South East England Motoring Heritage Tour - September 2002

A gentle rumble across seven counties to see several ancient sites & some of the best of Britain's heritage motoring museums.

The tour ran across seven counties - Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Kent on some of the prettiest and most interesting routes that can be navigated. A great way to visit some fascinating motoring heritage sites and a few ancient and not so ancient English marvels Evenings were spent relaxing at very pleasant hotel restaurants when everyone swapped tall stories about their Sunbeam Tiger experiences over a few pints of excellent real ale. Some of STOC's far flung membership joined the tour, including Peter and Deborah Phelps (MKII Tiger cop) from California, Dave & Judy McDermott (Targa
Florio Tiger and Chairman of the Colorado Tiger Club), Bill and Barbara Miller (founding member of STOA and keeper of ‘55B’ the 'Hollywood Sports Cars' Tiger) from Pennsylvania & Steve Alcala restorer extraordinaire of Le Mans ‘Coupes’ from Southern California. In a break from bench racing these and Aussie Tiger nuts Warren and Judy Lewis with several UK members joined a variously sized cavalcade of Tigers on a four day tour around England’s green and pleasant land. I would like to thank Keith & Margaret Munday, Tony & Heather Wells and Dave & Alison Walters for their tour guide help getting the lot of us get around a bunch of motor museums and ancient inns – many Tiger yarns exchanged and not a single breakdown!
After the dash back from Le Mans and an overnight stop at The Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst (it is said the "orders for the day" for the Normandy Invasion were issued by General Ike Eisenhower from this Hotel in June 1944) the initial group collected at the Fleur du Lys in Boldre village for a traditional breakfast - a pub that dates back to that other Norman invaision of 1066. The start out group of Tigers of HRS 121E, FNN 555C, DKK 970C, CNN 547C, MVG 63C motored to Beulieu for a day at the National Motor Museum with a bunch of escorting moderns.
Peter Phelps, Barbara, Ian Voller, Keith & Margaret Munday, Bill & Barbara Miller, Dave & Judy Mc Dermott
A couple of rather important Sunbeams were seen at this Museum - The 1920 Sunbeam 350 h.p. This car was powered by an 18 litre V-12 engine based on Sunbeam's wartime aero-motor.In 1922 it achieved a World Land Speed record of 133.75 Alongside was the 1927 Sunbeam 1000 h.p, the first car officially to exceed 200 m.p.h. This was a cut-price record machine with a simple chain-driven layout with two Sunbeam aero engines salvaged from a wrecked racing motor boat, one in front and one behind the driver! It raised the World Land Speed Record to 203.70 m.p.h at Daytona Beach, Florida, USA on 29th March 1927. Also among the exhibits was an early Sunbeam Alpine and a Hillman Imp; all the place needs now to complete the collection is the loan of a Sunbeam Tiger!

The 'touring party' then drove the 50 odd miles across the New Forest into Dorset and onto to Sherborne for a an overnight stay at the small yet magnificent "Grange" hotel and resturant. Some of us had to spill over into the "The Old Vicarage" Country House Hotel a remarkable home/hotel that surprisingly once sported a red light during a more colourful past century! The catering was fantastic - both hotels are highly recommended.

The next morning the 'tourists' set off to meet a joining group at The Haynes Motor Museum. Here we were joined by Rae Balchin, Steve Alcala, Mr & Mrs Peter Pescud, Mr and Mrs Pat Crowther and Mr and Mrs John Collins in respectively NAN340D, LEL 495F, KUR 443C and MPJ 188D so swelling the numbers of Tigers to nine.

The Haynes Motor Museum collections may be housed in 'unit' buildings but the range of exhibits must be second to none in Europe. Not least the the sight of several hundred RED sports car in one gallery, including B9473410 HROFE (GWE 354C) which stands on Cosmics beside a nice MKII AC Cobra. It is in 'as driven in' condition and should have some attention to make it into a good standard example.

Not all Tigers are RED!

After a photo call outside the museum the calvalcade set off to tour the countryside of Dorset and Wiltshire before arriving at Stone Henge. Later on the party pushed on to Shaftesbury and the 'Royal Chase' Hotel