy, Marendaz Special.

Marendaz Special.

A penny-farthing (alas, nothing for scale, but the handlebars were about chest-high on me).

Peugeot Voiture.

Humber motorcycle.

AC Sociable three-wheeler. Love that lamp!

"Daisy", a Siddeley 2-seater tourer; Austin Seven Speedy "Le Mans".

Napier-Railton. Need an unreasonably complicated engine to develop vastly more power than anyone thought was sensible? Go to Napier's, they'll see you right. I love that heavy-duty suspension and bare cockpit.

Ridley Special.

Harper Runabout. (We reckoned that with only slight modification to the rear it would have a convenient vertical parking mode.)

Rytecraft Scootacar. Said to be able to reach 15mph.

⅓ scale model of the 1933 Bluebird.

"Nanette", Brooklands Special.

Unknown card game. Probably terrible, but it would be nice to know.

Various arrangements of the track. (No curve radii; I'll have to measure those on the map if I'm going to turn this into gameable track.)

Into the motorcycle separtment. I didn't try to keep track of these, just took a look at the features I found interesting.

The Old Bicycles room, various things that happened just before the Safety took over.

And some newer bicycles. This BSA's from 1901 but all the key features of a modern fixie, at least, are there.

More bicycles, ancient and modern.

Probably a carbide lamp…

Doesn't seem quite right to put a C5 among the bicycles, but then, where else would it go?

What "bicycle" tended to mean when I were a lad. No wonder I didn't get into them.

Yes, the 1980s really were like that. This seems to have a speedo/time/distance counter, an AM radio, and a sound generator.

Even the gents' is a bit vintage.

Outside, and over to the aircraft. Well, this was the site of Hawker and Vickers works. Some of a VC10…

Still IMO the most beautiful civil aircraft ever built.

The VC10 bought by the Sultan of Oman.

Vickers Viscount.

What's left of the track, the Members' Banking with the railway line on the far side.

Vickers Viking.

Vickers Vanguard.

Inside to the aircraft factory, including the reconstructed Wellington.

And the annexe to that.

Including a Wellington fuselage.

On the way out, some of the businesses that used to have a presence here.

While there was some attempt to push extras on me when I bought my ticket, the place mostly runs on the usual system of volunteers who are enthusiastic, and well-informed enough for the amateur. This would definitely repay another visit.


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:09pm on 13 January 2020

    Talking of Napier, I recently discovered that the original Paxman Valenta engines for the HST have a Napier turbocharger. That would explain the famous screaming noise they make. Everything else ignored in the quest for more power, that's Napier.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:21pm on 13 January 2020

    Or sometimes the quest for more fuel efficiency.

  3. Posted by Chris Suslowicz at 07:41pm on 13 January 2020

    I remember coming back from Bristol, long ago, (I can't remember why I was down there), and the train was extremely full - so full that I was right at the back in the corridor section. I remember thinking "is this a train or an aircraft" as the turbocharger spun up on leaving Temple Meads.

    That was my first encounter with the HST, and never forgotten.

  4. Posted by Owen Smith at 11:52pm on 15 January 2020

    Sadly the HSTs were nearly all re-engined over their lives and neither of the two replacement engine types have that scream. Luckily the 125 Group have bought some refurbished Paxman Valentas and are planning to put them into at least one of the HSTs they have acquired now many of them are being retired or scrapped (those not being refurbished for Scotland anyway). The Valenta scream will live again.

    I expect the HST to be very popular in preservation, there is a lot of love for it. Arguably it is the last great fully British train. OK the Intercity 225 for the East Coast Main Line is also a fully British train (cut down APT basically without the tilt) but there isn't the love for it.

  5. Posted by RogerBW at 12:14am on 16 January 2020

    I love the HST from an engineering point of view (and because it was the cool new thing when I was a kid). The Mk III coaches as a passenger, not so much. If only they'd allowed people to open the windows… or had a ventilation system that worked.

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